Police will summon about 9,000 suspects accused of colluding to defraud the Rao Tiew Duay Kan tourism stimulus package this week.
According to a source at the Crime Suppression Division (CSD), the suspects are from all 77 provinces across the country, and the CSD will send guidelines for its probe to police in each province to summon the suspects for questioning. According to the CSD, hotel operators and individuals have colluded to swindle 1.7 billion baht from the Rao Tiew Duay Kan tourism stimulus package by using social media to make fraudulent claims.
The CSD's probe showed that hotels, especially those operating in Chaiyaphum and Phuket, exploited the Rao Tiew Duay Kan, or We Travel Together, scheme. Some reports said some hotels made false financial claims. The CSD is investigating cases of fraud at 55 hotels in Chaiyaphum and Phuket, according to a source. Fifty suspects working at hotels were arrested and the CSD is preparing charges against individuals who worked together to make false claims. One case in Chaiyaphum province involved about 9,000 accomplices who used social media. CSD deputy commander Anek Taosuparp said yesterday that deputy national police chief Damrongsak Kittiprapas will call a meeting of deputy commanders in Bangkok to discuss guidelines for investigation by local police so they can expand their probe further.
Pol Col Anek also said the Tourism and Sports Ministry will file a complaint with the CSD, asking it to prosecute another 400 hotels and 400 eateries and shops involved in the fraud across the country. Those interested in joining the scheme to defraud the system were invited to secret online groups where they could sell their rights to state help under the scheme. Online agents bought stimulus rights for 500 baht each before selling them to hotel operators for up to 1,000 baht so the outlets could be granted a government subsidy.