A total of 697 people in Nong Rua district, most of them elderly and non-users of smartphones, are believed the victims of a fraud perpetrated by three teachers to steal government handouts to people affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
There are 500 from Ban Yang Kham in tambon Yang Kham and 197 from Ban Nong Phue in tambon Nong Phue, both of Nong Rua district.
They gathered at the community hall of Ban Yang Kham on Tuesday morning to all sign a petition to the Damrongtham Centre of Nong Rua district.
They said they had been offered 200 baht each by three teachers, identified only as Khru Or, Khru Dieo and Khru Phi, who in return took copies of their national identity cards. They took the money without knowing what it was actually for.
They learned only later that their ID cards might have been used to register for the government’s Kon La Krueng co-payment subsidy and the tourism stimulus campaign known as Rao Tiew Duay Kan (We Travel Together).
This deprived them of the right to register for benefits under Rao Chana (We Win), another handout programme.
Chaiporn Artmontree, the kamnan of tambon Yaangkham, said he was told by the district chief to ask villagers in his area if they been offered 200 baht each for copies of their ID cards, similar to the approach made to 38 people in Ban Fang district.
He found out that 500 villagers in tambon Yang Kham had received such an offer. He advised them to petition the Damrongtham Centre of Nong Rua district.
Most of them were elderly and did not use smartphones, Mr Chaiporn
Three teachers were accused of involvement in this fraudulent practice.
The investigation was being wrapped up and should be completed by Wednesday, he said.
Khon Kaen governor Somsak Jangtrakul said he had sent the deputy governor to the district and expected a full report on this matter on Wednesday.