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Thai police arrested seven people with a vaccine registration scam

Bangkok

Seven suspects are arrested for alleged involvement within the vaccination registration scam at Bang Sue central train station in late July.

The suspects were identified as Pakamon Hompak, her husband Wichayapong Teera-angkananont, Surinat Patamawichaiporn, Jumpol Sriyapai, Bundhita Roongsawang, Kantima Yangthong and Hathaichanok Borirak.

Six were arrested earlier in Bangkok, Ratchaburi and Songkhla provinces. The seventh, Ms Bundhita, surrendered to police in Bangkok on Monday.

The seven were volunteers assisting with the registration of people for Covid-19 inoculation appointments at the vaccination centre at Bang Sue Grand Station.

In late July, officials at the centre first detected irregularities, discovering that about 1,000 additional names were being loaded into the registration system a day after 8 pm when official working hours ended.

On July 28, about 2,000 people queued up at Gate No 4 for inoculation even though only 384 people under the quota of the Foreign Ministry were expected to be vaccinated through that gate.

The unusually high number of people who turned up for vaccination led to an investigation. it had been learned that the majority of those who showed up had paid 400-1,200 baht each, as demanded by some people to induce their names registered for appointments.

Siriluck Ubonnua, deputy director of the Bang Sue central vaccination centre, filed a complaint with Noppawong Railway Police, seeking action against people that were involved in the fraud.

The Central Investigation Bureau (CIB) was assigned to investigate. About 200 people that were damaged parties were asked the testify. The scammers pulled in about 7 million baht.

Information from the witnesses led the CIB to get court warrants for the arrest of the seven suspects.

They were charged with violations under the Computer Crimes Act.

A press conference about the arrests was held at Gate 1 of the Bang Sue central vaccination centre on Monday in the presence of Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul.

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