Ugly re­ac­tion af­ter Face­book ‘model’ posts pho­tos show­ing wel­fare card jux­ta­posed with lux­ury items

The Nation - - AROUND THAILAND -

FACE­BOOK USER “Wachrin Tanku­ra­nun” has ap­par­ently at­tracted un­wanted at­ten­tion af­ter he posted a photo of an ex­pen­sive wrist­watch, a cup of iced cof­fee and his gov­ern­ment-is­sued wel­fare card on the pop­u­lar so­cial me­dia site.

The photo went vi­ral and drew neg­a­tive com­ments about how a wel­fare-card holder ap­par­ently was liv­ing an ex­trav­a­gant life­style, in­clud­ing pos­sess­ing an ex­pen­sive watch and drink­ing ex­pen­sive cof­fee.

Un­der the photo, he wrote: “I’ve got the card. My sta­tus has changed. I’m re­ally poor.”

A photo on his In­sta­gram ac­count showed him wear­ing footwear with an ac­com­pa­ny­ing box bear­ing the Louis Vuit­ton brand.

Thai na­tion­als ap­ply­ing for wel­fare cards are sup­posed to be job­less or earn less than Bt100,000 per year, not to have bank ac­counts and not to have as­sets such as gov­ern­ment bonds or real es­tate.

Only those who meet the qual­i­fi­ca­tion cri­te­ria are el­i­gi­ble for the card, which en­ti­tles them to monthly gov­ern­ment sub­si­dies for trans­port, gro­ceries and cook­ing gas.

The sub­si­dies are in­tended for low-in­come peo­ple, mak­ing Wachrin’s pho­tos on Face­book ap­pear to re­veal vi­o­la­tions in his ap­pli­ca­tion for the card.

In re­sponse, Comp­trol­ler-Gen­eral De­part­ment di­rec­tor-gen­eral Suthi­rat Rat­tana­chote said the Fis­cal Pol­icy Of­fice (FPO) would ex­am­ine whether Wachrin met the qual­i­fi­ca­tions for the wel­fare card in the light of pho­tos ap­pear­ing to de­pict a lux­u­ri­ous life­style.

The FPO would no­tify the de­part­ment of its find­ings and the de­part­ment would re­voke the card if it were con­cluded that he did not qual­ify as low in­come, she said.

Ear­lier me­dia re­ports stated that Wachrin was a pop­u­lar model on Face­book, which raised ques­tions about whether he fit the qual­i­fi­ca­tions to re­ceive fi­nan­cial wel­fare from the gov­ern­ment.

Wachrin’s Face­book wall shows pho­tos of him in sexy poses as well as im­ages de­pict­ing a high-rolling life, in­clud­ing him rid­ing a big mo­tor­cy­cle.

Some of those who com­mented on the pho­tos wrote that he was not ac­tu­ally that pop­u­lar and the pho­tos might be mis­lead­ing about the suc­cess he had achieved.

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