Thai PM “baffled” by allegation of involvement in illegal gambling activities

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said today he is surprised that he is being implicated in benefiting from illegal gambling activities, as he declared his determination to crack down decisively on the illegal activity.

Speaking on the “Meet the People” podcast, the prime minister vowed to do his best in national administration, for the benefit of all society, and sought their cooperation in solving the country’s various problems.

On illegal gambling, blamed for a cluster COVID-19 infections, the prime minister said that officials do not want the virus to spread further, but he claimed there are some “bad officials” and people offered bribes to them, resulting in the virus outbreak related to such activities.

He said that illegal activities suchas gambling, illegal logging, the illicit drug trade and trafficking, has been going on in Thailand for a long time and, to get rid of the problem, the government must find appropriate solutions, based on legal principles.

The prime minister said he despises people who offer bribes to officials, so they will turn a blind eye to their illegal gambling dens, and warned them not to claim “they are my relatives or my friends.”

He insisted that he has never received any ill-gotten gains from illegal gambling dens, as was being implied.

Citing the rapid daily increase in new infections, the prime minister asked for full cooperation from the public by taking care of themselves, strictly observing safety measures and refraining from visiting high-risk locations.

While admitting that he does not want to punish anyone who breaks the tough travel restrictions, recently imposed in the five coastal provinces, or those who conceal information from authorities, he said that the restrictions are necessary and must be strictly enforced for the common good.

He reiterated that not downloading the Mor Chana tracing application onto smart phones is not an offence, but he urged members of the public to tell the truth when questioned by officials about their travel to high-risk areas.

He dismissed, as a fake news, a report that the government is to roll out another stimulus package, to give 4,000 baht cash to people affected by the pandemic, saying that the government must spend the taxpayers’ money carefully.

He said that the government still has an emergency fund and residues from two previous loans, which are being considered by the Finance Ministry and the National Economic and Social Development Council for lending to those affected by the latest outbreak.


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