Two executives of Thailand’s Mungkornfa online lottery dealer in police custody
Police took into custody two executives of an online lottery company this morning (Wednesday), whose premises in Nonthaburi province and in the north-eastern province of Loei were raided by police and officials from the Government Lottery Office (GLO) last month.
Armed with arrest warrants, issued by the Criminal Court, two police units from the special task force, formed to resolve the overpriced lottery sales problem, raided premises in Pak Kret district of Nonthaburi province and another in Bangkok’s Bang Khen district.
The police arrested 31-year-old Patchara Messiyaporn and 43-year-old Panrada Chaiputthithada, who are both executives of the Mungkornfa (Blue Dragon) online lottery dealer. Both have been charged with defrauding the public, engaging in the direct sale of lottery tickets without permission, over-advertising and selling overpriced lottery tickets. They were later released on bail.
Mungkornfa’s lawyer, Ananchai Chaidet, told the media that the company is just a go-between in the facilitation of the sale of lottery tickets via its platform, by charging a 5-baht fee for each ticket sold.
The selling prices of the tickets are decided between the vendors and the buyers and have nothing to do with the company, he claimed.
The lawyer also questioned why the authorities only took legal action against Mungkornfa, while leaving other online dealers untouched.
After his release on bail, Patchara joined Ananchai at a press conference, saying that he was shocked when his premises were raided. He said he had denied all the charges filed against him.
On March 25th, police and Government Lottery Office (GLO) officials, jointly led by vice minister of Prime Minister’s Office Seksakol Atthawong and Pol Lt-Gen Surachate Hakparn, the assistant national police chief, raided the Mungkornfa head office in Nonthaburi and found about 1.8 million lottery tickets on its premises. A separate raid of the company’s branch office in Loei province discovered about 200,000 tickets.
According to Pol Lt-Gen Surachate, the lottery tickets were bought from about 4,000 small vendors, who each had received a quota of 500 tickets from the GLO for each 15-day draw.
Two days later, the company announced the suspension of operations, from April 16th until further notice. It also said that it is willing to cooperate with the government and authorities to help solve the overpriced lottery ticket problem.