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‘Blind’ beggar caught driving Fortuner

‘Blind’ beggar caught driving Fortuner

THAILAND: A “blind” beggar at a market in Nonthaburi has been caught in a viral video clip arriving for “work” driving a Toyota Fortuner.

corruptioncrime
By Bangkok Post

Wednesday 29 January 2020, 05:15PM


A man dressed in ragged clothes is seen after parking his SUV outside a temple in Nonthaburi. He appeared shortly after at a nearby market masquerading as a blind man and begging for money. Photo: screenshot from the clip by Facebook user Chutala Joy

A man dressed in ragged clothes is seen after parking his SUV outside a temple in Nonthaburi. He appeared shortly after at a nearby market masquerading as a blind man and begging for money. Photo: screenshot from the clip by Facebook user Chutala Joy

The clip, posted by Facebook user Chutala Joy yesterday (Jan 28), showed a man wearing ragged clothing getting out of a black Fortuner with Bangkok licence plates parked outside Wat Don Sakae in Bang Yai district of Nonthaburi. He carried a bag inside the temple.

He later showed up at a nearby market, wearing jet-black glasses like a blind man and begging for money.

The clip drew a tirade of criticism against the man. Some people speculated he might be a police agent masquerading as a beggar to gather information.

This attracted the attention of local police, who watched the clip and promised to track him down for questioning.

Pol Col Surapoj Rodbamrung, chief of Bang Yai police, said if found to have ill intentions and to be begging for money under false pretensions he would face legal action under Section 16 of the Beggar Control Act. An offender was liable for a fine of up to 1,000 baht and/or a year in jail.

Thai media reported police had already identified the beggar as Somporn Kueyen, 65. He was not blind and lived with his wife in a two-storey townhouse in Muang district of Nonthaburi. They had two daughters - one working abroad and the other teaching at a university.

Mr Somporn did not return home last night after news of his masquerade hit the headlines. He and his wife reportedly moved to another house and he was expected to meet investigators at Bang Yai police station later today (Jan 29), reports said.

Neighbours said they did not know what Mr Somporn did for a living. They just saw him driving his car from the house around 3-4am every day and returning home at night.

Some media reports quoted the man telling reporters he was in dire need of money to pay off gambling debts. Others said he used to have a stall selling pork at a market, but fell into debt.

Vendors at a market in Bang Yai district where Mr Somporn allegedly often begged for money said they were disappointed to learn the truth, that his blindness was just a lie to get money from kind-hearted people.

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