The statement, issued yesterday (Sept 5), came only after one of the witnesses posted a video on TikTok, explaining that he had been summoned to give his testimony to the investigating officer at Chalong Police Station.
The man, who posted the video on the “Golf Sanit” TikTok channel, explained that he had received a second summons to present himself to give testimony. He was warned that ignoring the summons would result in a warrant for his arrest being issued.
Mr Golf lives in Bangkok. He arrived in Phuket yesterday. To fulfil the summons, he had to pay thousands of baht out of his own pocket for flights and transport costs.
Chalong Police designated yesterday as the day for processing witness testimonies in the case against the hotel, which police have not named. A marquee tent had been set up in front of the police station with chairs set out to accommodate dozens of people at any one time.
The investigation centres on the hotel processing claims for reimbursement from the government for discounted bookings made through the We Travel Together scheme.
Officers are investigating whether actual people checked into the hotel according to their bookings, instead of bookings being made without any actual guests staying at the hotel.
The witnesses called, including Mr Golf, were being asked to testify that they were guests who actually stayed at the hotel through a booking made through We Travel Together.
“Chalong Police Station informs the person who received the summons in a different area [than Phuket] are able to go and give their testimony to the investigating officer at the police station in the area itself. There is no need to travel to Phuket,” the statement issued yesterday read.
Chalong Police have not confirmed how many witnesses were called to give witness statements yesterday, or how many of those witnesses were based outside of Phuket.
Chalong Police also have not confirmed that the witnesses were even told before yesterday that they had the option of giving their witness statements to police at the nearest police station in the province where they live.
As of yesterday, it is now presumed that all witnesses summoned in the investigation are aware that they do not need to travel to Phuket to give their statements, even if they had already travelled to Phuket yesterday to fulfil the summons instead of facing an arrest warrant.
“Those who have been summoned to come to testify at Chalong Police Station will receive a witness fee of B300 per witness, who will not be able to file claims for travel expenses and accommodation with the investigating officer,’ said the statement issued yesterday.
No other statements from Chalong Police regarding the matter have been issued.