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Pattaya hotel kickback-seekers won’t face criminal charges

Apparently attempted extortion is OK in Thailand, as long as no one falls for it

Grand Bella Hotel Pattaya Field Hospital Coronavirus
Pattaya's Grand Bella Hotel was transformed into a coronavirus field hospital.

Apparently, attempted extortion is just fine in Thailand as long as no one falls for it.

That’s the moral of the story in the case of a group of people who attempted to persuade Pattaya hoteliers to pay them 40 percent of the money the government would pay them if the group “arranged” to put them on the list of coronavirus quarantine centers.

Deputy national police chief Suwat Chaengyodsuk said Provincial Police Region 2 investigators identified the scammers, but would not prosecute them because no Pattaya hotel operator pressed charges.

None of the operators believed the hucksters, so no money changed hands.

Suwat did not name the suspects, but said none of them were connected to the government, military or politician.

These “private citizens” went to hotel owners claiming to represent a state enterprise and assured operators that they could arrange for the hotel to be put on the list of government-sanctioned quarantine centers for Thais returning from overseas. In exchange, they demanded 40 percent of the 1,000 baht-per-head fee the hotel would receive.

The question begs, however, that if the suspects weren’t a member of the government or military or a close pal of a corrupt politician, how could they arrange for the hotel to get on the list? They must have felt pretty confident of their connection to only demand a kickback afterward.

The extortionist-wannabes may not get off scot free, however, as the Public Health Ministry is mulling defamation charges for smearing the ministry’s good name by dragging it into the attempted scam.