Owner of online lottery platform defiant after raid by police, several agencies

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https://www.nationthailand.com/thailand/general/40024063

Owner of online lottery platform defiant after raid by police, several agencies

Owner of online lottery platform defiant after raid by police, several agencies

MONDAY, JANUARY 16, 2023

Police and several government agencies turned up at the head office of Kong Salak Plus, the popular online lottery platform, on Monday morning following allegations by the Government Lottery Office (GLO) that it was deceiving consumers.

The unfazed CEO of Kong Salak Plus, Phanthawat Nakwisut, said he would go on Facebook Live to announce the lottery results on Tuesday and lottery ticket buyers from his platform would still receive full prizes without tax deduction in keeping with the earlier practice.

The raid on Kong Salak Plus at SSP Tower in Bangkok’s Watthana district was led by Pol Lt-General Prachuap Wongsuk, assistant National Police chief who heads a police committee in charge of cracking down on overpriced lottery tickets.

The raid by Metropolitan Police Bureau officers was joined by officials from the Office of the Consumer Protection Board, the Anti-Money Laundering Office, the Revenue Department, and the Department of Special Investigation.

Prachuap said police had obtained a search warrant after the GLO filed a complaint with the Consumer Protection Police Division that Kong Salak Plus had been selling overpriced lottery tickets. The platform was also accused of buying up tickets from small-time vendors for reselling at inflated prices.

Prachuap said the GLO maintained that it had not appointed Kong Salak Plus to sell its tickets.

He added that police would check whether Kong Salak Plus had violated any law by claiming to be selling the tickets at their face value of 80 baht per ticket but charging another 25 baht per ticket as service fee.

Owner of online lottery platform defiant after raid by police, several agenciesGLO director Noon Sansanakom said on Monday that the GLO had filed complaints with police against all online platforms selling lottery tickets because they buy up tickets from vendors for reselling at inflated prices.

Noon said Kong Salak Plus and other platforms might be charged with deceiving the public by claiming that they bought tickets for over 80 baht each and reselling them at 80 baht (plus service fees).

“It’s impossible to buy tickets for over 80 baht and resell them at 80 baht. So, this may constitute deception of the public,” Noon said, making no reference to the service fees charged by the platforms.

Owner of online lottery platform defiant after raid by police, several agenciesNoon added that the GLO has never licensed Kong Salak Plus to sell its tickets and the platform also was not in a position to prevent buyers under 20 years of age from buying, unlike the Krung Thai Bank’s Pao Tang app that requires buyers to identify themselves first.

After the search, Prachuap did not elaborate on evidence the police and officials might have found at the head office as they left without speaking to reporters.

Also on Monday, a former Special Branch police officer, Santhana Prayoonrat, met Yutthana Praedam, deputy director of the DSI, at 11am.

Owner of online lottery platform defiant after raid by police, several agenciesSanthana claimed that he had come to hand over evidence of alleged grey businessmen’s connection with Kong Salak Plus.

Santhana claimed that he had been gathering the evidence for seven or eight years and his evidence allegedly showed the operation used funds of 10 million baht from drug traffickers.

Kong Salak Plus CEO Phanthawat returned to his office at 1.30pm when the officials had already left.

He said he had a personal business in the morning so he was not at the office when the officials arrived.

He said he was not worried about the allegations because he had not engaged in any wrongdoing from the beginning.

Phanthawat argued that other platforms had been buying up lottery tickets from vendors and reselling them for over 10 years but the GLO had not taken any action.

He said many other platforms had for years been following the practice of adding a service charge to the 80 baht face value of each ticket.

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