ANN/THE NATION – A social media influencer famous for helping underprivileged people has admitted he was duped by a Cambodian beggar who reportedly earns over THB150,000 a month in Thailand.
Gunnathat Pongpaiboonwet, better known as Gun Jompalang, said on Saturday he had decided to help a male beggar nicknamed ‘Uncle V’ who was seen at Wat Sri Amata Nakhon in Phan Thong district, Chonburi.
Writing on Facebook, Gun explained he was saddened by photos posted online of an old man bent in a V-shape due to his disability.
In a bid to help, he contacted friends and the social development and human security office in Chonburi.
But an hour later, Gun informed his Facebook followers that he had been fooled.
Gun said he contacted the Chonburi social development office, who identified the man as Cambodian national Gome Phormee, 47.
The office said the man had repeatedly sneaked across the border with his wife, daughter and mother-in-law.
He was arrested and deported three times in 2015 before being arrested again on Saturday.
The Thai Rath news website reported that Gome and his family members earned about THB5,000 per day begging separately at various markets.
It added that his disability was genuine but did not prevent him from walking.
Locals told Thai Rath that the man had been begging in the locale for 10 years but lived a good life with money to buy expensive shrimp, among other things.
Police arrested Gome, his wife and daughter and detained them at the Muang Chon Buri police station pending deportation.
The mother-in-law was found with legal travel documents, thus will not be deported.