The much-praised lottery vendor at a petrol station in Samut Sakhon has admitted to telling lies about one of his patrons winning a set of first-prize tickets and getting Bt90 million.
Thanawat Khamhaengpol, 35, has admitted to the media that the story started from a joke with the petrol station owner that went wrong and got out of control after it was widely shared.
He said he had not intended to deceive the public.
After the results of the September 1 draw were announced, Thanawat posted a photo of him holding a 15-ticket set with the winning number of 734510. He took the picture with the petrol station owner.
Thanawat said the station owner then shared the photo within his Line group and from there it spread like wildfire.
Thanawat said after the fake story went public, he did not know what to do and so continued telling more lies, including one in which he related travelling to the Suvarnabhumi Airport to hand over the 15 tickets to the winner, who he said sought anonymity. In another lie, the winner had given him a “reward” of Bt100,000.
In his false narrative, Thanawat said he had been unable to sell the “winning” ticket set and so had sold the leftover to his regular patron via a Line app, and then the patron had transferred him Bt1,800 but did not turn up to receive the tickets.
The story warmed the hearts of members of the public, prompting many lottery buyers to form long queues to buy his lottery tickets.
Even the well-know astrologer Peng Neung fell victim. The astrologer visited his shop to check the feng shui and gave him a feng shui sign to bless the shop and his buyers.
But in the midst of his newfound celebrity, the well-known lawyer Atchariya Ruangratanapong posted on his Facebook wall that the story was a lie.
The lawyer had a quick eye and noticed that the English reading of the number on the ticket was not the same as the number showing on the ticket.
Atchariya then filed a complaint with the Government Lottery Office, suggesting the tickets had been forged.
Atchariya’s actions led Thanawat to come forward and admit on Saturday that he had modified the first figure of the number by cutting and pasting a number 7 on the front ticket of the set, just to take a fun photo to share with friends and the petrol-station owner.
He said he could not sell the set and he got the idea after noticing that its six last digits were the same as the six digits of the first prize.
Police said Thanawat would be arrested and charged with forging lottery tickets and may also face public deception charges, along with computer crime charges for posting the fake story on the Internet.