Police impostor arrested for soliciting donations for boys trapped in Tham Luang

A man who claimed to be a police officer has been arrested in Ayutthaya province for opening a bank account to illegally solicit donations from the general public to help the 12 youth footballers and their coach who have been trapped in Tham Luang cave in Chiang Rai’s Mae Sai district.

The man, who was later identified as Panya Decha, alias Lithang, 37, was arrested at a house in Tambon Bang Padaeng of Bang Pa-in district in a raid by a combined unit led by Ayutthaya governor Sujin Chaichusak and Bang Pa-in district officer Pairat Phetyuan.

The authorities found in the search of the house a bank account of Siam Commercial Bank, Khubon branch, of Mr Panya, a mobile phone and a computer.

The arrest came after Mr Panya posted on his Facebook page in the name of “Police Lance-Corporal Lithang Sudlor Na Ayutthaya” and an image of himself dressed like a police officer with a message calling for people to make donations by transferring the money to his bank account. He claimed  the money would go to the 13 young footballers trapped in Tham Luang cave in the Tham Luang-Khun Nam Nang Non National Park in Chiang Rai’s Mae Sai district.

Mr Panya was charged with cheating the public and illegally posing as a policeman.   He reportedly confessed to the charges.