Earlier today a group of chili farmers from Chaisatharn Sub-district, Saraphi handed a letter to authorities at the Damrongtham Centre, demanding investigation into an alleged scam in their village.
According to farmers, their village had formed a chili farmers’ co-op ten years ago with around 150 members. Each member put in between 150-250 baht per month (depending on their age) into the co-op which was run by an elected member of the village and an appointed council.
Over the years villagers were satisfied and trusted the council as up to ten members of the co-op who passed away had received 100,000 baht each in funeral funds, reassuring the villagers that all was being well managed.
Last year there was some concerns following the suicidal death of a member when it was discovered the co-op only gave the family 5,000 baht. However, this was explained away as being due to suicide.
However, recently the head of the co-op passed away and when villagers inquired as to the funds they discovered that there was nothing remaining. They were told by the council that they would receive their last month’s contribution back and that was all there was left.
Outraged, villagers say that most of them have contributed over 40,000 baht over a decade and they demanded an investigation into the matter. The Damrongtham Centre told villagers that it would look into it.