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A Thai Instagram model, Wachrin Tankuranan, 26, has riled up netizens, after a photo of his welfare card, alongside a G-shock watch and a cup of fancy coffee, went viral.
Just the coffee alone would cost half of what Thai minimum wage earners make in a day, reports Coconuts Bangkok.
Enraged netizens have denounced Wachrin as a freeloader, and many pointed out that he had prior to the incident, posted many other photos of his visits to fancy restaurants, sporting expensive gadgets while decked in designer products -- all while being on the welfare program.
In response to the accusations, Wachrin insisted that he really is poor, and does not own the expensive gadgets which he posts about.
“About Starbucks, sometimes my friend would invite me for a coffee.
“Sometimes I don’t have to pay for it because I go with my friends.
“Everything belongs to them.
“I only posted nice photos on Twitter and Instagram because everybody does that.
“I insist that I don’t have any assets.”
Wachrin said that there are some months which he doesn’t even earn any money.
“I review products for a living.
"My income is not guaranteed.
“Some months, I don’t have any income at all, and sometimes I only get to use the products for free.
“I’m just a regular poor person.
“I’m not handsome or rich.”
The director-general of the Comptroller General’s Department, Sutthirat Rattanachote said that she was notified about the situation and will investigate on Wachrin’s eligibility for the welfare program, promising to cancel his welfare card if he is unqualified.
To qualify for the program, individuals cannot earn an annual salary of more than THB100,000 ($4114), and must have less than $4114 in their bank accounts.
They also cannot own any real estate.
The card contains a monthly budget of THB1,700 to THB1,800 ($69) which holders can use to pay for groceries, bills and transportation fees.