PHAYAO – A family from the Phayao province in Northern Thailand may be charged under the Computer Crime Act for a prank after a 13-year-old girl changed four numbers on five tickets bought for her 60-year-old grandmother, Luan Tananchai, to match the six digits of the lottery’s first prize.
She asked her grandmother Mrs Luan to take a photo with the altered tickets, and sent it to a Line group of family members, saying the grandma had won the top prize of 30 million baht.
What started as a harmless prank then turned into a real problem.
A representative of the Government Lottery Office filed a complaint with the Crime Suppression Division yesterday after the northern family’s prank photo somehow leaked from their group chat and was widely shared.
Government Lottery Office spokesman Thanawat Polwichai, said the lottery office is concerned that the fake news has damaged the office and may affect the public’s trust in their lottery process. Therefore, the office requested an investigation into the matter, Daily News reported.
He said that spreading altered tickets on social media could be considered wrongdoing under the Computer Crime Act and that legal experts are determining whether attempts to change the numbers on tickets could be an offence relating to the alteration of state certificates under the Criminal Code.
For simply sharing a fake lottery picture, the family could face a maximum of five years in prison and a THB100,000 fine on charges of putting false information into the computer system that could cause damage to the public.
Meanwhile, some family members shared the fake story and the picture to Line groups belonging to the village and tambon chief in the province, and then they were forwarded to other groups and other social media platforms.
Relatives and friends then flocked to Mrs Luan’s house in Chiang Muan’s tambon Mang to congratulate her, prompting her son, Her son, Sompol Thananchai, 35, an assistant chief of Tambon Ban Bang administration to offer an apology.
Sompol apologised to the community, saying his daughter simply devised a prank to share among her relatives, and she did not expect it would spread so widely on social media.
“On behalf of my mother and all our family, I would like to sincerely apologise for what happened,” he said.
Mrs Luan’s husband, Prayong Tananchai, on Sunday called for sympathy for his family after his wife became stressed and was taken to a hospital, Thairath Online reported.
Pol Lt Col Sawat Khamuangsa, a deputy chief of Chiang Muan police station, said the case should be a lesson for others, and repeated the GLO’s warning that spreading images of fake lottery tickets could be punishable under the Computer Crime Act.