BANGKOK – A 14-year-old wheelchair-bound girl (Pattarada “Beam” Kaewpong), whose melancholic singing voice is featured in a famous advertisement, has been allegedly cheated out of Bt5 million in compensation money.
Her mother Porntip Chantharat, 44, revealed on Thursday that a pro-bono lawyer had cheated the family out of nearly Bt5 million in compensation money they received after the 2005 road accident that left the teenager with a serious spinal injury.
The family was in a pickup truck that was in collision with an 18-wheel truck in Surat Thani. Pattarada’s father was killed in the accident and her injuries were serious enough that she will never walk again.
“We thought we were lucky to get the pro-bono service from the lawyer who told us that the provincial court had ruled for the opposite side to pay us Bt1 million compensation which would be paid in monthly instalment at Bt40,000 a month.
“The lawyer also had me sign a document as he claimed it was inconvenient for me to go to the court myself,” she said.
The family received the Bt40,000 monthly instalment for seven months, after which the payment stopped and the lawyer avoided her and claimed the opposite side did not give him the payment, she said.
The lawyer reportedly admitted taking the money and promised to repay the family, she said, he even brought flowers to apologise to them.
However, he later changed his phone number and could not be contacted, Porntip said adding that her complaint to the Lawyers Council of Thailand, the Pavena Foundation for Women and Children and the Dhamrongthan Center were not helpful.
“If the lawyer is still alive and now knows that we are living a hard life, please give us back our money. Beam should not suffer like this because the family was cheated of the compensation money,” Porntip said.
The mother and daughter now make a living by selling goods at Wat Chonprathanrangsarit in Nonthaburi’s Pakkred district.
Pattarada had performed in the chorus singing of “Que Sera Sera” featured in the much-praised Thai Life Insurance PCL’s 2009 advertisement.