Man Handing Out Donations Gets Police Warning

Panya hands out cash and food in Chiang Mai on April 16, 2020.

CHIANG MAI — A man handing out cash and food to jobless and poor people in Chiang Mai was warned by police that he was risking a mass infection.

Police asked a 28-year-old man by the name of Panya to stop handing out cash on Thursday, saying that many people who turn up queuing failed to keep a proper social distance from one another. Panya, a native of Phayao province, was not charged with any crime.

Panya is identified as an entrepreneur. He arrived with a big thick wad of 100 baht bills and donations of food at Chiang Mai City in front of Fah Ham Market, causing a scene that prompted police to intervene.

Pol Col Narueban Jittayanand, chief of a local police station, said his officers told Panya not to organize such donations without proper social distancing measures. The man was at risk of violating communicable diseases law, which forbids unruly gathering of a large number of people that could risk coronavirus infections, the officer said.

“It was difficult for the police,” Col. Narueban said. “People may be dissatisfied if he was arrested because right now people have been suffering [from the economic crisis]. So we could only advise and warn the young man to not do it again.”