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A Thai man who took to Facebook to complain about being charged ‘farang’ prices when trying to enter a tourist attraction in southern Thailand is actually an American citizen.
Phuket resident Mr Grittapohn Chattreesagoon, whose real name is Jack Keen, made headlines yesterday when a post he made to Facebook complaining about the dual pricing policy in place at the Emerald Pool in Krabi went viral.
According to Mr Grittapohn, an attendant at the Emerald Pool told him would need to pay 200 Baht to enter because he looked like a foreigner, rather than the regular 20 Baht entrance fee charged to Thai nationals.
“I am a Phuket resident. I can read Thai clearly but have to experience this. It’s like racism”, Mr Grittapohn wrote in the Facebook post.
However, today, various Thai news sites, including ThaiRath, are reporting that although Mr Grittapohn is a resident of Phuket and can speak and read Thai fluently, he is in fact an American citizen, born in Phuket to American parents and does not have a Thai ID card, as originally reported.
When trying to enter the Emerald Pool, Mr Grittapohn was only able to show the attendant his Thai driving license, which revealed that he was not a Thai national.
The case of Mr Grittapohn does raise another issue with regards to how much expats should expect to be charged when a dual pricing policy is in place.
Previously, it was quite common for an expat to be charged a reduced rate or even the same rate as a Thai national providing they could show documents such as a Thai driving license or work permit.
However, it now appears that providing such documentation is unlikely to result in an expat being charged any kind of reduced rate.
Regarding the incident with Mr Grittapohn, is it fair that someone who is born in Thailand, is a long term resident of the country and who is fluent in the Thai language should be forced to pay ‘farang’ price just because they do not have Thai citizenship?
This latest case further fuels the debate on the fairness of the dual pricing policy.