The Prime Minister of Thailand, Prayut Chan-o-cha, has reacted to video clips shared online of people raiding and hoarding items from goodwill pantries set up around the country.
The pantries, which have spread quickly and are now in 51 provinces around Thailand, were created to assist people who are suffering from the effects of the coronavirus lockdown.
The concept is simple – small pantries or cupboards are set up in public locations where people can donate items such as noodles, canned items, face masks, and drinking water.
Then, those who are in need can come and take whatever they want. A great idea on paper, but one with many issues in reality.
Numerous incidents including people taking all the items from a pantry, fights breaking out in front of the pantries, and intimidation toward people who are stocking the pantries have been reported.
In one case, a woman who set up a pantry outside of her home in Bangkok was harassed and bullied by people who failed to get anything when stocks ran out. They rang her doorbell and insisted she keeps the shelves stocked at all times.
In another incident, a pantry located in front of a mall in Nakhon Sawan province had to be moved to the outside of a police station as security footage showed groups of people returning time and again to take the replenished stock.
The Prime Minister referenced these incidents and others, saying that he will not accept the selfishness of people who are hoarding the items. He encouraged people to look out for and protest against people who are taking advantage of the scheme.
Prayut also insisted he did not want to see these incidents happening again. He said:
“There should not be a repeat of the incidents. We must think about others. If you continue such abuse, no one will want to donate.”
Despite the reported incidents of selfishness and hoarding, the goodwill pantries continue to spring up around Thailand. Currently, there are 249 locations where people can donate items.
Source: Bangkok Post