PM's number comes up lucky again

Anyone who keeps a close eye on the cars used by the prime minister would have been delighted with Friday's national lottery result.

  • Published: 2/02/2013 at 07:31 PM
  • Newspaper section: topstories

It seems positively uncanny, but the winning numbers come up as part of the main lottery winner (above) and as the precious two-digit winning number (below)

But some punters and conspiracy theorists are crying foul, noting the suspicious frequency of winning lottery numbers matching the numbers on Yingluck Shinawatra's licence plate.

Seven times, in fact, since she took office in August 2011. The numbers have matched plates on official vehicles and in one case on a car used to transport the premier's son.

The van with the plate ending in 66 is owned by the governor of Uttaradit but it was used to transport the premier when she was in the province.

At the bi-monthly drawing on Friday, the first-prize winning number was 565566. The winning two-digit number, 66, just happened to match the plate number of the van used by Prime Minister Yingluck when she chaired the mobile cabinet meeting in Uttaradit on Jan 20-21.

The Volkswagen van with the plate "Nor Khor 666" belongs to the provincial governor.

Many lotto buyers, including several reporters at Government House, were happy with the result. Countless others who play the underground lottery, which is based on the official one, were delighted as well.

A lottery vendor in Muang district of Uttaradit kept 24 tickets with the ending number and won 48,000 baht.

However, suspicions surfaced in Sukhothai province about the happy coincidence.

Some betters and ticket sellers believed the results of the latest draw may have been fixed, as were some previous draws, to boost the popularity of Ms Yingluck.

Surasak (surname withheld), a lottery vendor in Sukhothai, said he'd heard several complaints about the frequency of the premier's car plate providing winning numbers.

He said he talked to cousins and other provinces, and they said that when the government's popularity is dropping, they have to keep a very close eye on the premier's licence plate.

The Government Lottery Office insists no such locking of winning numbers takes place. Many punters probably will continue to believe otherwise, given numerous suspected instances of rigging over the decades.

For the record, the first Yingluck-related lucky number, on Aug 16, 2011, was 62. The van she was using at the time had the plate number 1662.

Other lucky numbers included 533 (Sept 1, 2011), matching a police vehicle in the premier's motorcade bearing the number 4533. Ms Yingluck's car plate number 333 came up in the Sept 16, 2011 draw.

On Nov 16, 2011, the first prize-ending three-digit number 777 matched the plate number of a car used to pick up the premier's son, and the two-digit prize number matched the plate number of a passenger bus carrying Ms Yingluck during a flood rescue operation. A first prize two-digit number 98 matched the plate number of the first van used by Ms Yingluck during her election campaign.

The two-digit prize number 28 is also associated with Ms Yingluck, who is Thailand's 28th prime minister.
 
Other draws featuring Yingluck-related numbers were on Aug 16 and Dec 16, 2012.

Nongkran, 48, a lottery player, said many people were fed up with
alleged lottery rigging.

"Though [the Government Lottery Office] insists winning numbers are not fixed, most betters do believe that there is illegal manipulation of lottery draws," said Mrs Nongkran.

She cited the case of bookmaker Narong Ounphaet, alias Klom Bang Kruai, of Nonthaburi. He and his gang fixed the result of the draw on June 1, 2001 to produce the unlikely combination of 113311 for the first prize. They were each sentenced to three years' imprisonment for rigging the lottery, she said.

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