Thai Airways staff have been allegedly faking their own deaths in order to claim funeral payouts, costing the airline almost half a million dollars.

According to the National Thailand, since 2013, there have been 26 cases of fake death certificates issued for Thai Airways employees that have reportedly kept working for the airline. The schemes are estimated to have cost the company a total of 14 million baht ($466,000) or approximately $18,000 per employee.

On February 16, 2021, 20 members of the Savings Cooperative for Employees of Thai Airways International and lawyers filed complaints with the Crime Suppression Division regarding these fake claims.

“The cooperative has found that the number of members filing for funeral allowance has increased suspiciously over several years,” said cooperative representative Weerayut Thuankong. “We checked the evidence they submitted and found that the death certificates appeared to be fake, as the persons declared dead are still working for the company.”

“We only have evidence until 2013, but we believe there could be more members who have committed this fraud before that, so we are asking the police to launch a full investigation,” added Thuankong.

On January 26, 2021, continuously struggling Thai Airways announced a restructuring plan, which involved increasing revenue, cost reductions, and preparation for sustainable operations in the future. On February 19, 2021, Thailand’s national carrier, which employs around 21,000 people, said it had cut around 240 executive positions as part of its bankruptcy restructuring process.

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