Thailand-based Irish model and “internet idol” Jessie Vard, along with four other glamour models, turned themselves into the police for illegally promoting online gambling where fans could bet on results of the World Cup.
The 19-year-old Vard, 21-year-old Paradee Koosinsap, 20-year-old Saitarn Yim-ampai, 25-year-old Nirada Kuenonkun, and 23-year-old Thanyakarn Lojin, arrived at the Phayathai Police Station in Bangkok, Thailand, on June 19, the Daily Mail reported.
The five models were among the 15 models named in the warrants summoning them to appear in court which were released by Thai police last week.
Vard, who has more than 180,000 followers on Instagram, made several posts on her Facebook page with pictures of the homepage of a gambling site. They have since been deleted from her social media account.
The teen model admitted that she took compensation for the selfies she posted online and was not fully aware that promoting betting sites was illegal, Coconuts Bangkok reported.
She also apologized publicly on behalf of the group of models who were called to their court appearance.
“I did not know that gambling sites were illegal. I apologise to everybody and accept my mistake. Please do not become involved with these sites,” the model said.
Vard and the other models have been released on bail as they await their sentencing later this month. Under Thailand’s Anti-Gambling Act, those charged may face up to 1 year of prison time as well as a fine of 1,000 Thai baht ($30), according to Thai PBS.
Major General Panurat Lakboon, deputy head of Bangkok’s Metropolitan Police, said that authorities have already arrested 1,115 people on charges related to online gambling since May 2, and bank accounts that are worth more than $1 million have had also been frozen as a result of the crackdown.
“Net idols or pretties who have online followers are not allowed to post anything gambling related or suggestive to gamble activities,” Police General Chalermkeate Sriworakhan, Deputy Commissioner General of the Royal Thai Police, added. “Fifteen net idols are included in warrant calls for posting gambling suggestive posts on social media including the infamous Miss Jessy Vard.”
“During the World Cup there will be heavier patrols to check on pubs and bars near schools and community areas. Please enjoy the sports but don’t be involved in gambling,” he said.
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