Some hotels deceiving travellers with Thailand Pass packages
|22nd November 2021 |
See article from bangkokpost.com
Some hotels are deceiving visitors from overseas, taking room reservations but omitting transport from the airport and Covid-testing, which means they must buy a new package on arrival or be rejected.
Apisamai Srirangson, a spokeswoman for the Centre
for Covid-19 Situation Administration, said that some hotels misled visitors and booked them only for the room. The charge did not include a limousine service from the airport to the quarantine hotel or the RT-PCR Covid-19 test on arrival, even though
both were required as conditions of entry on a Thailand Pass.
On arrival victims had to buy a new package or be denied entry. And inevitably some hotels did not give refunds to visitors who then cancelled their room reservation and bought a
Some hotels had the packages that included limousine and Covid-19 testing, but also allowed visitors to reserve only rooms and seek RT-PCR testing themselves. This shows that such hotels intentionally deceived visitors.
Insurance scam whereby people reporting thefts to the police are accused of attempting to defraud their own insurance companies
|29th December 2015 |
See article from andrew-drummond.com
Travel insurance against loss of valuables can be a double edged sword in Thailand. It's best to bring nothing to Thailand except a cheap laptop or smart phone and be willing to write it off. Of if you do keep under lock and key.
Unfortunately this is a scam carried out by the police and the courts -- and the most notable case was that of Jason Sudra from London, a supermarket manager, who was banged up for a month in Nong Plalai jail, Pattaya, without even
seeing a judge.
This scam happens when tourists go to police and claim they were attacked and robbed. They can get the reply that police have checked CCTV and no such incident has taken place -- so you must be taking part in a
holiday insurance scam...Bang! The keys go in the cell door and the hapless victim will soon be begging for mercy.
In cases reporter the foreigner will be asked to sign a statement saying he will go to court and everything will be
settled with a 500 baht fine (ten quid) and having spent time in custody the victim will be more than willing.
At the court in the cases mentioned foreigners will not actually be brought before a judge. They will be asked to sign
some paperwork in Thai - and Bob's your uncle they have signed their own prison sentence.
Think carefully before going to Thai police with any complaint. There are some good ones, but it's not worth chancing your luck. If you need
to make a report for an insurance claim, bring someone with you at all times.
If you have the misfortune to need a lawyer -- do not go for the first one who just happens to appear to help you. You will need another lawyer to get
your cash back from him.
|18th January 2015 |
Random searches and on-the-spot drug tests on foreigners have left many questioning police integrity
See article from
Taxi users warned of thefts after passengers have supposedly been drugged via the aircon
||2nd November 2013 |
See article from pattayadailynews.com
Thailand's FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has warned passengers who use taxi services to be cautious as a number of passengers were looted by taxi drivers after the driver had put some chemical that will make you unconscious.
The taxi driver
puts a chemical in to aircon system that will make you go unconscious, after that the culprit will plunder your bags and pockets.
The chemicals used that are being used by the taxi drivers hasn't been confirmed yet, but it was suspected that
Chloroform was being used.
FDA officials suggested that if you suddenly feel nauseous while using the services of a taxi cab, you should roll down the taxi's windows.
|26th August 2013
Australian couple speak of finding drugs planted in their luggage, thankfully just ahead of being stopped at the airport, and having to negotiate a payment to avoid prosecution
article from theage.com.au
Major international news coverage for Thailand's scams and extortion rackets
July 2013 |
See article from
See article from
From jet ski scams to robbery, assault and even police extortion, for the millions of tourists who flock to Thailand each year the kingdom does not always live up to its reputation as the Land of Smiles .
Now following a flurry of
complaints, governments are urging the country to do more to protect the safety of the record numbers of foreigners visiting Thailand.
Drink spiking in bars can be a problem and sometimes people wake up to find they have been robbed. There are
a lot of people who get drugged here, said Wal Brown, an Australia volunteer with the Thai police who patrols the thronging streets of Patong on the island of Phuket.
Visitors are warned to beware of strip clubs offering ping-pong shows
where two beers can sometimes cost $100. Brown said :
Last year we had one guy hit with a hammer. He wouldn't pay. The tout got very aggressive and attacked him.
Bag snatching and robberies
are also a regular occurrence on Phuket with tourists on motorbikes sometimes targeted on dimly-lit roads. One French girl hid in the bushes for three hours. Another Swedish girl stayed there until daybreak. They were on motorbikes and stopped by
people with hatchets and screwdrivers and makeshift weapons, said Brown, who recommends people read their government's travel advice before visiting.
Millions visited Thailand last year and although most did not encounter any serious problems,
diplomats say tougher action is needed to ensure their protection. David Lipman, head of the EU delegation to Thailand and one of more than a dozen European ambassadors who recently visited the island to air their concerns, told AFP:
There have been quite a lot of problems in Phuket. I don't think that the situation is getting better at all and that's why we really wanted to pursue this matter
One common scam on Thai beaches is to charge large
sums of money (typically $1000) for pre-existing damage to jet skis, using threats of violence against people reluctant to pay. Lipman said:
It's a racket. The same with motorbikes as well. People rent out motorbikes.
In the middle of the night they're stolen by the people who rented them out in the first place and the next day they say 'let's have our motorbike'.
Fines handed out by the local police for parking in the wrong place are another
issue. We expect proper standards of behaviour from public officials. Let's face it, there is a bit of corruption going on and we hope that will be avoided.
Meanwhile Pattaya's mayor, who has seen the jet ski scam thrive under his
Ministry of Tourism and Sports is closely monitoring the issues...to increase safety the city will launch its own Pattaya Public Safety Centre next month where tourists can register complaints and get
Pattaya will also be one of the first destinations to have tourism court that will deal quickly with non-violent crimes against tourists.
Passengers tricked into getting out of the taxi which then speeds off
|4th May 2013 |
See article from
On April 3, a Nonthaburi couple left their home to go to Suvarnabhumi airport to catch a flight to India. They didn't make it.
Everything seemed normal when they entered an orange taxi outside their home, but as they drove along Ratchapruek Road,
the cab slowed to a stop, apparently out of petrol.
The driver turned around in his seat and told them that he was disabled and needed them to push the car to the side of the road for him. The couple obliged.
The husband left the cab first,
followed by his wife. The moment they were out of the car, the driver restarted the taxi and sped off, taking with him all of their belongings.
Without money or phones, the desperate couple set out on foot to the nearest police station in
Nonthaburi's Muang district to report the incident. They walked for more than an hour.
The police told them there was little hope of finding the driver, but Nonthaburi police commander Pol Maj Gen Thanayut Wuthicharasthamrong had other ideas and
through some great police work tracked down the thieving taxi driver.
Extortionists claim non-existent damages to the tune of a thousand dollars and more
|24th August 2012 |
See CAUGHT ON VIDEO: Thailand jet ski scam exposed from
Based on article from
Thai authorities have arrested the leader of a Thai mafia gang and charged with him with extortion based solely on the evidence of a British television documentary.
Police today were holding a Thai known locally a JJ Naiman after he was
seen on a British television programme succeeding in extorting over £1000 from a British Royal Marine who had rented a jet-ski on the holiday island of Phuket.
The province's governor Wichai Praisa-nob also stepped into the row today and
called a meeting of police, jet-ski operators, Marine Police, and local government officials to discuss what action would be taken. They are also to be shown the film. He said he was considering banning jet skis from the island.
documentary Big Trouble in Tourist Thailand , which went to air on Monday on the Bravo Channel, showed Royal Marines, who arrived in Phuket on HMS Bulwark, after a tour of Helmand Province, Afghanistan, being held at gun point in a local boat yard
run by local mafia.
The row was only resolved after the arrival of Marine Police Sergeant Tim Wright who defused the situation but not before exposing the Thai gangleader as a ‘corrupt crook'. The Marine eventually paid just over
Tim Wright said: These men openly threatened serving military personnel whilst on R&R in Thailand. The important thing is that I got them out of there with no one being hurt, other than pride and in the wallet. I don't remember
swearing but apologise if I did! The other important thing to remember is don't hire jet skis in Thailand.
The jet-ski con is widespread. Tourists are forced to pay for damage which they clearly have not created, but the mafia gangs have had
assistance from corrupt police officers, who, according to one source, claim 20 per cent.
Update: Like Putty in the Scammers' Hands
24th August 2012. See
article from stickmanbangkok.com
The way Pattaya jet ski scammers get away with extortion is that they use water-soluble putty over damage, spray paint, then take a before picture with a customer. Water splashing dissolves the putty, so they have picture proof of
damage. This was told to me by an honest beach vendor who is sick of seeing angry tourists getting ripped off.
Pattaya, February 2010 , Pattaya Daily News
David Marshall, a British national presented himself to Pattaya Police, suffering from a severely swollen face, black eye and broken tooth. He reported to police that he had been bashed by a group of Thai men after hiring a Jetski from a
Pattaya Beach operator close to Soi 13 on Pattaya Beach Road.
It is alleged that once he had returned the jetski's the operators inspected the vehicles, before explaining that Marshall will have to pay for mythical damages done to the bottom of
the Jetski he was riding. Marshall claims, that he calmly tried to explain to the operator that he was not responsible for any damage evident on the Jetski, as he had not been involved in an accident or hit anything in the water. He subsequently refused
to pay the man any money for the damages.
The argument became very heated, ending with the three Thai Jetski operators attacking Mr. Marshall before another two Thai men walking past the incident also joined in on the attack. Mr. Marshall was able
to escape the onslaught, but not before being hit several times in the face causing him numerous injuries.
Pattaya, September 2009 , Pattaya
In a scene reminiscent of the recent TV show broadcast in UK called Big Trouble in Thailand , we were made aware of a potential Jet Ski scam taking place on Pattaya Beach on Monday Afternoon.
Opposite the Royal Garden
Plaza, two Tourists thought to be of Indian Nationality had been detained following an alleged Jet Ski Accident. We were shown the damage sustained to both Jet Ski's and the damage appeared “fresh”. As it the norm in these types of cases a
financial settlement was discussed at the scene to avoid the case being taken any further.
The Jet Ski Operator, Khun Noot, asked for 12,000 Baht to cover the damage of both Jet Ski's. Both Tourists refused to pay and were therefore taken to
Pattaya Police Station to continue the negotiations.
On the way, both men decided to offer the Jet Ski Operator 10,000 Baht which was duly accepted. Payment was handed over and the two men who were accompanied by three other friends went on their
Pattaya, December 2007. From Pattaya Secrets
My mates hired a jetski on Pattaya beach one morning after a night out. Its fair to say they had a few drinks.
The two of them went out on the jetski for half an hour each. Flying around on the thing they hit a wave at an angle, and flipped it.
Thai guys on beach called them in and said they broke it. Even though dam thing was going fine. They started demanding 9000 Baht to fix it. Even though it was going great and ten minutes later someone else jumped on.
Needless to say my
mates refused and went back to the hotel.
Half an hour later, the Thai guys were at the hotel demanding the money along with a Cop.
In fear of getting lifted or worse, they paid the fine and stayed away from Pattaya beach.
Pattaya, December 2007. From Thai Visa
An American and his tilac took to the waves. I said in jest to my
girlfriend, wonder how much this is going to cost the guy she went mad, not good to talk like this she said. Anyway cut to the chase 10,000 was asked for a small scratch that the Yank did not do, I was watching him, he said call the cops
I'm not paying and after an hour, off they went to the friendly arbitrators at soi 9, I told him to settle there on the beach as my buddies had the same happen, as I reported here on this site. It ended up costing them 80,000 at the cop shop. So sad
this is killing the tourist trade.
|21st April |
Indian tourists warned not to take out jet skis so as to avoid the extortion rackets
But the Eden of their dreams has a dark underbelly which reveals itself on the beaches of Phuket and Pattaya, a local mafia-run jet ski scam which has ripped off scores of foreign tourists. The racketeers' modus operandi is simple: they rent out jet
skis, which have some damage in a not-so-discernible place, to vacationers at attractive rates. Then, when the joyride is over, they pounce on the unsuspecting tourists for having caused the damage and extort huge amounts from them, quite often at
|1st April |
Renewing lifetime membership at California WOW gym
Just a word of warning about renewing lifetime membership each year.
Lifetime membership has to be renewed every year with a small renewal fee.
But the snag is that they don't remind you when this is due, and if you miss it then the
supposedly lifetime membership is cancelled. There is then a substantial charge to re-activate the membership.
|26th January |
Australians warned off hiring jet skis in Thailand..
See article from thailandlandofsmiles.com
|5th September |
Skytrain security guards make false accusations about littering
From Thai Visa
A Danish citizen was arrested at the Siam Skytrain Station in Bangkok recently! The guards accused him of throwing a cigarette on the ground.
Only problem: the guy works in a hospital and is a non smoker and said he had nothing to do with the
case. The Dane was brought into a room and he was not allowed to go until he paid 10,000 Baht to the security guards.
Anaesthetist Nils Georgsen from Copenhagen warns against being extorted money from Thai governement employees.
Georgesen it went all wrong while he was waiting for a train at Siam Skytrain station, during a visit to Thailand's capital.
I didn't suspect anything. All was quiet. Then, suddenly a Skytrain security guard came and pointed at a cigarette but
on the platform , Nils Georgsen explains. Smoking is not allowed on the station. But despite the explanations from the Danish tourist that he is a non-smoker and that he he didn't show anything, he was still escorted to a guard room and surrounded by
They wanted money. They demanded 10,000 Baht. This was no joke. They were very threatening. I tried to explain that I am a non-smoker, but they wouldn't budge. They just wanted money explains the Danish anaesthetist.
He tried to call the tourist police but the guards didn't allow him to. Instead he managed to negotiate the amount down to 2000 Baht. I was then allowed to leave. This was the most important .
Bangkok Municipal Officers
23rd November 2009. From Thai Visa
These guys in the uniforms are usually not Police or Tourist
Police. They are Thesakij, or Bangkok's own Municipal Officers. They have an emblem on the shoulders of their uniforms copied from a tin of Heinz soup. These are the guys who are responsible for keeping the sidewalks clear of vendors.
decided to sit on the steps outside the centre, sip my drink and watch the world go by for 10 minutes or so. Having almost finished my drink, I got up and had just started to walk in the direction of the BTS, when a voice from behind me said Excuse me
sir . I turned around to see a man in paramilitary type uniform. Not a uniform that I immediately recognised. He informed me in broken English that he was a policemen, and that he had seen me stub out my cigarette and drop it on the floor. He told me
that I had committed a serious offence and that I would have to pay a fine.
I politely informed him that he must be mistaken. He asked why. I told him that I've never smoked in my life. He said that he had seen me and that he was not blind. He
then produced a cigarette stub from his pocket and told me this was the evidence. He then demanded I hand over 2000 Baht. I tried to reason with him, I even offered to turn out my pockets to prove that I neither had any cigarettes on me or
matches/lighter. He was having none of it. You break the law, you have to pay. You not pay, you go to prison for long time . By now he had taken a pad from his back pocket and began writing on it. He then gave me a piece of paper from the pad and
again demanded that I hand over 2000 baht.
I realised that this was some sort of scam. The guy was clearly after tea money. But as I did not know if he was a real policeman or not, I had no idea how I was going to get out of this situation
without creating a scene, and possibly being arrested if he was a real policeman.
Update: Tourists warned about cigarette police'
5th September 2010. See article from
Foreign tourists have been told to take a hard line with the thetsakij, or Bangkok's city inspectors, who have been accused of unfairly targeting them to issue fines for littering.
Manit Techa-apichoke, deputy director of the City Law Enforcement
Department, said foreigners who feel they have been unfairly targeted by the thetsakij should refuse to pay the fines.
He said they should alert the nearest district office or police officer, so action can be taken against the inspectors.
Manit's statement comes on the heels of an investigation published in last Sunday's Spectrum that revealed foreign tourists, particularly those on Sukhumvit Road, were targeted by thetsakij to pay fines for littering, while Thais committing similar offences were largely ignored.
The report, which garnered more than 150 comments online, revealed that many of those targeted by the thetsakij were not issued receipts.
The Spectrum investigation also found that very few rubbish bins were present in areas where the
thetsakij operate, leading some to suspect that they were removed to increase the likelihood that foreigners would litter.
Foreigners interviewed by Spectrum investigators said that it seemed as if inspectors were standing by ready to swoop
immediately once they littered.
Inspectors demanded they pay the fines on the spot, telling them that if they wanted to take the matter to a nearby district office or police station, they would end up paying much more.
Manit said any city
inspectors found guilty of extortion would be sacked immediately.
Members of the public and tourists can call City Hall's hotline at 1555 to report any attempts at extortion by city inspectors.
|10th August |
Avoid these sneaky charges on holiday!
See article from lovemoney.com
|6th June |
All Thai banks charge 150 Baht for withdrawal using foreign card
30th September 2009
The cartel of all Thai banks got together and levied and extortionate charge on ATM withdrawals using foreign cards.
Each withdrawal is now charged at 150 Baht (£2.90)
8th February 2010
AEON ATMs still have a zero charge and are located at Carrefour on Pattaya Central Road, Tesco Lotus on Pattaya North Road and
HomePro on Sukumvit near Pattaya South Road junction.
Bank of Ayudhya (Krungsri) ATMs have a zero charge just for a subset of cards, namely VISA Debit Cards. Other cards are charged the usual 150 Baht. These machines are common around Pattaya.
Ray points out that asking for a cash advance on a card from a bank teller avoids the Thai ATM charge and is settled at the same exchange rate.
Update: Bank of Ayudhya Start
6th June 2010
It is reported that Bank of Ayudhya (Krungsri) ATMs have now starting the extortionate 150 Baht (£3.20) ATM charge.
AEON ATMs still have a zero charge and are located at Carrefour on Pattaya
Central Road, Tesco Lotus on Pattaya North Road and HomePro on Sukumvit near Pattaya South Road junction.
|5th April |
Beware of Thai tailors and their touts
See article from bangkokpost.com
|30th September |
If you get surrounded or distracted, it may be pickpockets
warning to travellers on Baht Buses of the potential for wallet theft of foreigners sitting up close and personal.
If you feel that you are being surrounded...then extricate yourself immediately.
Take particular care when groups of
ladies/lady boys get on particularly if they move seats or don't sit together.
Another characteristic is ladies with large and empty shopping bags that sit across their laps onto yours. It is probably hiding what their evil hands are up to.
From Pattaya Addicts
Jumped on a baht bus in Jomtien to go into Pattaya. I was the only person on the bus at the
time and was sitting at the very end of the bench at the back.
3 young women got on. One made a move to sit on my lap so I would move over and let her sit on the end, one sat across from me, and the other on my left. Then the girl opposite and the
girl on my left engaged me in a very friendly conversation. The one on my right, where my wallet was, ignored me. So you see the modus operandi here.
I didn't notice that my wallet was gone until sometime later. So if 2 or three girls get on a
baht bus with you and sit all around you, and seem a little more friendly than normal, beware!
From Party Animal
I waved down an empty baht bus to take me to my hotel. I was
switching hotels. It was a taxi driver and a female companion - both in their late 40's. We agreed a fee of 100 baht and I explained where my hotel was. The woman said she was not sure where this was but suggested that I sit in the front with the taxi
driver whilst she minded my bags in the back. It seemed that she was being very helpful especially as she gave me a beautiful smile.
I immediately thought this was a risk but dismissed it because this was a 'licensed' taxi after all, a
respectable looking middle-aged couple and the bags were padlocked. I had also attached the bags together with a small wire. If the woman jumped off the baht bus I would hear her and it was only a short journey of less than 10 minutes.
got to my hotel and the bus was pulling away out of sight I noticed that one of the padlocks was open. The woman had used the wire to pull against the side of one of the flimsier padlocks and force it open. Luckily I did not have any money in that
I did report the matter to the police near Soi 9 however they said that many of the taxis are actually unlicensed even though they have numbers and so cannot be traced. They were not interested in the details of the crime in order
to warn the public or to trace the driver as their main function is to note down what you think you have lost so that you can have a police report for insurance purposes
The ploy works something like this. A person of indeterminate gender, a short plump girl in her twenties, a child aged around 10 and her
mother, aged in her thirties will either board or already be riding a baht bus.
They might sound like the ensemble line-up of a bad movie, but the trick is simple. The mother makes sure she sits as close to the intended victim as possible, as does
the katoey. The child then begins playfully bouncing around the victim's legs and knees while the plump girl engages the person in conversation. Distracted by the chattering girl and leery of the katoey, the victim may not be aware his pocket is being
well and truly picked.
The driver then took off before police could be summoned. The question is whether the driver of the baht bus is also in on the act. The only way to determine this, of course, is for passengers to take careful note of the number
of the baht bus they are on at any time. I do this routinely, in case there are problems later.
From Pattaya Secrets
I jumped on a baht bus which was full at this time of day 4.30 pm. I had to stand at the end
all the way and 4 women jumped on , one pushed into a seat on my right , the other two pushed in opposite and a younger one stood up beside me. This was all normal so far and then the 2 older women started talking about my shopping. The younger girl then
joins in and starts asking me the usual questions , where you come from etc etc.
I am perfectly at ease with all this and we carry along the road and get off as the baht bus turns into second road. The women all jump off as well. I get the feeling
something isnt quite right and I realise my wallet has been snatched from my pocket. I try compose and take stock of the situation and I see the 4 women immediately get on motorbike taxis and shoot off. This happened so quick and was so professional that
I was pretty stunned.
From Pattaya Secrets
On the relatively full bus by myself they got on at Thappraya Road. Again, they are 2 older women, one with a baby, a younger woman and a teenage boy. I twigged and they are off in about
100m after they realise there is nothing to steal.
From Pattaya Talk
I was alone on a Baht Bus on Beach road about 8 O'clock in the evening..
3 girls got on the bus ...1 pretty girl sat opposite me, the other 2 sat either side of me....should have copped it then...but didn't.
While the pretty girl opposite engaged me in some small talk, the one on my left chipping in on the
conversation....the one on my right did the business...
The bus stopped a few times to let people on...and the bum shuffle going on, I was relieved of 4000 baht in the zipped pocket of my cargo shorts.
From Pattaya Secrets
Gang of 4 Thais. 1 MAN + 3 WOMEN
They travel from 'Tops' north towards Dolphin roundabout, and continue through to Beach Road/Central road.....then start again.
I wait, outside Tops for EMPTY taxi, step on; then a Thai male hops on with big smile/shake hands/how are
you/where you from....all bollocks.
50 metres down the second road, 3 Thai bitches flag down the taxi and hop on; one bitch stands on the back fender, the two others fumble around SWAPPING SEATS......then the 3rd bitch, pretends to find a seat,
falls across me......fumble fumble.......you can guess the rest.
|20th August |
Beware of fake memory sticks
A neighbour has family who run one of the small phone/hardware stalls at Tuk Com. So I often give them a try when shopping there.
A couple of weeks ago I bought a couple of memory sticks from them and they kindly offered a bit of extra value by
putting some goodies on.
Well all was well until I tried to fill up the memory. Closer inspection and a bit of guess work revealed that the supposedly 8GB actually only had 2GB of memory. The parameters of the stick had been fiddled to convince
FileManager that there was 8GB but writing to the last 6GB just went down a black hole.
It took several visits and lost of lost face before the stall holders admitted it was a copy and I got a real replacement. I think the stallholders knew it was
a copy but genuinely thought it was still 8GB.
The trick is the giveaway data they give you, it means that you don't get to inspect the packet which is then rapidly consigned to the waste bin.
|22nd July |
Warning to avoid duty free shops at Bangkok Airport
There are several reported incidents of this scam and it seems that the duty free shop employees slip some small item in the bag as you are paying -
something that could be interpreted as a complimentary gift. Then you get stopped, the bag inspected, the receipt inspected - and you appear to have stolen some small item.
28th June 2009. From timesonline.co.uk
A British couple who were falsely accused of shoplifting in Bangkok airport and were forced to pay £8,000 in bribes to secure their release are to take legal action for compensation.
They were the victims of an extortion racket that has
ensnared other foreign travellers at the airport, which handles most of the 800,000 British visitors to Thailand every year.
Stephen Ingram and Xi Lin both technology professionals from Cambridge, were detained by security guards as they went to
board Qantas flight QF1 to London on the night of Saturday, April 25.
They were accused of taking a Givenchy wallet worth £121 from a King Power duty-free shop and were handed over to the police. An official release order from the local
Thai prosecutor's office subsequently conceded there was no evidence against them.
They were freed five days later after a frightening ordeal in which they said they were threatened and held against their will at a cheap motel on the airport
perimeter until they had handed over the money.
The bribes were paid to an intermediary named Sunil “Tony” Rathnayaka, a Sri Lankan national in his fifties who works as a “volunteer” interpreter for Thailand's tourist police. Last week Rathnayaka
admitted in a telephone interview that he had received cash and money transfers amounting to more than £7,000 from the Britons. He said the money was for police bail and for a payment to a figure he called “Little Big Man” who could withdraw the
case against them.
In Thailand everyone knows it's like that. They can go to jail or they can just pay a fine and go home. It is corruption, you know? Rathnayaka also agreed that the “bail” — about £4,000 — was never returned to
Ingram and Xi. Thai law says bail should be refunded.
In a detailed statement the couple said they were first detained at an airport office of the tourist police and later taken to cells at a police station in an isolated modern building on the
fringes of the airport.
During that time, Rathnayaka warned them not to tell anyone about their plight, especially the British embassy, lawyers, friends, family or the press.
However, on April 27 they sneaked out of the hotel and found
their way to the embassy, where they met Kate Dufall, the pro-consul. According to the couple, she told them the embassy could not interfere with the Thai legal system and put them in contact with Prachaya Vijitpokin, a lawyer. Vijitpokin and a
colleague, Kittamert Engchountada, of the Lawyers Association of Thailand, urged them to stay in the country to fight the case and have since assembled a dossier for potential prosecutions.
However, Ingram said the couple were so terrified by
this stage that they decided to meet the demands for money, which they raised by bank transfers from Britain direct to Rathnayaka's account. The Sunday Times has copies of the transactions.
Ingram and Xi were put on a British Airways flight to
London early on Friday, May 1, having received their passports with official documents from prosecutors and police stating that no charges were to be brought against them.
They have said they are willing to return to Thailand and testify to try
to stop the extortion if the government will guarantee their safety. That could become a priority for Thailand, which has suffered a series of blows to its tourist industry through economic and political upheaval.
Inquiries last week established
that Rathnayaka and his accomplices have continued preying on tourists who end up in police custody after being accused of theft from the airport duty-free shop.
Officials at the Danish embassy confirmed that a Danish woman fell into Rathnayaka's
hands about two weeks ago and was allowed to leave Thailand only after handing over more than £4,500.
The Foreign Office said consular officials had offered to raise the case with the Thai authorities at the time but had been asked by the
couple not to intervene.
Update: CCTV Footage
King Power have released CCTV footage raising the possibility that the couple had stolen the wallet.
more explaining required yet
Update: On Going Scam Can't be Written off by King Power CCTV release
21st July 2009. Based on
article from news.bbc.co.uk
Now new allegations have been made that a number
of passengers are being detained every month in the duty free area on suspicion of shoplifting, and then held by the police until they pay large sums of money to buy their freedom.
That is what happened to Stephen Ingram and Xi Lin, two IT
experts from Cambridge, as they were about to board their flight to London on the night of 25 April this year.
The company that owns the duty free shop, King Power, has since put the CCTV video on its website, which does appear to show her
putting something in her bag. However the security guards found no wallet on either of them.
Despite that, they were both taken from the departure gate, back through immigration, and held in an airport police office. That is when their ordeal
started to become frightening.
The BBC has now spoken to Tony and the regional police commander, Colonel Teeradej Phanuphan. They both say Tony was merely helping the couple with translation, and raising bail to keep them out of prison.
Colonel Teeradej says he will investigate any possible irregularities in their treatment. But he said any arrangement between the couple and Tony was a private affair, which did not involve the police.
Letters of complaint to the papers here in Thailand make it clear that passengers are regularly detained at the airport for alleged shoplifting, and then made to pay middlemen to win their freedom.
The Danish Embassy says one of its
nationals was recently subjected to a very similar scam, and earlier this month an Irish scientist managed to flee Thailand with her husband and one year-old son after being arrested at the airport and accused of stealing an eyeliner worth around
Tony told the BBC that so far this year he has "helped" about 150 foreigners in trouble with the police. He says sometimes he does it for no charge.
The British Embassy has also warned passengers at Bangkok Airport to
take care not to move items around in the duty free shopping area before paying for them, as this could result in arrest and imprisonment.
Update: Transport Minister admits that
there is an airport scam problem
22nd July 2009. From bangkokpost.com
Transport Minister Sohpon Zarun has ordered Airports of Thailand Plc (AoT) to step up
measures at Suvarnabhumi and other airports to prevent extortion scams.
Sohpon gave the order during his inspection trip to Suvarnabhumi airport after a British couple clamed they were the victims of an extortion scam after being accused of
shoplifting from a duty free shop. The couple's claim was reported by the BBC.
The transport minister was also said to have been criticised by Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva for failing to keep the airport to international standards.
Sohpon said he had ordered the AoT to arrange its officials to take care of foreign tourists in case they are engaged in a legal dispute and required to be handed over to police investigators. During this process, the tourists must be escorted by airport officials and embassies of their countries must be informed. This is to prevent members of the scam gangs intervening and offering help.
He said all embassies will be informed that if their citizens encounter this problem they should file a complaint with the Transport Ministry immediately.
The minister said the British couple's claim will also be investigated and legal
action will be taken against those found to have been involved in the scam.
|8th July |
Take care when approached by street urchins and flower sellers
Bangkok Eyes: Caught in the Act
A group of child thieves are operating around the Walking street and Soi Marine Plaza, some as young as 5 or 6.
- A kid comes up to me with roses in hand, I say no thanks, he comes in closer to hug me, one hand goes around my waist, the other hand is holding roses with 1 finger and thumb, the other fingers are in the top of my pocket trying to lift out any notes
I may have around the top of the jeans front pocket.
- 6am in the morning, a gang of no less than 5 kids jump me with hugs, its a frenzy, I'm grabbing a lads hands which are heading straight for my front pockets, another is undoing the
buttons on my back jeans pockets and I'm virtually running away checking that they haven't managed to get anything.
- Walking along Walking street , a small girl comes along to give me a hug, I dissuade her from hugging me, she lets me
walk past her, then grabs my wrist with both hands, as if to pull me back, at the same time, she's undoing the clasp of my watch and nearly gets it too.
So beware, they will hug you, surround you, pull you, all seemingly in the name of fun, but beware because they are trying to rob you and they have a minder too who is always close by should they get a problem.
|31st March |
Never heard of meter being used yet
Thailand's metered taxi rates are very cheap. But unfortunately in Pattaya the taxis simply won't accept standard rates and will never turn on the meter.
In fact the metered taxis have negotiated rates that are more expensive than the negotiated
rates on Baht buses. Easily the most expensive way to get around Pattaya.
|1st December |
Delivered at break neck speed to bandits and thieves
At 3am I flagged down a moving bahtbus at Soi Diamond/2nd road... I jumped on it without giving it a second thought, I was the only one on board...
At first everything was cool, he was driving along 2nd road towards Pattaya Klang... at Kiss
restaurant I rang the bell and wanted it to stop... it was the usual loud bahtbus bell...but he didn't stop... at first I thought that he's looking for a better place to stop but there was no sign of him slowing down... at Soi Honey Inn I rang the bell
again.... he wouldn't stop, he even started speeding... that's when I knew something was wrong... I rang the bell again before Pattaya Klang... to no effect... I saw the red lights at Pattaya Klang road and was relieved... I thought I just jump out when
he has to stop... but he didn't stop, he turned right into Central Patts road and speeded on... I was really scared at this time.... when he had to slow down a bit to make a turn into another side-road I just jumped out... the landing was hard and I was
lucky that I didn't got hit by the traffic... and he just drove on... a nice and worried motosai dude drove me home then... at first I thoght that I got away lucky with a few scratches on my left hand and knee but when I returned back to Germany a week
later and the pain was still there I had an MRI done... result: Broken scaphoid! Thats not good news.
I don't know where he wanted to drive me to... I guess a dark side alley with a few Thai blokes and machetes, most Thai guys that I talked with
afterwards said that I was lucky to still be alive and did the right thing in jumping out....
|18th August |
Check the prices in a convenience store
There's a scam perpetrated by the staff at a branch of a large chain of convenience stores. It tends to happen after midnight in tourist areas when the customers are predominantly liquored up Westerners.
The scam sees the staff pretend that
the bar code reader is not working on the cash register, so the clerk writes down what you buy, then rings up the total on a small adding machine.
But the prices are inflated and most items are overcharged. What the staff then do is go and ring it
up on the cash register a little later at the real price and the difference between what was charged and what was rung up is their profit. Clever.
So if the barcode reader isn't working at the convenience store, it's a good idea to check and see
that you are being charged the right price.