Look, but don’t touch – these Thailand ‘pretty girls’ could be on a scammer)
Once known as the Land of Smiles, pitiable Thailand is now turning into the world’s most infamous Land of Scams – and this year in particular we have been inundated again and again and again with lurid stories of sad foreigners been stung for wads of cash.
((Let me start with a disclaimer before writing this blog and that is – yes, there are plenty of real scams going on in Thailand (and as an administrator over at www.bangkokscams.com I know it) but there are also a lot of daft scam claims going around))
A telling tendency has come to light; someone reports an awful new scam, then other folk suddenly jump on the wagon and tell ‘their’ sordid related scam story – which often isn’t a scam at all. Bring on the story of the airport taxi scam and shiver-me-timbers someone’s posting on the Internet forums how they were completely scammed by some scruffy hotel security guard who called them a taxi to the airport at 5 in the morning costing a whopping 400 Baht! Wow… serious scam – better call in the tourist police and have the scammer arrested – as we all know a taxi from downtown to Suvarnaphumi is only about 350 Baht!
The we have the off-shoots of the King Power Duty Free scam – instead of happening at the airport however, similar scammers are now operating all over the capital. Pop into a major department store and keep yer beady eye out on that shop assistant, otherwise she’ll be planting eye-liner in your back pocket before threatening you with a year in prison if you don’t cough up a 50,000baht fine. What the heck!
Yes, what is obviously happening is that a lot of folk are not telling the truth in relation to the so-called ‘scam’. “Get a 1,000 baht fine for tossing yer cigarette butt on the ground outside Siam Paragon” report, and suddenly posters on the Net claim that a friend of a friend was scammed 10,000 baht by bogus police in front of Siam Square for the same thing. Or one related story that went international lately – originally the foreigner was fined around 1,500 Baht for ditching his ciggie butt on the ground in Bangkok, but by the time it had reached 15 newspapers and 100 Internet forums, the cost of the fine had gone up to 15,000 Euros.
(The story of a cigarette butt dropping fine, once spread on the Internet and some Western media, soon changes into a major Thailand scam)
My favourite ‘scam’ story recently as posted on a very well-known travel forum almost had me in stitches and sorry darling (the poster that is) either you or your husband is trying to pull someone’s leg – sorry, I’m not believing it in a million years. Went something like:
“Thai police ruined my holiday!! I was on holiday in Patong in Phuket with my husband. It was late in the evening and my husband said he fancied a walk alone outside. My husband came home at 6:30 in the morning with two policemen who demanded 20,000baht in bribes or my husband would be imprisoned indefinitely. My husband said he was walking along the road and a couple of big-boobed ladboys whispered in his ear asking if he wanted a good ol’ raunchy sandwich session. Then at that instant the police came and arrested my husband and decided to ‘fine’ him for 20,000 Baht, or and, years in prison for absolutely no reason! According to the husband, while at the station all night, the cops refused to tell him the charge against him!”
So, what I’ve decided to do today is bring together a few of the best possible scam scenarios in Thailand, totally unbelievable – but should you like one of them post it on a popular Internet travel forum and you’ll be laughing at some of the replies, especially when folk suddenly claim exactly the same thing happened to a friend of a friend! Ha….
1) Slap the Bum Scam
This horrific new scam is reportedly targeting more than 100 male foreign tourists every month at a popular seafood restaurant in Pratunam. It goes like this:
The victim takes a seat in the restaurant and is greeted by a really hot looking waitress dressed up in a bunny outfit, mini-skirt, stockings, suspenders and high heels. For the next half hour or so Miss Bunny constantly walks past his table winking her eye, licking her lips giving him a right ‘come on’. Just when the victim is starting to feel a bit randy, the waitress intentionally drops her pen on the floor near the table and bends over to pick it up – Benny Hill style, the victim can not resist and slaps her bum. Immediately the waitress bursts into tears and 3 undercover cops appear – taken to the station on charges of molesting a young virgin, the victim is required to pay her 100,000 Baht in damages.
(Watch out….. even good-ol’ Ronny could be on a scammer!)
2) The Mc’Donalds Big Burger-lifting Scam
According to this drunk Irish backpacker along Khao Sarn Road last week, this latest scam has already hit, besides him, at least four more backpackers. It goes like this:
The victim, in need of a burger and fries after having been out on the pish along Khao Sarn all night, pops into Mc’Donalds and orders a Big Mac set for takeaway. After getting his take-away, he leaves the restaurant with his order in the bag. Once outside, he is approached by two police who ask to search him. While going through his Mc Donalds take-away, they find that the victim has an extra cheeseburger which is not mentioned on the receipt. On immediate investigation, it is uncovered that the backpacker had intentionally walked out of the restaurant without paying for the cheeseburger. In lieu of shoplifting a burger charge worthy of 18 months behind bars, the victim is allowed to pay a ‘fine’ of 2,000 US dollars.
3) Insulting the Country Scam
This dodgy scam which has just recently arrived in the bars of South Pattaya has already stung dozens of innocent foreign alcoholics. It goes like this:
The pitiable drinker (usually an Englishman) in need of a beer for breakfast, strolls down South Pattaya at 9:30 in the morning looking for the nearest bar-stool and finds one almost immediately. Next, he pulls his barstool up to the bar (an open-air outside one) and goes on to drink 17 small bottles of Singh for starters and tell his new lady bargirl friend about all the scams he had been reading on his favourite website, thaivisa/forums. At midday, the national anthem starts to play on the street’s loud tanoy system – the waitresses who are already standing up ask the drunkard to stand up out of respect – of course he can’t be asked, and besides he’s already too pished. The police are readily summoned and the victim is immediately arrested for insulting the Thai people’s motherland. In lieu of 10 years in prison, the victim is allowed instead to donate 50,000 Baht to the police station’s whiskey fund.
4) No Bra or Underpants Scam
This scam has seen a sudden escalation in the number of victims in Thailand’s hippy hangouts. It goes like this:
i) the victim, a young hippy female backpacker (usually from Scandinavia), decides not to wear a bra under her t-shirt when she goes shopping at Jatujak Weekend Market with her boyfriend (usually a Frenchman) who himself doesn’t bother wearing any underpants underneath his fisherman pants. After being caught in a rain-storm, and arriving at Jatujak, the couple are immediately apprehended by two policemen who explain that such exposure of private parts in public is a inexplicable threat to national security. After the police closely examine the evidence, hers not his, they decide that instead of arresting them, a fine of 5,000 Baht each is sufficient enough to drop all charges.