Stickman Readers' Submissions March 17th, 2006

Beware Of Fake Bills In Thailand

By K in Tokyo

I am a frequent traveler to Thailand. I won’t bother you with bar girl stories and the like.

He Clinic Bangkok

What I am going to relate concerns fake bills prevailing in Thailand you might come upon when changing money or getting change. I experienced four incidents but luckily I did not suffer any consequences (except for fright and some loss of

Incident 1 – I had spent the night with a freelancer (no details) and paid her service fees in the morning, that is 1,000 baht (two 500-baht notes). She told me that one of the two bills was a fake one. I checked, and I noticed that
the color was close to brown and the paper of the bill seemed to be of poor quality. It looked like a monopoly game note. Well, what could I do? So I gave her another 500-baht bill, and I was about to tear that fake note, but she said “chai dai
(“can use it”) and she asked for the fake one. I told her that this was antarai (dangerous) and that she was asking for trouble. But she insisted and she said that she would use them to buy candies. What a mentality? Anyway
I gave it to her (but I regretted to have done this as I thought she could use it against me). But I had never told her my new name and gave her false information about me. I am very careful with that breed of gal. By the way, a few days later
I received a call from a Thai guy on my cell phone (no number displayed) who wanted to know who I am and where I was staying. Strange coincidence, isn’t it? I gladly replied that I was from Tonga and visiting the South of Thailand close
to the Malaysian border with my grandmother (I am fluent in Thai). The guy never called again. But frankly speaking and between you and me, I was a bit scared.

Regarding the origin of that fake bill, I remembered that I had gotten change when I purchased a few souvenirs in a duty free shop in Don Meuang during the previous trip and this bill was part of the change I had received on a 1,000 baht
note. So I may have been cheated at the airport. So folks, be careful when you get change even in duty free shops at airports. I heard that this happens more often than not in certain airports of less developed countries.

CBD bangkok

Incident 2 – During my last trip, I changed money at an exchange booth in the airport (Don Meuang) and I did not check thoroughly the notes. Stupid of me, I acknowledge. Then when paying the bill at a restaurant with a 500 baht note,
I noticed that the rim on one side of the note had been torn and poorly repaired with sero-tape and the serial numbers were no longer visible. I was told by the cashier politely but firmly with a big smile anyway (aren’t the Thais good
at that!) that this note could not be used. So once again I suffered a loss. But this time I was lucky enough and I brought the note to an exchange booth on Sukhumvit near Foodland and I explained to the clerk that I had received the note at Don
Meuang, bla-bla-bla and he gave me a new one. Good guy! Yes, that may happen in LOS (Land of Smiles? Well, yes, but I’d rather say Land of Scams).

Incident 3 – I remember a couple of years ago, I had changed money at Don Meuang (once again!) and received several 500 baht and 1000 baht notes. But I was stupid not to check thoroughly on the spot. Back to the hotel, I checked again
and saw that there was a 100 baht note instead of a 500-baht note neatly placed under the stack of 500-baht notes. Very clever money changer.

Incident 4 (and I hope this will be the last one, but I may be too optimistic) – On the last day of my last trip to Bangkok, I noticed that I had a 20-baht note with the face of the King totally obliterated with blue ink. I can assure
you that this note came from the change I received from the restaurant in Foodland, Sukhumvit Soi 5. But I used it for the tollway fare when going back to the airport.

So what is the point of my submission? Henceforth I should be much more careful when changing money (notably at the airport) and getting change. And I would strongly recommend you to be careful too, otherwise you might find yourself in hot

wonderland clinic

So my question is: what would have happened to me if someone had accused me wrongly of using fake notes? In such a case, what is to be done? Go to the Tourist Police? Or bribe the police? (by the way, would they accept fake notes?

Thank you for bearing with me and good luck to all of you.

Stickman's thoughts:

A very interesting submission, and a reminder to be careful when exchanging money, or even collecting change. The police in Thailand are inconsistent, so one can not be sure what would happen if you used a fake banknote. It is most likely that you would simply need to pay with a real banknote – and that would be the end of the story. If you did something to really annoy the police, they might charge you with using fake money, but that is VERY unlikely.

nana plaza