Stickman Readers' Submissions March 4th, 2008

A Few Scams

I’d just like to share 4 short accounts of scams that happened or nearly happened to me while in Thailand. I hope this will stop them happening to others :

(1) I was walking down soi 10 Pattaya to my hotel when I could hear footsteps behind me going at the same rate as me. Now this immediately got my attention because being 6’5" I walk faster than almost anyone. I stopped and pretended to look at a menu outside a restaurant when an American stopped and asked where I was from. I said I was from England and he, trying to establish something in common, said he was from New England, Boston. He then started giving me a tale of woe about how a girl had taken his wallet including his credit cards and plane ticket. He continued to tell me that he had rung his bank and airline etc. but the order of his story just wasn’t making sense. I put my hand up to stop him and said "If you are going to ask me for money, the answer is going to be no". I was just going to continue that I would buy him a meal or some internet time but he just walked away.

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I have heard of people begging for money before and I know that although your embassy won’t pay for an air ticket they will help you to contact relatives or transfer funds for your ticket home. Those who get a one way ticket with no funds for a return ticket only have themselves to blame.

(2) I was in a bar in Nana Plaza on the top floor. I can’t remember the name. I had an orange juice which was 80 baht and when I went to leave I put a 100 baht note in the tumbler. As I went out the door I was stopped by the mamasan who showed me that I had only put a 20 baht note in the tumbler. Now I wasn’t that drunk and it wasn’t that dark but I gave them the benefit of the doubt but never went back there again.

(3) I walked round the corner from Soi 10 on to Beach Road in Pattaya and was accosted by one of those timeshare touts. She was very good looking and since myself and other pedestrians were held up by a pick up truck unloading at a shop I carried on talking to her saying that I would answer her questions but would not give any personal details. She said ok and after a bit of flirting said she would write down her name and mobile number on the receipt so I could call her if I wanted. She did this and then asked my name. Caught off guard I gave it to her. I answered the questionnaire and then she asked for the name of my hotel.

CBD bangkok

Knowing that I had already given her too much information (my name) I said I was staying down there, pointing down Soi 10. I had only just checked in and unknown to me my hotel was the only one down this road so she now had the name of my hotel. She then asked my room number and, just to get rid of her, I said 105. I was staying on the seventh floor. She thanked me and gave me the receipt with her number on it. I was all set to call her because she was very attractive but in Pattaya you are so easily waylaid. I was and soon forgot her.

The next day I was walking through reception and was called over by the receptionist who said I had a phone call. On the other end was an Englishman who said that my details from the questionnaire had been entered into a competition. I knew what was coming next and said "I’ve won, haven’t I?" He was surprised and said yes. Although I had been caught off guard by a pretty girl and given away my name and hotel name I knew about the fake competitions that you always win especially the fake scratch cards that always win. I then said "Please give my prize to charity". He was then very persistent and said that I shouldn’t miss out on a bottle of Champagne, a meal and flight vouchers. I kept saying no and he kept asking why so I said flippantly : "I have pots of money and had everything I need".

After more persistence I added, "You know the expression we have up north – You don’t get ought for nought" (You don’t get anything for nothing). I think he got the message with this remark, thanked me and hung up.

Three days later I was stopped again and asked to complete another questionnaire. I explained that if I gave out my personal details someone would call me saying I had won a competition and ask me to attend a timeshare presentation. She said no and repeated that she would get 20 baht but right behind her was a colleague who was laughing at what I said. She knew I knew what it was all about and said so to her friend who then left me alone.

(4) This one is a strange one and I’m still not sure what it was about except that I saved two Germans from getting a good slap. It was early evening and we were in a bar just down from Nana Plaza close to the Grace Hotel. This time I was with my brother and his friend. My brother is 6’8" and about 19 stone (no exaggeration). I’m 6’ 5" and we would always get a lot of attention when out together in Hong Kong and the Philippines but that’s another story.

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There was one girl in this bar who was flirting with us, sitting on our laps, laughing at our jokes which she could not understand etc. In between flirting with us she would dance around the bar. My brother’s friend said take a look at her eyes next time she is here. They were dilated and blood shot and we came to the conclusion that she was well out of it. Each of our drinks were under a 100 baht and my brother put 300 baht in the tumbler. She collected it and we walked out. Suddenly there was a lot of shouting and gesturing at us. We went back and explained that the bill was 240 baht and we had paid 300 baht. The girl and the mamasan continued shouting in Thai so we just carried on walking.

The next thing two middle-aged, pot-bellied, 11 stone Germans squared up to us and one kicked off his sandals and started doing some moves that I saw in the Karate Kid film. Mr Myage would have been proud! I just laughed and carried on walking but my brother, who doesn’t tolerate any nonsense, walked towards them. I knew that he was going to slap both of them at the same time and knock them into the gutter. I quickly got between my brother and the two Germans and reminded him of the consequences of such action. I had told him on the plane that any acts of aggression would result in all involved getting beaten and fined by the boys in brown. This seemed to do the trick and he turned round and we all walked away for a good night at the Nana Plaza. Every time we had a small disagreement during the rest of our holiday one of us would kick of their shoes and start doing some Karate Kid moves.

All the best to you all. Thanks Stickman for a wealth of information on Thailand

John McCoy

Stickman's thoughts:

Some really good information here. With so many scams around, it's great to get a heads up and know what to be aware of.

nana plaza