Years ago – when I was living and working full-time in Thailand (2002 – 2004), there was a well-known scam that I came across regularly on the Sukhumvit. The scam involved a westerner (usually English, in my case) approaching me and giving me a sob story about how he’d just been drugged and robbed by a ruthless Thai girl that he had met earlier on in the day. Apparently he had just woke up (thus the reason for looking ‘mad-wae-it’) and all his money and valuables were gone. Could I please give him 300 Baht, he would implore: for an ‘International Phonecard’ in order that he may phone home and get his situation resolved?’
I’m a big softie at heart and like helping people out if I can, so I was sympathetic to the guy and slipped him the only 100 Baht note that I had. I knew Thailand was a notorious destination for being drugged and robbed and there were lots of warnings from embassies in Bangkok warning people to be on their guard when travelling on buses and trains and such. I had a feeling, however, that this guy was at it, as he was pie-eyed and manky, and looked like a ‘down and out’ who had probably over-stayed his visa. Anyway, as I said, I gave him some money and we went our separate ways.
Two days later I was walking along the same stretch of the Sukhumvit when the same guy approaches me with the same bullshit sob story…
I remember that same year I’d been in Nepal visiting my sister who was stationed in Katmandu with DFID (Department for International Development). I was nervous about flying and ended up ‘steamboats’ (drunk) on the flight back to Thailand. I had a few hundred US Dollars on me and I lost it at the airport. With not a sausage I had to approach people with a sob story about losing my money. ‘I had to get to Pattaya and I needed bus fare – a couple of hundred Baht.’ Everybody I approached ignored me or waved me away as if I was a vagrant. I remember thinking: ya f#ckin’ ‘dirty rotten wrang yins’.
Eventually, a cool dude from Hong Kong stopped to listen to my plight. He knew I wasn’t bullshitting and paid for my bus journey from the airport to Ekamai Bus Station, and then gave me enough money for the bus fare to Pattaya.
The moral of the story… ‘don’t judge too quickly – sometimes it’s bullshit; sometimes it’s not.’
Note: a good tip before traveling to any destination is to do some research (eg. Google – ‘thailand scams’) on ‘what scams are perpetrated against tourists in your chosen destination.
See my blogpost on Thailand Scams
for Bangkok hotels see Here
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Copyright © 2016 Raymond Carroll