Shame and scandal in Pattaya

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Editor;

I was very saddened to learn in the local press about two tourists from Macau who rented two jet skis and ended up with a demand for – wait for it – 100,000 baht for damages to the jet skis.  Now we all know what a scam that is don’t we? But what happened, the tourist went to the police station, where – wait for it again – the tourists agreed to pay 7,000 baht – I am no mathematical genius but come on, a demand for 100,000 baht is settled by the tourist paying 7,000 baht! Something smells a teensy weensy bit fishy to me. They were followed back to their hotel by the jet ski operators who attacked and injured the two tourists. I am happy to say they have been arrested, sorry, ‘held’.

‘The case is common assault but in terms of tourism it is a big issue,’ said Provincial Police Division 2 commander Pol. Lt. Gen. Panay Mamen. You sure got that right Pol. Lt. Panya – why, oh why, don’t you do something about it?

I have a friend who lives long time in a hotel on Pattaya Beach Road. He has been observing for a long time how the jet ski scammers operate, moving from one rental location to another on a daily basis so any tourists sitting in the same spot every day are only aware of the odd scam going on, and not that it occurs on a daily basis up and down Pattaya Beach. He has also noted that when the police are called to mediate in the inevitable scam it is always the same policemen, one apparently with a handlebar moustache so he is pretty easy to identify!

My friend and I believe that the jet ski operators take photographs of the jet skis with the renters before they go out; the pictures are then digitally altered at photo-shops in on the scam who erase any signs of damage and hey presto when the unfortunate tourist return they are faced with a before and after situation.

City Hall knows very well the scams go on, the police are aware the scams go on, the Tourist Authority of Thailand know the scams go on, what do they do about it?  Sweet Fanny Adams – why is that, one has to wonder.

The Tourist Authority of Thailand have their heads buried in the sand.  Do they not realize that visitors to Thailand are far fewer than those visiting Malaysia and Singapore? Do they realize that Myanmar has hundreds of pristine islands in the Adman Sea waiting to be developed now that Myanmar is opening up? As one Bangkok Post Postbag letter ended, “TAT’s duty is not only to lure visitors to Thailand but also to make visitors welcome as guests rather than victims for some Thais.”

I love living in Thailand, Pattaya in particular, and am saddened to see so many corrupt goings on unhindered by any authority who could put an end to such malpractices if there was any will to do so. But there ain’t no financial gain to do so, is there…

RW