Pattaya’s reputation for hosting a transvestite community which survives by stealing from naive tourists is at last being called into question. Travel insurers say that the decline of the pandemic is leading to more international flights which are in turn leading to mounting claims from tourists who say they have suffered financial loss. But not all the tales of woe are genuine. Or so it appears.
The Association of British Insurers says that fraudulent claims account for 10 percent of all applications. Recently, attention has focused on Pattaya where eleven separate cases of tourists claiming to have been street-robbed have surfaced. The story is usually the same: the tourist is wandering at night when one or more ladyboys emerge from the darkness and fondle him whilst urging that horizontal leisure pursuits in a nearby motel are a distinct possibility. The real purpose, of course, is to steal jewelry which is conveniently on neck or wrist display.
But a fraudulent claim for US$3,000 (100,000 baht) has been uncovered by Reliance Insurance after an Indian national maintained he had lost a valuable necklace. He did upload to the company a copy of a brief Jomtien police report with his claim that one ladyboy hugged him whilst the other unhooked the glitter prize. Both then ran off. But the tourist scam was uncovered after the alert insurance assessor noticed that the police report was dated two days before the alleged crime. After further investigation the false-story guy had his details referred to the International Association of Special Investigation Units with a view to banning him from all registered insurers in future.
Another case is under examination after a fake medical certificate was submitted to justify a claim that a British man had been jabbed with a ladyboy’s shoe and needed an operation on his face. The certificate had indeed been issued by the hospital but only for a routine blood test. The Brit had added his own remarks in an open space claiming that an emergency surgical procedure had been performed. Mark Davies, a fraud and financial crime officer, said, “Medical certificates are subject to detailed review as they are a common fraud to try and recoup the costs of a holiday abroad.”
The City of London Police’s Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department said, “Most travel insurance claims are genuine but fraudsters are driving up the costs for everyone.” Their colorful rogues-gallery of cases includes a Liverpool gardener who claimed to have undergone recent surgery for a broken leg, but had been photographed by a private investigator doing press-ups on the front lawn.