Foreign diplomats urge Thai government to tackle tourist scams


BANGKOK, 11 July 2012  – Foreign diplomats met with Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Tourism and Sports to urge Thai authorities to clamp down on extortion and scams against foreign tourists in the kingdom.

Permanent Secretary to the Ministry, Suwat Sidthilaw, said today that honorary consuls from 10 countries have called for a crackdown on scams and organised criminal rip-offs in Thailand. Concerted efforts have been made by diplomats from Australia, Germany, the Netherlands, Austria, Poland, Switzerland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Britain

Mr Suwat responded to the calls by saying that Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has instructed Deputy Prime Minister, Chalerm Yubamrung, who is in charge of security affairs, to devise measures to tackle the issue in a swift manner.

The Ministry has also been requested to provide these embassies with updates on the government’s increasing efforts to fight crimes against tourists.

Mr Suwat elaborated that the ministry is urging local tourism operators to refrain from scam practices as Thailand’s reputation as an attractive tourist destination can be severely jeopardized.

Earlier, European and Australian diplomats have held meetings with Tourism and Sports Minister Chumpol Silpa-archa to ask the Thai government to step up safety measures on the resort island of Phuket. The most commonly used scams involve local operators demanding extensive cash payments from tourists for allegedly damaging jet skis or tricking visitors to pay through the nose for poor quality gemstones.