Author Topic: Jet-Ski Gang Scams Aussie Tourists of 50,000 Baht in Latest Outrage  (Read 520 times)

Offline thaiga

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Phuket Jet-Ski Gang Scams Aussie Tourists of 50,000 Baht in Latest Outrage

PHUKET: Jet-ski operators on Phuket are still ripping off tourists with scams that should have been stopped long ago, an Australian tourist who was a victim has revealed.

Darren Hatcher, 48, and his son Michael, 16, told Phuketwan this week how a family group were fleeced of 50,000 baht by a gang of jet-ski operators - and that they believe others are still being scammed.

Revelation of what happened in the rip-offs comes with the future of jet-skis on Phuket being discussed and an important public meeting scheduled for Patong on Tuesday.

''Five of us hired jet-skis to ride around Patong Bay,'' Mr Hatcher said before flying home to Gosford, where he works in a hardware store. ''The thing is, they pointed out the pre-existing damage to the jet-skis on the beach.

''Then when we returned, they claimed we had caused that damage.''

Mr Hatcher said that the 40-minute argument on Patong beach became quite heated. A large tattooed man appeared on the scene, threateningly.

''A policeman who arrived soon after immediately sided with the jet-ski guys and said we would be arrested if we did not pay,'' Mr Hatcher said.

''The policeman said, 'If you don't pay, you will be locked up for two days.'

''We took the skis out knowing the damage was there, and none of the jet-skis went anywhere near each other.''

In the end, Mr Hatcher said, he had no choice except to go to an ATM, leaving son Michael as collateral, and withdraw 10,000 baht to pay to the operators.

''They told me it was for 'loss of income' for the possibility of the jet-ski being out of the water while it was repaired,'' he said.

A 21-year-old woman on another jet-ski in the same family group was made to hand over 40,000 baht.

''I went back the next day and saw the same two jet-skis back in the water,'' he said. ''I believe it is a regular scam, and that other tourists have been extorted in the same way.''

Region 8 police volunteer Wal Brown told Phuketwan that it was the fourth scam he'd learned about in the space of 15 days, but there were probably many more.

The pre-existing damage scam is an old ruse. Tourists should go to the Kathu Police Station if arguments develop so the issue can be mediated.

The police officer who arrived at the scene should have suggested the discussion move to the police station immediately. For him not to do that raises suspicions of collusion with the jet-ski operators.

Mr Hatcher said that after the incident, the jet-ski operators behaved aggressively whenever the family group passed by in Patong's beach road.

He heard that a Japanese group was scammed in similar fashion and on a trip to Phi Phi, was told how another group of Aussies had been ripped off.

''There were 11 of us in the group last week, from New South Wales, Tasmania and other parts of Australia,'' Mr Hatcher said. ''All of us will have bad things to say about jet-skis in Phuket when we get back.''

Asked whether he would be returning to Phuket, 16-year-old Michael said: ''No way.''

Phuketwan Editorial OPINION

THE JET-SKIS must go. The jet-skis' most regular defender, Phuket's Marine 5 director, has an office in an obscure corner on the other side of the island and never gets to hear about these scams and rip-offs.

But they continue without interruption to destroy Phuket's reputation.

Phase them out over five years, setting targets for reduction each year and confiscating the jet-ski of any operator found guilty of scamming.

Get rid of them. Phuket doesn't need them. The vast majority of tourists and residents don't want them.

We still remember standing on Patong beach, trying to help settle a dispute, and being told by a thug that he would ''smear blood over both your faces.''

Nothing has changed. These people never will.

The good guys will just have to suffer because they've let the bad guys do it their way for too long.

Push the jet-skis off this peaceful holiday island for good.

In the event that the logic of getting rid of the jet-skis cannot be grasped by the Army and the Navy, Phuketwan suggests that all jet-ski operators be obliged to contribute a substantial amount each year to a cooperative fund.

Let the jet-ski operators pay for any damage claims that exceed the present insurance contracts.

Let the jet-ski operators collectively check on each other to make sure the payouts are genuine.

Let them fight among themselves.

One way or the other, it's time to free Phuket from this pestilence plaguing tourism.

Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.

Offline KoratKid

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Re: Jet-Ski Gang Scams Aussie Tourists of 50,000 Baht in Latest Outrage
« Reply #1 on: October 27, 2014, 05:03:31 AM »
This is the kind of thing that is destroying tourism in Thailand. ()