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The “jet ski scam” – lucrative but violent

I’ve written before about the “jet ski scam” in the Land of Smells http://www.snouts-in-the-trough.com/archives/11882 and even provided a link to a wonderful YouTube video of the  scam:   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zsPuoaktoAw

But as there have been some new developments, I’ll return to this scam:

1. Violence – Recently, a Swedish tourist was lying on the beach when he saw some other tourists being fleeced by the jet ski scammers. So, being even so helpful and (IMHO) extremely naive he went up to the tourists and told them not to pay, but instead to go to the police. Now, if you go on holiday to Naples, do you go into the local shops and advise the owners not to pay protection money to the local mafia? Nope. That’s not a good idea. Nor was this Swede’s intervention in the jet ski scam as the scammer gave him a good thrashing.

However, it seems this thrashing didn’t knock any sense into the Swede’s head as he then went to the police. Clearly the Swede didn’t understand the most basic legal principle of any Third World ‘justice’ system – with any incident involving a foreigner, the foreigner is always guilty and should be fleeced by the victims, supposed victims and the police. (Incidentally, there is only one highway code rule you need to know when driving in a Third World country. Yup, you guessed it – with any accident involving a foreigner, the foreigner is always guilty and should be fleeced by the victims, supposed victims and the police). That’s why you should always hire a driver rather than driving yourself.

Here’s a nice picture of the violent scammer, a rather bored policeman and the hapless Swede (turnip?) (click to see more clearly)

jet ski scam

As you’ll see, the scammer doesn’t look particularly worried, given that most of the police (as I explained in my previous post) are in on the scam.

2. The ‘helpful’ Indian – with so many Indians and Arabs being caught by the jet ski scam, the scammers have a new trick. There’s an Indian guy who hangs around the beach area. Then each time the scammers are about to rip some tourists off, they give him a call. The scam starts and soon the scammers have started a violent argument with the tourists they are scamming about how much ‘damage’ has been caused to the jet skis and how much compensation the tourists should pay.

At that point, the Indian turns up pretending he’s just a passer-by and, as he speaks the local lingo, he calms things down and suggests that the scammers reduce the amount of money they are demanding. Then, relieved to have been rescued by this helpful Indian, the tourists usually pay the reduced amount. The Indian later gets his cut.

3. The goldmine – I hadn’t realised quite how lucrative the jet ski scam is. Apparently the standard demand the scammers make from each tourist who has supposedly ‘damaged’ a jet ski is about 4,000 baht (£800). When either a policeman or the ‘helpful’ Indian intervenes a compromise of around 3,000 baht (£600) is usually agreed.

Although £600 may not sound a lot, you have to remember that the cost of living, housing etc in the Land of Smells is less than a fifth of that in the UK. For example, a house costing £150,000+ in the UK would cost around £25,000. So ,with each scam, the scammers are getting the equivalent of around £3,000. If the scammers just do one scam a day (most will do more) for the main 5 months of the tourist season, then they’re pulling in the equivalent of £450,000 in just 5 months from the scam, in addition to the money taken for actually renting the jet skis.

Thus, the Swede was lucky to escape with just a mild beating. Other tourists caught by the scam have been threatened with knives and even stabbed. Any tourist who attempts to intervene against the scammers is interfering in a very lucrative ‘business’.

Oh, and here’s just one of many newspaper reports of this scam http://phuketwan.com/tourism/phuket-jet-ski-gang-scams-aussie-tourists-50000-baht-latest-outrage-21253/ In this case, a ‘helpful’ policeman told an Australian father and his 16-year-old son, they’d be locked up for two days if they didn’t pay up.

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