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Foreigners helping with the gem scam
November 20, 2001
It was probably only a matter of time...
From an email we received:
I wish my husband and I had stumbled upon your email before we went on our honeymoon to Thailand. Please do not use my name, but I am writing to tell you my story, which is very similar to the ones listed on your website. The only difference is, the Thai people have started recruiting foreigners for their scam.
We were on our way to Wat Po, following the Lonely Planet walking tour when we were stopped by several tuk-tuk drivers telling us that it was closed for some special Thai holiday. We ignored them until some nicely dressed man walked up to us and told us he WORKED at Wat Po and that it was closed. He then said that we should visit the standing Buddha and some other Wats and pay NO more than 20 baht to a tuk-tuk driver. He then flagged down a tuk-tuk driver who happened to be parked on the road and told him where to take us. He briefly mentioned the export. When we got to the second temple, we walked in and there was a Caucasian guy who started following us. He then asked us where we were from and told us he was from France. We walked around the wat with him and then a Thai man came up to us and was very friendly telling us he was leaving for Japan tomorrow and that he worked for UNICEF. He told us all about the last day of this export and how he had bought a set. He casually asked the French guy if he knew about it and he said that this was his SIXTH! trip to Thailand funded by the profits he made from selling his jewelry back in France.
Needless to say, we were ripped off and soon discovered it after my husband showed me a section in the Lonely Planet book on scams. By the time we made it back to the shop that sold us the gem, it was closed and there were a bunch of punks out front telling us to come back the next day. We were set to leave for Phuket the next day, so we pretty much thought it was too late. Luckily, we did not spend $3000 on a full set and only bought a necklace. It still burns though.
It definitely brings the scam up to a new level with a non-Thai conspirator. Words cannot explain what I hope will happen to that French man.
I will definitely tell my friends about your website if they are planning a trip to Thailand.Gem scam main page