Gem scam account: Another experience that's not quite like the rest - end of November, 2000
I just returned from thailand after what turned out to be a rather hellish 10 day adventure and my japanese friend and I had quite an experience with the blue sapphire gem scam. Basically the scam transpired in exactly the same way as has been related in the many other articles ive read about it both on your site and numerous others, however the outcome of our scam turned out to be quite a bit more positive thanks to some early sceptiscism some help from the gods and the information posted on your site.
After we'd had the interesting experience of the scam, the people, the temples and the duk duk drivers, we returned happy in the assumption that we would soon be making some money and paying for a bit of our college education. However after about an hour the spell of these amazingly artful and intelligent scammers began to quickly wear off and I felt overwhelmingly alarmed at my utter stupidity and naivete. So i went downstairs and into the little internet cafe on the first floor of our hotel and promptly typed in gems+scam+thailand and low and behold 1000s of hits popped up with your site at the top of the list. So i began reading in earnest. Found out we'd probably lost all our money and with luck would get half of it back if we acted fast. So i called the tourist police and went down there immediately after gathering up my friend who had been duped with me.
As we had mailed our 'jewels' back home that day we knew first we had to get them back so after talking to the tourist police and making sure to plead our plight to the officer as well as express our disillusionment regarding thai hospitality, the officer offered to take us to the airport and pick up our goods after calling and ahead and finding out that they had yet to be loaded on to a plane. At this time he began asking us what amount of recourse we would be happy with recieving which made us think that he was interested in a bit of the reward and after asking us to not mention that the police were aiding us to the criminals or anyone else we felt sure that there was some strange symbiotic relationship going on between the tourist police and the gem gangs (this was confirmed the next day when i went to the US embassy to ask them what to do and who to trust). In any case after a hectic ride in the back of the police van to the airport and back and not a bit of genuine fear for our lives the officer asked us to keep the gems in his office.
When we declined (at this point we felt we could trust no one but eachother) he became a bit annoyed and declared that he was 'tired of our case' so we payed hime 500 baht for being so kind and helping us out even though we werent sure exactly what his intentions were and he dropped us off somewhere in the middle of bangkok after we told him repeatedly that we did NOT want to go to patpong and pick up hookers to make ourseneglves feel better.
Before we left we made an appointment with him for the next day to negotiate a refund. That night, needless to say i slept little and the next morning realized i really didnt trust the tourist police so I found the us embassy and my japanese friend and i went there. I entered and asked the embassy staff what to do. The gave me an information sheet about possibilities for recovering lost goods and when I asked about whether the tourist police could be trusted the woman helping me smiled and shook her head before wishing me luck, (as a side note, when we picked up the gems in the airport we were handed a paper about manat soiploy but when we asked the tourist police officer about this he promptly confiscated the paper and refused to give it back to us).
Finally we decided that we had no choice but to go back and honor our appointment with the tourist police in the hopes of getting some portion of our money back because later that day we had plans to board a train to chang mae and after that would not be returning again to bangkok. Then we realized that because we had made our transactions by credit card we might still be able to cancel. So first we went to the meeting where i commented to the manager that he ran quite a brilliant scam (in front of the police) he just nodded agreably, smiled and began laughing.
After that we actually had quite an interesting, friendly conversation about politics for 10 minutes or so then he left brought us our money and that was that. However the story doesnt end there. After this we went and cancelled all our credit card transactions (we were still unsure that this would work and had no intention to bring about the outcome that came about) from the day before hoping that we would be able to pull it off but somewhat consoled that we had recovered at least half our money and feeling as though we had learned some great lessons about life in general and the rest of the world outside the protective bubble of japan.
As it turned out all the credit card transactions were easily cancelled because it seems mastercard has had its customers experience these deals repeatedly and is quite supportive of us pitiful fools. So as it turns out, by sheer dumb luck my friend and I ended up scamming the scammers and each of us made a whopping 400 US dollars off of thos dirty bastards. Its not quite the profit that they promised us upon buying the gems but quick action and the wonderful information on your website ensured us a nice profit off of those buggers.
I just wanted to share this experience with everyone
else to say that it isnt completely hopeless - if you act fast you can
get ur money back. Also that the tourist police are not so trustworthy
as you seem to make out. And finally to say that well - i know this is
silly but - score one for the dumb tourists!!
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