Just Embarrassing... (efforts to stop the scam)
There are more current articles than these below, but why bother posting them? It's always the same: foreign embassies and international travel associations demand a stop to the gem scam, but nothing changes.
Bangkok urged to stop jewellery scam (AFP, The Nation/Asia News Network, August 22, 2000)
Foreign embassies in Thailand are asking the Thai govt to clamp down on its gem scam operators after tourists complain of being cheated
BANGKOK -- Frustrated foreign embassies are urging the Thai government to clamp down on Bangkok's notorious jewellery scam operators after being swamped by complaints from unsuspecting tourists.
The Australian, British, Swiss and Japanese embassies are now teaming up to request high-level talks with the Thai Foreign Ministry in a bid to crack down on the gem dealers.
Victims are typically approached by ""tuk tuk'' (motor rickshaw) drivers and illegal ""guides'' who waylay tourists outside the city's landmarks, inform them that the attraction is closed that day and offer to help them find cheap jewellery. ""The problem is certainly on the rise,'' British consul Brian Kelly said. "The fact that much of this shady dealing is blatantly going on in the Grand Palace area in full view of the police and Tourism Authority of Thailand officials makes it bizarre.''
Earlier this month, Thai police and the tourism authorities vowed to work together to close down the fraudsters who sell jewellery to tourists at prices far above their real value.
But Bangkok tourist police said it was hard to close down the shady dealers because tourists entered the deals voluntarily and there was no global standard for setting the value of jewels.
About 200 people are arrested in relation to jewellery fraud each month, according to police figures.
They are charged with causing a nuisance and fined a maximum of 1,000 baht (S$41.60).
Thailand's Tourism Authority governor Mr Pradech Phayakvichien had also said that the authorities were trying to reduce the number of gangs who are defrauding the tourists.
Fraudulent gem firms under watch--Tourist police move to end jewel scams
August 7, 2000, The Bangkok Post
Tourist police are working with the Tourism Authority of Thailand to curb the long-standing problem of jewelry scams.
Unscrupulous jewelry companies, tuk tuk drivers, illegal tour guides, commercial bank staff and tour operators are all involved in the duping of foreign tourists into buying high-priced cheap jewelry.
The authorities are liaising with the Thai Gem and Jewelry Traders Association to establish common standards and a recognizable logo that visitors can use to identify reputable stores, said Pol Col Chanaphat Choeisombat, superintendent of the tourist police.
So far 49 jewelry companies were co-operating in the campaign. The industry was being watched closely for evidence of fraud and information would be posted for tourists.
Most visitors taken in by the swindlers buy gems in Thailand in anticipation of being able to sell them for a profit back home. When they have the jewelry appraised they find it is worth far less than what they paid for it.
Pol Col Chanaphat said brochures were being printed advising foreign visitors to be aware of being cheated and would be distributed on flights coming into Thailand.
Tourist police had been instructed to patrol popular areas and keep a close watch on tuk tuk drivers and illegal tour guides who approach foreign tourists.
The Commerce Ministry was also helping with the investigation, and the Revenue Department of the Finance Ministry had been asked to inspect tax payments of shops suspected of being involved in scams, and tour companies are being warned they could face de-registration.
Pol Col Chanaphat said 477 tourists, mostly Westerners and Japanese, complained of being defrauded by gem dealers last year. About 120 tourists had filed complaints so far this year.
About 200 people were arrested in relation to running gem scams each month, he said.
They were charged with causing a nuisance to others and fined a maximum of 1,000 baht.