From a letter we received:
Dear Sir or Madam:
I would like to make a report to you in the hope that it might save other people who visit Bangkok not to fall for the scam that ruined what would have otherwise been a great holiday.
I am nearly forty years of age and decided it was time to make my first trip overseas with my fiancee and her nine year old daughter. We decided on a three day stop at Bangkok followed by ten days in Phuket.
We woke up the first morning in Bangkok and decided to go outside the hotel for a walk and find somewhere to have breakfast. As soon as we were outside the hotel we were swamped by the tuk tuk drivers chasing business. We ended up being in a tuk tuk who we asked to take us to a place we could get breakfast and do some shopping, however he said the shops were not open yet and he would take us around the city until they were. We were taken to a temple were an elderly man approached us and started some small talk before telling us that he had just come from the governments gem shop where they were having a once a year sale and had purchased gems that could be sold in Australia for double the price due to the tax insentives. The man was not pushy and said we should check it out. The tuk tuk driver confirmed what the gentleman had said and said he would take us there for a look which we thought couldn't hurt.
We arrived a short time later at KOMKIEN GEMS & JEWELRY 849/59-61 CHULA SOI BANTADTONG ROAD PHATUMWAN where we were greeted by a woman who called herself Pairin. W e were taken to a back room where we were given a nice cold rink before being shown a number of jewels. We were told a similar story as we were told by the man in the temple, that the store had the backing of the government and that we could sell any jewelry for at least double the price back home and if we could not then 100% of our money would be refunded. I would like to point out that normally my fiancee would question every purchase even if it was only worth twenty dollars however on this occasion the both of us accepted everything we were told and ended up purchasing a total of $12,000 Australian dollars worth of gems. The store staff were so kind as to drive us to a bank outlet to empty both our credit cards as they insisted on cash. When we questioned why we could not take the gems with us they said it would be unsafe and it was better to post them which we quickly accepted.
We were told that a staff member would take us anywhere we wanted to go until we left for Phuket and we would not have to pay for a thing which we thought was very generous. After a few hours we slowly started questioning why we had spent so much money and quickly realised that the tuk tuk driver and the man in the temple were obviously scamming us along with the gem shop. The following day we went to the shop to try to get our money back but were told that the gems had been sent to Australia and we would have to send them back. The woman we spoke to the day before was not available but we were given the registered slips from the post office to show that the gems had been sent. Needless to say the rest of the holiday was spent wondering if we were scammed as we expected or if we could at least recover our money.
As it turned out after having the jewelry valued in Melbourne it was worth about $4500 for insurance purpose or about a third of that if we wanted to sell them. After returning to Melbourne I found a Internet site which contained a lots of other stories from people who were scammed in exactly the same way as us .I am sure our drinks were spiked with some sort of drugs to make us fall for the scam so easily. Please tell me if there is anything else I can do to stop these people ripping of tourists and making a fortune. The website containing other stories like ours is 2bangkok.com.
Thanks for reading
Another victim of Komkien Gems and Jewelry (January 4, 2002)