Gem Scam Report: Marin Gems Company Limited
March 13, 2002
From an email we received:
My girlfriend and I (we are from Germany) have been in Thailand from the 17th of February until the 9th of March 2002. On the 19th of February we left the boat on the Klong San Sap near the Golden Mount. We were looking on our map for orientating us (we wanted to go to the Golden Mount), when a friendly (???) Thai person asked, if he can help us.
He told us to take a Tuk Tuk for 20 Bath (because today it is Buddahs day and the Tuk Tuk drivers get a voucher for fuel from the government-???) and to go to the standing and lucky Buddah and to the Thai Export Centre, and then come back to the Golden Mount because now it was closed (???). So we took a Tuk Tuk and visited standing and lucky Buddah.
At lucky Buddah we met another friendly (???) Thai person. He told us, that he was a student and that he has been in Germany before and now he wants to go to Australia and wants to pray at the lucky Buddah (ha, ha...). He told us, that he pays his travels by buying jewlery in Thailand at the Thai Export Centre, where students don't have to pay the 195 % of taxes. And then he sells the jewlery in the country in which he is travelling for the double price.
And then he told us, that we were very lucky people (good place for this story), because today it is the last day of the promotion of the Thai Export Centre for tourists to buy jewlery without paying the taxes. And we can sell them when we are back in Germany also for the double price.
This all sounds very good to us, because of the government-stuff and so on. So we decided to go there and told the Tuk Tuk driver to bring us to a shop of the Thai Export centre.
In the shop (there were some other tourists also in the shop) they told us the same story again, showing us some copies of passports of people from Germany who have done this before, and they showed us adresses of shops in Germany, where we can sell the jewlery. So we decided to take a set with earrings, a ring and a chain for 80000 Bath. We wanted to pay cash, because if we payed with credit card we wouldn't get the discount and had to pay 100000 Bath instead. We visited a bank using a driver with a car, where we got the money.
We were told, that we should pay our Tuk Tuk driver and that we would get a taxi that will bring us where ever we want to go in Bangkok (this is more save, because the Tuk Tuk driver would know that we have bought something and would maybe stole it...).
Back in the shop, a postman has arrived and we packed the jewlery and a certificate of guarantee in a small package and send it to Germany (because we wanted to travel through Thailand and this is more save...).
So we get our own driver from the shop who brought us to the Vimanmek Mansion... After this, we had a bad feeling, but everything looks so professional...
Now we are back in Germany and get our package from the customs authorities on the 11th of March, where we had to pay 398 Euro customs duties to get our package (18,5%). We checked the address of the shop where we should sell the jewlery, but the shop doesen't exist. Now we where very feared and furious... So we went to another jewlery shop (a Turkish one) and asked how much they would give us. He told us 77 Euro (!!!).
So we have lost 80000 baht (price) + 16000 baht (customs duties) - 3000 baht (real value) = 93000 baht (= 2300 Euro)!!!
After all this, our nice Thailand holiday gets a very bad taste for us: we think, that we won't never travel to Thailand and that you can't trust the Thai people. This is very pitty, because Thailand is a nice country and some Thais are nice, but you never know...
We can't understand, why the government and the police dosen't do anything against it. And why aren't the tourists aren't warned enough...
Maybe some of you can help us to get some money back. Or is it possible to get customs duties back in Germany?
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