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Gem Scam Report: Vandee Gems Gallery
June 13, 2002
I have been travelling the first time to the Kingdom of Thailand (Phuket, Bangkok) from the 9th of May till the 30th of May 2002.
I stayed the first and the last two days of the journey at Bangkok and the other days at Phuket.
At the 29th of May I was a victim of a gem scam in Bangkok.
I was at the Democracy Monument when a tuk tuk driver asked me if he could help. He said another driver could take me to three Buddha temples because today its the last day of promotion of the Thai Export Centre and the driver would get coupons for fuel.
I did not understand all of that but agreed because next day I would fly back to Germany and wanted take some more pictures of Buddha temples.
So the driver took me to a temple nearby where there was not much to see and no other tourists.
Only a man dressed in business clothes was there and spoke to me. He said he has already bought three times sapphire sets from the Thai Export Centre and sold them for double in Germany and Great Britain. But I will have to hurry up because today is the last day of the promotion month for tax free of the Thai Export Centre.
I went outside and the tuk tuk driver took me directly to the Vandee Gems Gallery Co. LTD.
In the shop there were no tourists and a man invited me in a separate room to give me further information's.
He said I could help Thai students who want to study abroad in Europe. To finance this sapphire sets are sold tax free (not 195% as usual) in this month and can be sold in Europe for double price. The rest of the profit (95%) is to help the Thai Students. He will give me an address where I can sell it immediately when I returned to Germany.
He said he has to make three copies of my passport (one for the Thai government, one for the tax authorities and one to be left in the shop). He showed me several copies of passports of people from Germany, England, Canada and others who have done this before.
I read them. I dont know if it is aloud to keep copies of passports in a shop but never mind.
He also showed me addresses of shops in Germany where I can sell the jewelry at once. All this sounded reasonable to me.
So after intensive persuasion I bought a Sapphire set for 122.500 Baht.
It was paid with Credit Card and withdrawn at a Gold Shop.
The name is: Sin Suwan Gold Store, Prasuman Road, Tel: 02-6292224-5, Tax ID: 3030323408.
The man at Vandee said it is safer to send the sapphire set with EMS to Germany and he ordered a messenger who was there in a minute.
I have scanned all documents of merchandise as jpeg Pictures for you to read.
I was told to pay the tuk tuk driver and go with a taxi driver who works only for the shop.
He would take me for a free meal, but later I had to pay it for me and the driver.
Afterwards he drove me to the guest house where I was staying.
The next day I went to the airport und was flying back.
The whole flight I was thinking about the purchase and that something must be wrong.
When I returned to Germany I found out at a jewelry shop that the set is worth 70 Euro thats 2730 Baht.
The address of the shop in Frankfurt does not exist.
So I lost about 3000 Euro, that is quite an amount of money to me.
Its a pity, that I did not read anything about the gem scam before.
In my travel guide there was only a small sentence: dont buy gemstones if you are not an expert.
But in the internet I found out that it happens to many tourists every year.
I really want to warn tourists not to buy jewelry and hope that my story will help as much people as possible.
I have rejected the gems and all original documents with registered mail to Thailand, and hope that they can help me to get some of the money back.
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