Blue Dragon - September 8, 2004
I would like to report my case, another victim of Blue Dragon in their well-organized gem scam.
We arrived Bangkok in 9/8/04. The next morning, when we were reading the Bangkok map near a petrol station, a tuk tuk driver approached us and said in a very friendly way that it was the Buddha's day, and he wanted to do a good deed by helping us. He offered us a tour around Bangkok's famous temples for only 20 B. Having heard that Thai people are religious, we trusted him and sat on his tuk tuk. On the way, he spoke in Thai with someone on the mobile. When we contemplating the decoration of the first temple, one Thai guy and one foreign guy 'happened' to chat with us. The native introduced himself as a tourist guy. The foreigner introduced himself as an American tourist from Sanfrancisco. When I said I was leaving in Melbourne, Australia, the native guy seemed to know a lot about Melbourne. After a while, they asked us if we arrived Bangkok for the annual Thai government's gem promotion week. When we said we never heard of such a promotion, they appeared to be very surprise and excitingly told us about their experience of buying cheap gems in Thailand during the promotion and sold them abroad for profit. The guy from Sanfrancisco said he went to Bangkok every year for the promotion, and made handsome profit selling the gems back in Sanfrancisco. They said that the Thai government waived 197% tax on tourists buying gems for personal use. They suggested we do the same. But I was not interested.
The tuk tuk driver outside then offered to take us to the Thai gem promotion 'just to take a look' because he would get a free petrol coupon. The first place he took us was a large building, inside was not only a big gem company, but also a big office of 'Tourism Authority of Thailand'. We did not buy anything in this shop, but we could not suspect anything because the presence of the Tourism Authority of Thailand in the same building. The sellers told us that during the gem promotion week, the Thai government waived 197% export tax on tourists buying gems for personal use.
The second scam shop was a three-storey factory. The first floor was for gem finishing. The second floor for gem sale. The third floor was for cloth sale and tailoring. Again, a sale staff professtionaly and agressively tried to sell germs to us. We said no. When we got out, the tuk tuk driver asked if we bought anything, and seemed disappointed to know that we did not buy anything. However, he offered another temple near there. In this renovating temple, a well-dressed Thai man approached us, asked if we needed help finding ways in the temple. He introduced himself working in Israel, coming back to Bangkok just for the gem promotion week to make profit on the special tax waive. This time, we could not resist the temptation to believe that there was a gem promotion week going on. We told him we visited two shops, but bought nothing. He then suggested us the Blue Dragon, which he said was a government company, where price is best.
We was hooked, and bough 850AUD. That night, when I was on the Internet, we typed in 'Thai gem promotion week' in google. Instead, we found stories about gem scam, we also found Blue Dragon in the list of gem scam shop.
The next day, we went to the Tourism Police headquarter. There, we met a couple, also from Australia, who spent 2500AUD for a set in a scam shop. The police told us that we had to wait for the right policewoman, who was in charge of gem scam. The other couple was waiting for that policewoman for 2 continuous days in that office, but never saw her. We spent one day waiting, nothing happened. Finally, all of us quit because we did not want to loose our holidays to the police after loosing our money to the scam shop.
Now I am still very angry with the Thai police, and the thai government for my experience in Thailand. How such a daylight crime against tourists can go on at the nose of Thai politicans and Thai people?
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