Gem scam flourishing – Why the authorities won’t crack down


Gem scam flourishing - Why the authorities won't crack down - December 23, 2004

2Bangkok is receiving many scam reports from the 436/9-12 Loog-Luang Road location. Previous names of the shop operating from this location are Imperial, Ma Mere, Blue Sapphire and TGJ (gem scam shops periodically change their names so they will not have to make refunds to cheated tourists). The only new aspect in the scam being that Asian tourists are being targeted most of the time.

Many of the cheated ask why the authorities will not crack down--especially when the location of the shop is known and does not change. The answer is that stamping out the scam would require the reorganization and transfer of police in at least two districts--Dusit and Pranakorn, as well as around tourist sites where both gem scam touts and undercover police keep a close watch. The current police know who belongs where, what is out of place, and have contacts with many informants. If police were shuffled around and the status quo disrupted, this knowledge would be impaired. In this time of heightened awareness of terrorism, the last thing the authorities will do is lose their own ability to gain intelligence in sensitive areas of town.

Secondly is that criminal syndicates that prey on tourists are tightly controlled in Bangkok. Compare Bangkok to the insane hurly burly of other tourist areas in developing countries--like around the Taj Mahal in Agra, the airport in Manilla, or the Pyramids in Egypt. Downtown Bangkok is orderly, and apart from the gem scam and some crooked tailors, very safe and welcoming to tourists. Add to this the long tradition of the gem scam (we have found mentions of it in books in the 1950s) and it is not surprising that the problem is not seen as urgent.

The next question that comes up is why the authorities have declared the problem solved when it is obvious that the scamming continues--possibly at all-time records levels. This is due to the Thai way of dealing with unsolvablility. When a problem is not solvable or not understandable, it is considered acceptable to adamantly declare there is no problem or that the problem has been solved (take, for instance, the case of bird flu). This does not mean that everyone involved is not aware of the problem or are not working on it. It also does not mean that listeners are not aware of the truth. The typical man on the street would feel a blanket declaration like this is best for the country until a real solution can be found.

Older articles about Blue Dragon
Blue Dragon scam foiled - December 17, 2004
Blue Dragon lawsuit - December 7, 2004
Blue Dragon scam - December 2, 2004
Blue Dragon strikes again - November 13, 2004
Latest scam from Blue Dragon - September 30, 2004
Blue Dragon - September 8, 2004
Latest report from Blue Dragon - May 17, 2004
Another - April 2, 2004
Rotating staff at gem scam stores - April 1, 2004
Gem scam report from the Loog-Luang Road location - December 8, 2003
Jewelry scam shops a thing of the past, says govt advisor - August 15, 2003
Gem scam shops try to protect themselves - April 20, 2003
Map to the shop

More on the Gem Scam & maps to the scam stores

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