Piyamanee – December 20, 2005

A reader reports: Hi, I have previously came across a scam that organized by Piyamanee. Below are my brief story to share:
I have recently visited BKK for a short vacation in June 2005. One day while I was near the entrance of the Grand Palace, I was approached by a middle aged man. He was helpful with suggestions to the nearby temples while saying that the Grand Palace will only open at 2pm. I knew it was not true but I have the time so I just listened (It was 8:30am and I know it opens at 9am because I just asked the guard in front). He suggested several places and lastly he mentioned about a export center for buying gem. A tuk-tuk suddenly appear and he negotiated the price to 40B for visit to several places.
I thought it was a good deal to visit around so I followed the tuk-tuk and visited temple as he suggested. There were just normal temples and nothing special compared to the Grand Palace. As I stopped at different temples, there were people talking about the export center, offering promotion and that was the last day. They claim that I could get as much as 100% profit out of it by selling back to the gem store in my country. They did mentioned several name of the gem stores (as to strengthen my confident) that I could sell to them back in my country. In one occasion, there was a tourist (he said he was from UK which I dont believe) that said he managed to earn as much as 1000euro by selling back the gem in the UK. In many occasions, the tuk-tuk driver was "coordinating" with the "people-on-show" to allow them to talk to me. For instance, the driver told me to wait while he is going to a restroom, or saying that the engine is overheating, so to allow time for "their people" to talk to me.
With all these nicest touch, I finally agreed to pay a visit to Piyamanee. When I arrived at the store at 1pm, the store just opened with light to allow me to go in. I started to get suspicious. They shown me several sets of gem and said I could only buy one as that was the government policy. I dont know much about gem myself but by looking at the gem, I knew they were were poor quality gem. With the price-tag that they put on it, they are definitely not worth it. I didnt buy any even though they offered me like a 25% discount. They said I could just pay by credit card with cash advanced. There will be people "escorting" me to the bank for cash advance.
I left the place with some disappointing faces on her face but the story didnt just end here. The tuk-tuk driver continue his "tactic" to allow more people to "sweet talk" me for the gem. These people are persistence and well coordinated but I am just not the dummy that they are looking for (Sorry Piyamanee for your failed attempt). At the end, I just left the tuk-tuk driver and catch another taxi back to the Grand Palace. I hope with 2Bangkok, I could spread the massage to other tourists. Be careful when travel to Thailand. One thing I always remind myself is: DO NOT GREED. If I could easily earn 1000euro, why does this happened to me "so luckily" if I have not been "so lucky" for all my life?

More on the Gem Scam & maps to the scam stores

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