Unprecedented: Tuk-tuk, gems swindling suspects arrested – Bangkok Post, May 21, 2015
…The gang was accused of targeting tourists wanting to visit popular tourist attractions in Bangkok such as Wat Pho and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, or Wat Phra Kaew. They used misinformation about the historic places opening hours and used persuasive tactics to get the tourists to go shopping at places that offered them commission fees, said Pol Gen Somyot.
The distorted information about the operating hours of tourist venues caused a misunderstanding among tourists and the action of the swindlers tarnished the image of tourism…
[The gem scam is one of the most enduring Thai traditions from the twentieth century. Studiously protected by the Thai police, tuk-tuk drivers spoiled many a holiday by lying to tourists approaching the Grand Palace entrance, telling them it was closed for the day and inviting them on a ride that ended at a gem scam shop. On any given day one could drive past the Grand Palace and see tourists being stopped by tuk-tuk drivers and driven away, just yards from security guards and police.
With police refusing to assist tourists in getting their money back, friendly government agencies like the Department of Internal Trade stepped in and obtained partial refunds for many who were scammed.
In recent years, as information on the internet led to better informed tourists, scammers switched to targeting Chinese and others Asian tourists instead of Europeans.
This scam, like many scams in Thailand, is essentially a local police operation. It is only the involvement of the military and their appointees at the top of police ranks that could have led to arrests of these foot soldiers of the Thai gem scam.
More on the Thai Gem Scam]