Pattaya police on Friday caught a jet ski operator red-handed as he attempted to scam two Italian tourists out of 4,000 Baht. The officers were part of a 200-strong police patrol sent out to collect the profiles of jet ski operators on the beaches of Pattaya, Jomtien and Koh Larn. The surprise “crackdown” was spearheaded by the Bangkok-based Crime Suppression Division.
In the obvious scam police came to witness first-hand, the jet ski operator claimed the Italian tourists had “damaged” two jet skis they had rented from him by crashing into each other in the sea.
The Italians rejected the claim and refused to pay the 4,000 Baht demanded by the Thai man.
According to the Bangkok Post, police eventually brought the opposing parties to settle their disagreement at the police station. Fortunately for the Italians, it seems, the scammer failed to substantiate his accusations against them and finally renounced his claim for compensation.
No charges were laid against the jet ski operator nor other disciplinary action taken.
Friday’s surprise “crackdown” (it was a “data collection tour” really) followed recent complaints by Indian tourists about Pattaya’s notorious jet ski scams which often seem to target non-Western tourists. The Indian embassy in Bangkok warned its nationals to “excercise due caution” when they hire jet skis on Pattaya beach, and explicitly warned authorities that Pattaya faced a “boycott” from Indian tourists if the city did not effectively crack down on the annoying scams.
The Pattaya Mail reported last month that jet ski scams have risen substantially this year, with “two complaints in February, one in March, two each in April and May, then eight in June and nine in July.”
Low season it seems isn’t taking a toll only on bar and guest house owners but also on Pattaya’s ill-reputed jet ski operators. In order to compensate for their loss of income in what appears to be the worst low season in years, they seem to be going to greater lengths than ever in their attempt to make their customers foot the bill.
Will Friday’s police action ultimately change things?
Khaosod English reports that for now, 30 jet ski operators on Pattaya beach suspected of scamming foreign tourists regularly will be “monitored for further infractions” and ultimately face “blacklisting” and prosecution.
But, as the Bangkok Post correctly notes:
Occasional crackdowns are staged when embarrassing reports get international attention, but it doesn’t take long for operators to return to their old ways.
Don’t hold your breath this time either.