A 44-year-old Turkish man and a 45-year-old woman from Iran accused of scamming scores of foreign tourists in Pattaya over the last couple of months and making off with “hundreds of thousands” of Baht were reportedly nabbed early Sunday at the Amazon Condominium on Soi Wat Boon 5 in Jomtien.
The scam allegedly consisted of chatting up foreign tourists after dark and tricking them into handing over some Thai Baht so they could “have a look” at Thai banknotes, explaining they were new in Pattaya and not familiar with the local currency.
When their victims failed to pay attention for a moment they would remove and pocket some of the banknotes before handing the rest money back to their victims and driving off on a motorcycle. Only afterwards the foreign victims – whose total number remains unknown – would realize they had been scammed by the couple.
The victims were mostly Chinese, Indian and Korean, who all reported to police they had been scammed by an Arab-looking couple that had asked them to have a look at Thai banknotes. Most recently, they also scammed a Thai tour guide out of 7,000 Baht, using the same “may we have a look at your Thai currency?” trick which is obviously easier to fall for than you’d think.
Their crime spree has come to an end now.
Having identified the two scammers through security camera footage at several locations around Pattaya, police eventually tracked them down and arrested them at the car park of the Amazon Condominium in Jomtien. Two of their victims had joined the police and positively identified the culprits who were found to be in possession of “cash made up of twenty different currencies.”
While the Turkish-Iranian couple, identified as Mr Polat Ibrahim and Mrs Sadena Hamedani, fiercely denied the allegations made against them police said they have sufficient evidence to prosecute the scammers and bring them to justice.
Police also said that the foreign couple had both had overstayed their visa and would be barred from re-entering Thailand after serving their prison sentence. While Mrs Hamedani’s visa had expired just a couple of weeks ago, Mr Ibrahim had entered Thailand in January 2014 and had overstayed his visa since February that year.