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 MUST READ.... BE CAREFUL WHILE TRAVELING OVERSEAS....

 

An Indian was detained in Bangkok for stealing a box of cigarettes in a duty-free shop in Bangkok International Airport . He had paid for chocolates and a carton of cigarettes. The cashier put a packet of cigarettes extra into his bag and he thought it was a free pack.

He was arrested for shop-lifting and the Thai Police extortion price was 30,000 Baht for his release. He spent two nights in jail and paid 500 Baht for an air-conditioned cell, 200-300 baht for each visitor and 11,000 baht for his final release. The Police shared the money in front of his eyes. On top of that, he was charged in court and fined 2,000 baht by the magistrate and handcuffed and escorted to his plane. His passport was stamped "Thief". While there, his relatives requested help from the Indian Embassy and was told that they are helpless, many
Asians are victimized similarly daily and letters and phone-calls to the Thai authorities are ignored.

He shared a cell with a Singaporean the first night who paid 60,000 bbaht for his release. The second night was a Malaysian national who paid 70,000 baht.Mind you this was not in a shanty shop in downtown Bangkok but in a duty free shop at the Bangkok Int'l Airport . BE WARNED.

The above is 100% correct information because Mr.Rajan Khera's customer from India faced exactly the same scenario mentioned above when he was in transit at Bangkok Int'l Airport coming to Taipei .

Someone who went through the same ordeal in Dubai . He bought stuff at the Duty Free upon entering. The girl at Duty Free put a bottle of cologne in his shopping bag (he did not even see it happen). He was arrested for stealing (this is before he even picked up his lugg age). He sat at the airport jail where he was harassed for the whole day. NO FOOD, NO WATER for one day and only after he paid a fine (bribe of US 500...).  That is all the cash he had in his pocket at the time. They let him go. These are scams that are happening all over the place. Please BE CAREFUL! All of this is pre-planned and the people who work at the airport know who to target.

Unbelievable but apply caution.... the duty free employees intentionally put extra items to scam the passenger and we think that our country is the most corrupted one......

ALWAYS TAKE A RECEIPT FOR ANY FREE GIFT THAT THE DUTY FREE SHOP GIVES. PLEASE BE CAREFUL AND WATCHFUL WHEN YOU ARE BEING BILLED AND ITEMS PACKED IN INTERNATIONAL AIR PORTS (DUTY FREE SHOPS).

BBC Report:

By Jonathan Head ,BBC News, Bangkok

Bangkok's showcase new international airport is no stranger to controversy.

Built between 2002 and 2006, under the governments of then-Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, the opening date was repeatedly delayed.

It has been dogged by allegations of corruption, as well as criticism of the design and poor quality of construction.

Then, at the end of last year, the airport was shut down for a week after being occupied by anti-government protesters.

Now new allegations have been made that a number of passengers are being detained every month in the duty free area on suspicion of shoplifting, and then held by the police until they pay large sums of money to buy their freedom.

That is what happened to Stephen Ingram and Xi Lin, two IT experts from Cambridge, as they were about to board their flight to London on the night of 25 April this year.

They had been browsing in the duty free shop at the airport, and were later approached by security guards, who twice asked to search their bags.


Mr Ingram and Ms Xi were told they had to pay 8,000
They were told a wallet had gone missing, and that Ms Lin had been seen on a security camera taking it out of the shop.

The company that owns the duty free shop, King Power, has since put the CCTV video on its website, which does appear to show her putting something in her bag. However the security guards found no wallet on either of them.

Despite that, they were both taken from the departure gate, back through immigration, and held in an airport police office. That is when their ordeal started to become frightening.

Interpreter

"We were questioned in separate rooms," Mr Ingram said. "We felt really intimidated. They went through our bags and demanded that we tell them where the wallet was."

The two were then put in what Mr Ingram describes as a "hot, humid, smelly cell with graffiti and blood on the walls".

Mr Ingram managed to phone a Foreign Office helpline he found in a travel guide, and was told someone in the Bangkok embassy would try to help them.

The next morning the two were given an interpreter, a Sri Lankan national called Tony, who works part-time for the police.

They were taken by Tony to meet the local police commander - but, says Mr Ingram, for three hours all they discussed was how much money they would have to pay to get out.

Mr Ingram and Ms Xi were taken to meet the local police commander
They were told the charge was very serious. If they did not pay, they would be transferred to the infamous Bangkok Hilton prison, and would have to wait two months for their case to be processed.

Mr Ingram says they wanted 8,000 ( about $13,000) - for that the police would try to get him back to the UK in time for his mother's funeral on 28 April.

But he could not arrange to get that much money transferred in time.

'Zig-zag' scheme

Tony then took Ms Lin to an ATM machine and told her to withdraw as much as she could from her own account - 600. He then withdrew the equivalent of 3,400 from his own account.

According to Mr Ingram this was then handed over to the police, and they were both forced to sign a number of papers.

Later they were allowed to move to a squalid hotel within the airport perimeter, but their passports were held and they were warned not to leave or try to contact a lawyer or their embassy.

"I will be watching you," Tony told them, adding that they would have to stay there until the 8,000 was transferred into Tony's account.

On the Monday they managed to sneak out and get a taxi to Bangkok, and met an official at the British Embassy.

She gave the name of a Thai lawyer, and, says Mr Ingram, told them they were being subjected to a classic Thai scam called the "zig-zag".

Their lawyer urged them to expose Tony - but also warned them that if they fought the case it could take months, and they risked a long prison sentence.

After five days the money was transferred to Tony's account, and they were allowed to leave.

Mr Ingram had missed his mother's funeral, but at least they were given a court document stating that there was insufficient evidence against them, and no charge.

"It was a harrowing, stressful experience," he said.

The couple say they now want to take legal action to recover their money.

'Typical' scam

The BBC has spoken to Tony and the regional police commander, Colonel Teeradej Phanuphan.

They both say Tony was merely helping the couple with translation, and raising bail to keep them out of prison.

Tony says about half the 8,000 was for bail, while the rest were "fees" for the bail, for his work, and for a lawyer he says he consulted on their behalf.

In theory, he says, they could try to get the bail portion refunded.

Colonel Teeradej says he will investigate any possible irregularities in their treatment. But he said any arrangement between the couple and Tony was a private affair, which did not involve the police.

Letters of complaint to the papers here in Thailand make it clear that passengers are regularly detained at the airport for alleged shoplifting, and then made to pay middlemen to win their freedom.

The Danish Embassy says one of its nationals was recently subjected to a very similar scam, and earlier this month an Irish scientist managed to flee Thailand with her husband and one year-old son after being arrested at the airport and accused of stealing an eyeliner worth around 17.

Tony told the BBC that so far this year he has "helped" about 150 foreigners in trouble with the police. He says sometimes he does it for no charge.

The British Embassy has also warned passengers at Bangkok Airport to take care not to move items around in the duty free shopping area before paying for them, as this could result in arrest and imprisonment.
 ( Courtesy: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8154497.stm )

 
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