Date: Wed, 17 May 1995
Just an interesting sidenote:
My buddies and I went into an "upstairs bar" to watch a woman perform amazing acts with her organs. It was free to get in, but when we tried to leave two huge bouncers told us we would have to pay 500 baht to leave. We didn't have much choice but to pay up. Asia is nice, but be careful.
Date: Mon, 26 Feb 1996
Subject: Cheating in BKK
Description of the occurrences concerning a cheating on 2.7.1995 in Bangkok
2. July, Bangkok: I was on the way to the Wat Po. To go there, I used the express-boat. When I reached the Chang Ferry Pier, there was a man, who asked me: "Where do you want to go?" I said: "I want to go to the Wat Po." He told me, that the Wat Po is closed on this day because of the elections in Thailand and he asked me if want to see some other Wats and places, for example: Wat Indraviharn, Wat Paknam and the Export Center. I told him, that I want to go to the Weekend-market and he said, that the tuk-tuk will take me to some different places including the Export-Center and the Weekend-market, all for 10 Bart. In this moment I didn't know anything about the so called Export-Center, but I accepted because I thought: It's cheap, even if the tuk-tuk-driver will take later 50 Bart, it's cheap. So I did and the tuk-tuk-driver took me to Wat Indraviharn and Wat Paknam. In Wat Paknam was a man from Thailand, who was speaking English very well. He was wearing a portable telephone and was dressed very correctly (white shirt, necktie...). He was very friendly and he asked me many things (important to know for the cheating), like: business or holiday, traveling alone, profession, first time in Thailand, and some other thing, just sort like alibi for talking: my religion, my opinion about the Buddhism and some other things. We were talking about half an hour and he told me, that he just purchased some blue sapphires in a special shop, called Export-Center. He told me, that he just got married (pretended his wife was praying during our talk) and now in honeymoon on the way to Singapore. There he wanted to sell the blue sapphires to earn the money for this honeymoontrip.
Furthermore there will be a special opportunity for me: normally this shop act only to wholesale trade, but now in these days the shop is open for "normal" people like tourists and also people (students) from Thailand, who don't trade with precious stones in a professional way. This shop is controlled by the government of Thailand and the government wants to give the possibility to tourists and students to earn some money. This possibility exists only 3 days per year. The man showed me a receipt about his deal (about 4800 US$) and seemed to be very glad with it. He wanted to explain how to find the way to this special shop, but I told him, that a tuk-tuk-driver is waiting for me and that the driver already was talking about a so called Export-Center. Seemed to satisfy him and we said good-bye.
I went to the tuk-tuk-driver, the next station was this Export-Center: it was on the other side of the river, black colored windows with silver letters: Maneechai, security-men were standing outside. I arrived and the security-men opened the door. Inside the air-condition was working very hard: it was cold (maybe about 15 degrees). Inside there was a big room with different doors, also a staircase to a upstairs floor. In this moment there were about 5 people in this room. Somebody asked me about my desire. I said: "I just came for take a look." They asked me, if I am interested to see how to distinguish imitated from real stones. I said O.K., may be that's interesting.
I was escorted into another room in the first floor, and a Lady, Mrs. V. spoke to me. At first they served me a cup of coffee. (I accepted this drink.) The following conversation took about 1,5 hours. Mrs. V. told me the same story about the government of Thailand and this special opportunity to buy blue sapphires. Mrs. V. told me, that I will earn much money (I could not remember the exact sum, my brain was not working at this time. She made compliments to me (about my shirt and things like this) She explained the way of the procedure: The Maneechai-company will take me to a goldseller in Mah Boonkrong Shopping Center, they will buy gold for 4500 US$ for MANEECHAI with my credit-card. They will send 5 cut stones to a friend of mine in Germany, who could sell the stones. In any case of inconvenience they will be at my service. Mrs. V. told me: You can give back the stone to our house during one month and you will get back the whole money. My brain was not working any more, out of order, I believe that there was a sort of drug in the coffee: I couldn't remember anything and the whole proceedure was for me like buying some cigarettes.
I signed the receipt (my feeling was like buying a pack of cigarettes) and we did as described.
In the evening I was beginning to understand what happened to me. Next morning I went to MANEECHAI to cancel the deal. Mrs. V. was not there, I spoke to an other man (C. , who told me that the stones are already on the way to Germany. No way to cancel the deal. And he told me: you are right: She cheated you, the stones are wrong! Then he tried to do an other deal with me. In this time, I thought: listen clearly but never make a deal with Thais again! He wanted to go outside of BBK with me (about 20 km), to a special place, where he whanted to buy with my money some others but real stones!
Next day I was by the tourist police in Bangkok, but they told me they can only act if the stones are in Bangkok. I also asked the German ambassador, but he couldn't do anything in my case.
So, you see: be careful, this costs 4500 US Dollars! Just say NO, if somebody is trying to sell something, especially if he talks english. There are not many reasons to speak english: bargirls, some tourist-policemen or true businessmen, most who talk english do that because of business, but take care about the sort of buisness.
I have much more experiences about Thailand, later more.
Date: Thu, 23 Apr 1998
Subject: Patpong, Bangkok
I read the extensive reports of Patpong and most of the info is indeed accurate. One subject that was barely touched upon though was the subject of getting conned from some of the bars in Patpong. Let me explain my story.
Walking through Patpong, I was approached by a young man with a flier. He says, "come see sex show! No cover!" I ask him how much for a beer, as I just wanted to get some alcohol in me first. He shows me a price list, and says "60 baht!" So I follow him to a bar and have a beer. The place was almost empty, and there was a girl doing a Ping Pong show on a small stage. I quickly drink my beer and attemt to leave to find a livelier place. The bill comes, and it is 2800 baht! I demand an explanation from the mama-san, and she shows me a price board she has convenienty hidden behind the counter, out of plain view. It shows 500 baht cover, 1500 for the show, and 300 for the beer. I argue that the boy who brought me said no cover and 60 for the beer. The head lady says she knows of no such boy!! I was fuming, ready to fight my way out. Instead, I threaten to bring the police back, which scares them a little. After much yelling and name calling on my part, I depart paying 1000 baht. That much for 1 beer! Later, after going to some legitimate bars (mostly operated by the King's Group) I find that many other foreigners were taken by this scam as well, and find from them that there are numerous other bars that also do this wicked practice. The common part of our stories was that we all got led into upstairs bars which offer shows. My advice: when in Patpong, be extremely wary of solicitors who try to tempt you with cheap beer and free shows, no matter how sincere they may sound. I found that the King's group was honest, but there were also other nice places with beautiful women. All had beer/entry prices posted right at the window so there would be no disputes.
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