No one wants to be a victim. Worse, no one wants to have everyone know about it. Yet, Geoffrey King, 55, a New Zealander, who runs an import-export business with frequent visits to Pattaya (Thailand) experienced both because of bad choices. According to the Pattaya Daily News, King met a "lovely" Thai woman in a local department store on the afternoon of September 29, and eventually took the woman back to his hotel room where they had sex. Subsequently, he had some beer and fell asleep.
COMMENT: King awoke at 0130 feeling very, very sick. Subsequently, he called the reception desk and asked to be sent to a local hospital where a physician diagnosed that he had been severely drugged with a sleep agent. When the New Zealander returned to his hotel, he realized that his passport, NZ$2,500, 1,300 Thai Baht, a credit card, a black jacket containing US$960 and an airline ticket were all missing.
From my days as a Regional Security Officer (RSO) at the US Embassy in Bangkok, I'm well aware of how tourists are "set up." Mr. King unfortunately found out the hard way.
Apart of the country's gorgeous pagodas, exotic sites, bargains on high-value gold and gems, superb cuisine, endless tourist attractions and memories to last a lifetime, Thailand's nightlife and overly available temptations can easily dupe those that are not wary and cautious. In King's case, he obviously did not realize that lacing a drink with drugs is commonplace in the Land of Smiles.
For King, it proved to be a very expensive evening. Fortunately, for him, Thai police identified the woman he was with; however, getting his money and valuables back, I'm afraid, may be a bit more of a challenge.
With the advent of readily available cash machines, a useful lesson-learned for all travelers is to never carry more than US$300 in cash. Had Mr. King adhered to this practice, it might well have been a less expensive night. Considering that he was staying at one of Pattaya's upscale hotels, he also very easily could have safeguarded his passport and valuables in a safe deposit box in the lobby.