Thursday, December 27, 2012

Thailand: Jet Ski Scamers Victimize Tourists in South, Swiss Tourist, 27, Beaten by Operators

This is an old problem that I have raised in the past. Namely, Thailand's unwillingness to tightly regulate hundreds of jet-ski rental operators who charge tourists exorbitant costs for damages that were preexisting before a a given tourist rented a water-craft.

On Wednesday (December 26) hoteliers, restaurants and transportation companies called on local authorities to crack down on jet-ski rental operators at all beach resorts, particularly after a Swiss tourist, 27, was beaten up by four jet-ski operators in Koh Samui for refusal to pay for damages he did not cause.
Fortunately, the assailants that physically attacked the Swiss tourist have been arrested, charged and remanded for aggravated assault.

COMMENT: The reality is that many of the jet-ski rental operators are connected to local elements of organized crime who by design charge tourists with damages they did not cause and threaten them with assault if they refuse to pay.

Part of the problem is a minority of local police who solicit bribes for looking the other way, thus causing tourists to continue to be victimized by the operators, the latter of whom often rent jet-skis only to be later forced to pay inflated sums for repairs when they return the craft.  

Most of the jet-skis already have superficial damage before they are rented out, but the customers tend not to thoroughly inspect the craft before they take custody of it. 

If local authorities don't crack down on the scams, tourists do have the option of choosing NOT to rent jet-skis or face the consequences. Please, buyer beware.