Thursday, October 17, 2013

Thailand: A Lack of Personal Security Awareness Can Be Very Costly for Tourists, Travelers

According to The Pattaya Mail, Thai police are looking for three Beach Road prostitutes who conspired to pickpocket German tourist Thorsten Beinotat, 54, filed a complaint on October 4, after three hookers propositioned him, which he refused.

Before the trio moved on, though, one of them hugged the tourist to try and persuade him to change his mind, but then promptly moved on afterwards.

Minutes later, Beinotat discovered his wallet containing 5,000 baht (US$160), several credit cards and other critical documents was missing, no doubt a victim of a well-skilled pickpocket included in the trio.

COMMENT: The likelihood of local police tracking down a pickpocket regardless of their "real job" is very, very remote, as many prostitutes and "shakedown artists" quickly grab a "tuk-tuk" or taxi to escape to another location miles away where they can reduce the probability of being apprehended.

As I have said so often in the past, the excessive drinking of alcohol and venues known for sexual excess and personal security awareness are antonyms that rarely go together.

Foreign travelers who do have a strong sense of security awareness know all too well that most destinations in Thailand are magnets for visitors being victimized by locals who are very cognizant that alcohol and all-too-available sexual opportunities tend to divert prudence.

To counter the risks that dominate Thai destinations, I suggest the following:

1. Register your travel itinerary and personal information online with your appropriate foreign affairs agency before departure;

2. Thailand has one of the highest levels of foreign tourists and travelers being victimized, injured, duped and even killed than most other nations. Consequently, it is essential that all travelers subscribe to international medical treatment and evacuation coverage which can run as little as $8-10 a day. Without such coverage, if visitors are hurt, injured or become ill they could face the life-threatening potentiality of being denied prompt medical treatment unless they have the ability to pay for such care in advance;

3. Particularly in places such as Pattaya and Phuket, carry only that amount of cash you will need while touring the country;

4. Carry NO credit cards as the risk of being duped, robbed or worse are relatively high, particularly for those who are alone and absent of a cool, sober head;

5. If a sexual encounter is your objective, it is far better to have it occur in your upscale hotel, where there is not only enhanced security, but where "visitors" must provide a copy of their national identity card, particularly those that are "short-term";

6. Another reason to seek accommodations at a luxury hotel is to avoid being victimized, particularly if you're solo, is because most luxury hotels have the availability of a two-key safe deposit box system where you can safeguard your money, credit cards, passport, etc.;

7. If you're concerned that others will know of your indiscretions while staying at a luxury hotel in Pattaya or Phuket, don't worry yourself sick. If you're in either venue, it is a given that you're there to partake of excessive drinking and/or sexual opportunities;

8. With being one of the most pronounced sex destinations anywhere on Earth, please engage in only "safe sex," particularly in Thailand, which attracts people from all over the world, who largely come to the "Land of Smiles" for unbridled sexual adventures;

9. Be mindful that solo travelers of both genders are predictably targeted by criminals, con-artists and opportunists on a regular basis by persons who use "date-rape" drugs to immobilize them so that they can be robbed, raped and victimized. Thus, NEVER leave your drink UNATTENDED; and

10. Be consciously aware that any foreigner visiting Thailand will be targeted while they there. Whether they become a victim or not will be determined largely by their level of security awareness and whether or not they make a "bad lifestyle choice."