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Monday, August 12, 2013

"bird feeding" #Scam in BANGKOK

Back to my Thailand Series. At syempre, hindi normal pag wala akong rant post.And this one is a legit rant I tell you-----far graver than the irritating experience in Angkor Wat.

I am sure you have heard of many "scams" in Bangkok Thailand.We had a taste of it during our visit last May.

Bird feeding Scam in Bangkok
the lady in red extorting money from our friend Mitch --garapalan!

We were on our way to The Grand Palace at the time which is only 15 minutes walk from where were staying ---Khao San Road.It was one sunny day and the sidewalks leading to our destination were wide and punctuated by trees so it didn't really feel that hot.

Less than one kilometer to our destination, we passed by an area where there many pigeons.The birds caught the attention of our female companions.Being the photographer of the group, they asked me to take a photo of them with the birds.But before were able to shoo the birds for a dramatic capture, several people approached us.There were five of us and they made sure one of them had each of us covered.In strange English the guy who cornered me said something about feeding the birds for good luck.
scammers in the background, waiting for their chance to victimize us

I refused with a hand gesture.But the Fat Guy (who's looks can't be trusted grabbed my right had, opened one plastic of dried corn seeds and poured them on my open palm.I said "no" with authority but he said it's good luck.Before I say no the 2nd time, he opened another plastic of corn and poured again, then another one and another one.He did it so fast he was like spilling corn seeds making sure they touch my hand before they drop.I was already fuming so I said "stop" in a loud voice.I was about to turn and walk away but he was quick to demand that I pay for the seeds. Pay what? He said I fed the seeds to the birds so I have to pay for it ---20 Baht per plastic for a total of 100baht. And this happened simultaneously to all five us.We were all busy resisting them from opening those plastics of corn seeds and busy again not giving in to their demand for us to pay.
that POKEMON-looking fat guy in yellow 
was the one who mobbed me

They had each one of us cornered that our efforts were uncoordinated.We were just aware that each of us were staging our own word fight with these goons.They are holduppers! And they acted like they are ready to attack if we don't give in to their demand.I drew 20 baht from my pocket, gave it to the fat,ugly guy stalking me.When he said , "no, 100 Baht", I shouted "that's enough" with my index finger raised as if telling a kid to stop misbehaving.I gave him 20 baht just to shut him but he was insistent so I got really mad.I walked away and signaled my friends to follow suit.

Our friend Mek later recalled that he pretended he doesn't have money drawing a few coins from his pocket to show proof. The guy instantly grabbed all the coins even if my friend didn't intend to give them to him.How desperate these people are.In the first photo above, you can see our friend Mitch drawing paper bill from her wallet.I think she also gave 20 Baht.My wife was spared because I was keeping our money that time.Gema on the other hand had this to say.

"hindi ako nakuhanan, maldita ako eh, takot lang nila, oo c mitch nakuhanan , c mek nga db dinakma s kamay nya yung mga coins.Tinabig ko kasi kamay nung mukhang multong bakla eh si mareng teresa nung ibigay s kanya binuksan agad qko tinabig ko sabay derechong lakad, hehehe "

the ugly face of tourism

The incident really shocked us.I heard of many "scams" in Bangkok but I never though it could be this open. Garapalan kung garapalan.

We know Thai people are really friendly and I think this incident doesn't represent Thais in general.We had little interaction of locals except that in areas popular for tourists so it is understandable that those people we encountered behaved oddly.They are there to get their ''share of the pie", except that they wanna do it in an illegal way. They see tourists as walking $$$$.They might have not extorted much from us, but to think they scam people in this manner (in the open), is alarming.

Lesson learned, never engage suspicious individuals in a conversation even if they start it.Better pretend you don't know how to speak English and dismiss them with a wave of hand.Be careful when you walk the streets of Bangkok.

Have you been to Bangkok? Do you have any experience being scammed? Feel free to share your experience and advice by leaving a message below.



  1. emergerd... garapalans.... naku.... mukang mdaming mabibiktima mga yans... tsk tsk.

  2. I remember taking a photo of my friends at Wat Pho. At the back of the temple leading to the Chao Praya River, they had giant, life-like cardboards (not sure if cardboards nga ba yun) of Thais clad in costume with the area for the head cutout so you can pop your face in on that hole. So we took pics. Before we even left the area, an old guy was apparently watching us from afar while we were taking pics and before we took off, he went up to us and demanded that we pay 30 thai baht each (I was with 2 friends). And since he saw daw na I took more than 1 shot of my friends, I have to pay thrice, so 90 thai baht. We just walked as fast as we can.

  3. sorry to know this happened to you and your friends. we've been to bangkok a few times already and thankfully, we never encountered any scams or anything like this. a 100 baht may be cheap but hey, i also won't pull out a cent if i'm forced and coerced.

    gabby fed pigeons in nepal twice or thrice last week and we were never badly treated.

    wish this incident would never happened to you again or to anyone else.

    ang hirap ng buhay, magtrabaho tayo sanang lahat ng tama. :)

  4. This is the first time I have heard of this, maybe because I don't go bird feeding in a park, but it is good to know. It will help a lot if you report this incident to the tourist police, well, because you are a tourist and visiting the place at that time.

    I can probably write a letter to them but I will have to link your post to the letter. The scam I am aware of is when you enter the second floor of a bar where they lock the doors and ask you to pay the bill with an exorbitant price. A friend encountered this and they all went to the tourist police.

  5. nakakabwisit naman talaga oh, naku madining ko pa lang story mo
    ee kumukulo na dugo ko kay kuya maginboo ampness ahh
    garapalan talaga

  6. HAHAHA! Anton, I personally like the captions. I can't help but laugh with "the fat guy in yellow." I had the same experience in BKK and I told them, "You cannot do that to us. Filipino and Thai = SAME SAME." Well I guess it's way worse in Morocco. Nice write up!

  7. @Trish---nahiya ako bigla.wrote this post via mobile and when I checked again, daming mali mali na grammar and words.nakakahiya kasi 1st time mo bumisita tas ganun ang nadatnan mo.Anyhow, edites --and also---yung ugly fat guy, also edited the description ---ginawa kong "POKEMON-looking fat guy in yellow" para mas cute.hahaha

    What's the story in Morocco? Would love to hear it. :)

  8. This is very alarming as in inaantok na ako pero nawala antok ko sa post mo , grbe nmn srap sapakin nung fat guy and the rest , hainku ndi pede sa akin yan nakuuuuu nakuuuuuu nanggagalaiti ako sa galit!

  9. been to thailand five times... most recent was last may never had any bad experience..my first time in bkk ouf researched warned us not to talk to locals esp in tourist areas like grand palace

  10. uhmmmmmm i never thought na medyo ganun pala jan sa Bangkok. I will blog about it in my blog at syempre credit sayo ang story.. thanks for very informative post

    James Bang Files

  11. What I observed in BKK is that they are pesky and makulit even in markets or small stalls they are persistent at makulit talaga kahit napatingin ka lang. So advise, if you're not interested don't even look. Go away on the spot to avoid them.

  12. Aigooo.. maiwasan ko sana tong scamer na pokemons pag punta ko sa BKK :) thank u

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