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