Diplomats urge tourist scams crackdown
PHUKET: Foreign diplomats met with Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, Suwat Sidthilaw, in Bangkok yesterday (July 11) to urge Thai authorities to clamp down on extortion and scams against foreign tourists.
National News Bureau of Thailand
Thursday 12 July 2012, 09:33AM
The meeting followed others that European and Australian diplomats have already had with Tourism and Sports Minister Chumpol Silpa-archa, at which they urged the Thai government to step up safety measures on Phuket.
The most common scams, they said, involve local operators demanding excessive cash payments from tourists for allegedly damaging jet skis, or tricking visitors into paying through the nose for low-quality gemstones.
After yesterday’s meeting Mr Suwat said that consuls from Australia, Germany, the Netherlands, Austria, Poland, Switzerland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Britain had called for a crackdown on scams and organised criminal rip-offs in Thailand.
Mr Suwat responded to the calls by saying that Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has instructed Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubamrung, who is in charge of security affairs, to devise measures to tackle the issue “in a swift manner”.
The Ministry has also been requested to provide the embassies with updates on the government’s efforts to fight crimes against tourists.
Mr Suwat added that the ministry is urging local tourism operators to refrain from scamming tourists as Thailand’s reputation as an attractive tourist destination could be “severely jeopardised”.