Carnival Magic
Carnival Magic 333 at the beach Pro Property Partners British International School, Phuket
The Phuket News Novosti Phuket Khao Phuket

Login | Create Account | Search

Police target tourist hunters

BANGKOK: Police are stepping up measures to protect foreign visitors as scam artists and criminals are back on the prowl now the country has reopened to overseas tourists.

By Bangkok Post

Saturday 17 December 2022, 10:22AM

People are seen at Suvarnabhumi airport. In response to security needs, a data centre will be established to crosscheck traveller information. Photo: Somchai Poomlard / Bangkok Post

People are seen at Suvarnabhumi airport. In response to security needs, a data centre will be established to crosscheck traveller information. Photo: Somchai Poomlard / Bangkok Post


Last Saturday, Thailand recorded 10 million foreign tourist arrivals for the year, with celebrations to welcome overseas visitors taking place at seven airports and two immigration checkpoints, reports the Bangkok Post.

The Tourism and Sports Ministry organised an "Amazing Thailand 10 Million Celebrations" event to highlight the steady revival of the vital tourism industry after a COVID-induced downturn that lasted more than two years.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha was at Suvarnabhumi airport to welcome the 10-millionth visitor of the year, arriving on a flight from Saudi Arabia.

Pol Lt Gen Sukhun Prommayon, commissioner of the Tourist Police Bureau (TPB), told the Bangkok Post that most visitors come from neighbouring countries, with those from Malaysia making up the largest number, followed by India, Laos, Cambodia and Singapore.

As for arrivals from the West, visitors from the UK, the US and Germany are also coming in large numbers, he said, adding police are rolling out measures to ensure safety for tourists, he said.

He said that bicycle, motorcycle and car patrols are being stepped up in several provinces that are home to major tourist attractions.

Scam artists are back

With the influx of foreign arrivals, con artists are also back on the streets to prey on overseas visitors in tourist hotspots, he said.

Con artists, including some taxi or tuk-tuk drivers, are often spotted near the entrance to major tourist venues or temples. They tell unsuspecting foreigners that the place is "closed" and take them shopping elsewhere.

Some victims are taken to a tailor’s or a jewellery outlet where they will be conned into buying low-quality or worthless items at inflated prices, Pol Lt Gen Sukhun said.

Tourist police are working with immigration and local officers to deal with the problem, with warning signs posted at airports and other tourist locations.

Foreign visitors can dial 1155 to contact the TPB’s emergency response centre, which can provide assistance in English, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Russian, Indian and Arabic languages, he said.

They can also download the "Tourist Police I Lert U" mobile app for free to contact police around the clock when in need of assistance. The app is available in English and Thai and is linked to the 1155 emergency response centre.

Those in need of help can take a photo of an incident and upload it via the app to contact the TPB, which will send officers to the scene straight away.

"We are trying to make the most use of modern technology to support our work. We also put up signs at airports and other locations to encourage foreign visitors to download the app or contact the 1155 centre," Pol Lt Gen Sukhun said.

Safety upgrade

He said the app would be upgraded to handle an expected surge in foreign arrivals, and it will be renamed "Thailand Tourist Police".

The Pavilions Phuket

A data centre will be opened at TPB headquarters at Suvarnabhumi airport, linking with a system analysing information about suspects in the police force’s database, he said.

Tourist police will also wear body cameras to record interactions with others, while licence plate recognition cameras will also be installed in police patrol vehicles, he said.

A system will also be devised to integrate and analyse footage from surveillance cameras from 33 tourist police stations across the country."When tourists alert police via the Thailand Tourist Police app, the information will be circulated to all the 33 tourist police stations as well as other local stations," Pol Lt Gen Sukhun said by way of explanation.

Problems vary

He added that the TPB wants to stress the safety of foreign visitors in major tourist spots such as Bangkok, Phuket, Chon Buri, Chiang Mai, and Koh Samui district of Surat Thani, as problems vary from place to place.

In Bangkok, many tourists visit the capital for the first time, and they may encounter problems from taxi or tuk-tuk drivers, particularly those who collude with rip-off artists, he said.

"Tourist police are working with the Department of Business Development, the Commerce Ministry, and the Tourism and Sports Ministry to counter these scammers," he said.

As for Phuket and Samui, police are keeping an eye out for local criminals who prey on foreign tourists, Pol Lt Gen Sukhun said, adding that some are drug addicts or former convicts who may reoffend by committing rape or theft.

Tourist police are joining forces with local authorities and police to monitor former convicts as well as ask people in local communities to support police efforts to maintain law and order," Pol Lt Gen Sukhun said.

In Pattaya and Chon Buri, most foreign visitors now come from India, but tourists from Europe are also returning steadily.

There are many complaints about transvestites or ladyboys swindling, robbing and attacking foreign tourists in Pattaya, he said.

These crimes were low during the pandemic, but they are now rising again since the country reopened to tourists, he added.

On Dec 2, police arrested two transvestites for stealing a gold necklace from a Russian tourist called Artem Kurisev in Pattaya, he added.

Before the pandemic, foreign visitors to Chiang Mai mostly came from China and South Korea. Currently, many of them are from Europe, and they enjoy exploring forests, mountains, and hot springs in this northern province, Pol Lt Gen Sukhun said.

Police have to ensure their safety as well as prevent any potential clashes between tourists and local villagers, he said.

The TPB also works with the Department of Tourism to regularly inspect tourism facilities catering to adventure lovers to ensure they meet safety standards, he said. If they fail to do so, their operating licences will be immediately revoked, he added.


Comment on this story

* Please login to comment. If you do not have an account please register below by simply entering a username, password and email address. You can still leave your comment below at the same time.

* (Not Hotmail/Outlook)

Capricornball | 20 December 2022 - 09:57:08

Congrats to pascale, you are now in the running with harald and dekass for the most nonsensical comments on PN. And for the record, my back yard is clean and looking awesome!

Kurt | 19 December 2022 - 17:19:46

Pooliekec forget that Putin called up 300,000 man for his front in Ukraine. Who didn't show up was arrested. The only 'volunteers' are prisoners, sent untrained/unprepared to the front. Many died already at the most dangerous locations.

DeKaaskopp | 19 December 2022 - 15:34:42

Yup,to the nearest 7/11 to buy 285 and back ! Probably the only place you meet them.

Pascale | 19 December 2022 - 14:02:35

@Capricornball   As you know so much about all the illegal businesses including those involved  in it, maybe it's time to clean your own backyard first instead of finger pointing !

Capricornball | 19 December 2022 - 12:15:32

Actually I do Dekas...every day. The streets are filled with draft-aged Russians, and I know numerous people with multiple properties that are all filled with young Russians (some with wives and kids) that are here for long-term contracts. I also know many Russians are involved in illegal businesses, primarily catering to Russians, thus depriving the local economy of much needed commerce.

DeKaaskopp | 18 December 2022 - 13:14:08

Sadly Capricornball shows his cluelessness again. The vast majority of Russian tourists are couples of all ages,some with children who stay here for a couple of weeks. Just shows again who actually doesn't leave his house much,otherwise he would know better.

Pooliekev | 18 December 2022 - 12:05:04

@Capricornball. There is no draft in Russia, only a mobilisation which a few minutes checking would have told you.

JohnC | 18 December 2022 - 10:23:28

It's not always the locals doing the conning. Let's not forget that many of these 'tourists' are also scam artists who come here hiding from their crimes at home and have a holiday in the sun while scamming gullible tourists as well. Pays for their trip and they avoid being forced to go to war or imprisoned. 

Capricornball | 17 December 2022 - 16:38:56

Odd how some of the most notorious scammers (not counting taxi vermin) are not mentioned. Previous articles have noted that Russians are leading the so called "tourist revival", and have been reported as the majority of arrivals to Thailand. Many are not tourists, but are draft-age males fleeing their country for the long term. Many of these "tourists" could also be a great sou...

Old guy | 17 December 2022 - 10:46:04

Don't have to look far to find the worse scammers, just look within. 


Have a news tip-off? Click here


Phuket community
Vachira providing pay-for Pfizer jabs for foreigners

Well this vaccine Thailand, get free from many countries. It’s thIs another scam ?...(Read More)

Haze returns with a vengeance

...Keep monitoring, and do nothing to change things for the better. Many potential foreign tourists ...(Read More)

Vachira providing pay-for Pfizer jabs for foreigners

As a Retiree I received here 4 Pfizer vaccinations free of charge. So, nr 5 later, will cost a forei...(Read More)

Haze returns with a vengeance

Words 'haze' and smog' ' used alternate for the same dangerous pollution. WHO ...(Read More)

Haze returns with a vengeance

Accumulated dust and stagnant air??? Really! Apparently nothing to do with the yearly illegal burnin...(Read More)

Rotary Clubs rally for coral reef restoration

Interesting location chosen for this initiative. Goh Maithon not known for it's reefs or for scu...(Read More)

Taxi scam concerns visitors the most

The best way to treat the "illegal" taxis is to legalize them...thus forcing the existing ...(Read More)

Taxi scam concerns visitors the most

So, right on the heels of this story is the PLTO taxi mafia and their criminal cartels crying and ca...(Read More)

Policemen who stopped Taiwanese actress face bribery charges

@JohC: "Charges" are rarely conviction or penalized in payoff happy Thailand. And, you rar...(Read More)

Crackdown on illegal Phuket taxi drivers launched

more schedules bus services please - what happened to the electric bus project in Patong - why are m...(Read More)