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People ponder just who is being taken for a ride these days on Phuket

Phuket Tourists 'Ripping off Rent-a-Bikes'

Wednesday, August 11, 2010
DISREPUTABLE tourists are ripping off the owners of Phuket rent cars and rent motorcycles, Patong's Chief of Police said today.

Colonel Arayapan Pukbuakao, Superintendent of Kathu Police Station, which oversees Patong, said three or four motorcycles or cars were ''lost'' every month - with tourists either selling the vehicles or just dumping them.

The problem is not limited to Patong. Phuketwan has been told of a case in Phuket City where a motorcycle rented in May and due back on August 3 has not been returned. The renter turns off the telephone when the motorcycle's owner calls.

Colonel Arayapan told a meeting at Provincial Hall today that last month, one Fortuner was found in a used car lot in Trang province, thanks to GPS installed by the owner as a precaution.

Embassies have objected in the past to renters being made to hand over passports as collateral before vehicles are hired.

In the Phuket City case, police are looking for a Lebanese tourist. He will be arrested if he tries to leave the country without first returning the motorcycle.

The owner of the motorcycle has posted images of the ''wanted'' man and two of his friends at
http://www.c2phuket.com/misc/detail.php?post_id=38351
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Comments

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Anyone with a few meters of parking on any road, such as beer bar, hair-dressers, laundry services, tour companies, policemen, civil servants and so on, are able to rent motorcycles without any control by Thai authorities about properly registered rental businesses.
As much as motorcycle and car rentals businesses may cheat on true or untrue damages when returned, we may expect the same cheating from those who rent them.
The best result would be to to have only professionally registered businesses which should be able to run such businesses as we have for tour companies, hotels, restaurants and so on....

Posted by Whistle-Blower on August 11, 2010 20:12

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Its is wrong to take the passport as collateral whenever someone rents a bike or car.
However, it is not wrong to take a copy of the passport. Its right and common sense.
The vehicle owners simple can report to police that the bike or car has been missing and the person will not be able to leave the country.
It's very simple in my opinion.

Posted by KRR on August 11, 2010 20:39

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of course being a sensible business I'm sure all vehicles are insured for loss but it's a lot of hassle.

Posted by Mike Hunt on August 11, 2010 21:01

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I know a bargirl who's hasn't paid her Motorcycle rent for 17months, she changed her phone number and moved in with a friend. Its not only foreigners doing this.

Posted by Antz Pantz on August 11, 2010 21:47

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Aye its Different when Tourists are supposedly ripping off Thais but it doesn't make the headlines when we are getting ripped off daily. Now the locals know how it feels when you get ripped off.

Posted by William Dale on August 11, 2010 23:02

Editor Comment:

There you go, William, using ''we'' as though you speak for all non-Thais. Given the disproportionate number of murderers and alleged murderers, thugs and criminals, drug dealers and even alleged burglars among the relatively small expat community in Thailand, the Thais appear to have a lot more to be worried about than ''we'' do.

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Deflect deflect, deflect. When it comes to rip-offs I forgot it's the tourists fault, of course. I look forward to the Sheriff's comments on tourists BEING ripped off. It's all gone quiet over there 5555555555.

Posted by Mister Ree on August 11, 2010 23:25

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My GF had a car she rented out a few years back, the guy there rented the car took off with the car, found 7-8 months later.

Posted by southbound on August 11, 2010 23:51

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Insurance, authorisation, only copies of passport and police reports.
A new bike costs 50.000 and stingy tourist are only willing to pay 200 b per day for renting it.
The chances of finding a lost bike with the help of a fake passport copy is extremely small.
Try the business before you spread all your vice advices.

Posted by Hotel owner in Patong on August 12, 2010 14:17

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Make a photo of guy with passport, then close up of passport. Better then a copy. Ask for the hotel and then call it for proof.

A Thai friend of mine was crashed on Patong Hill by a Arab tourist and his rental car. As the cars came to a standstill, she could see him jump out and run away. And he got away, thanks to a fake ID. Anyway insured, but never the less...

Posted by Lena on August 12, 2010 16:09

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Well, even the police talks about "three or for" (what? they don't know their own statistics?) motorbikes stolen by foreigners per month. Given the 3 million foreign tourists visiting Phuket every year, this really should not make the news, should it? You even do not ask, if the guys who stole the motorcycles were tourists or expats.

Who pays you for reports like this?

Posted by Martin on August 13, 2010 06:27

Editor Comment:

We are still waiting for your subscription cheque, Martin. Please send it quickly.

The police and most Thai authorities, along with embassies, don't distinguish between tourists and expats.
However, we can tell you that recently, with one convicted murderer and another alleged murderer, property thugs and crims, and even an alleged burglar, expats in Thailand are doing a lot more than simply forgetting to return motorcycles.

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@William, good thought, most tourists/expats would rather just pay the 500-1000 baht to cover "scratches" on the bike than pursue it (unlike jet ski operators that claim scratches and charge 15,000 Baht, where do those scratches come from? Same thinking)

@Lena, great idea! Photo of the renter and the passport before they rent.

@Hotel owner in Patong, do you verify the original passport with the photocopy??? Takes just a minute :)

How can a tourist/expat sell a bike or car without the book?

Posted by Lee on August 13, 2010 14:29

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"Embassies have objected in the past to renters being made to hand over passports as collateral before vehicles are hired." It is illegal to not carry your passport as a foreigner in Thailand. You can go to jail! So, no wonder Embassies would object. It's also illegal for a Thai not to carry a national ID card. They can be jailed as well. So, wouldn't it be illegal for a motorbike rental company to require to hold one's passport in order to rent?

Posted by Jim on August 13, 2010 16:04

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(moderated)

Posted by Mister Ree on August 13, 2010 22:28

Editor Comment:

This is not some point-scoring game, Mister Ree. While there are some pleasant, law-abiding expats on Phuket, there are others who represent the absolute dregs. Some of the tourists are no better. You wouldn't find worse characters. anywhere. To pretend that the expats in Thailand are somehow a cohesive group of nice people, far superior to their hosts, is just plain ludicrous. if you doubt that, do a search on Phuketwan for 'murder.'


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