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The book 'Phuket' published in 1985 depicts this tourism pioneer in Patong riding a ''water scooter'' in a ''moment of fun'' at Patong beach.

Tourists Warned to Avoid Jet-Ski Scams

Saturday, April 21, 2012
PHUKET: One of the strongest warnings yet for tourists not to ride jet-skis in Phuket or Pattaya has been published online today under the heading: 'Jet-ski at your own peril in Phuket and Pattaya.'

The cover story at the Indian site,, goes on to add: ''Police are 'hand-in-glove' with the mafia.''

Some of the harshest language we've read is used in warning Indian vacationers, being attracted by the appeal of Thailand's beaches in increasing numbers, to stay away from jet-skis.

''The Eden of their dreams has a dark underbelly which reveals itself on the beaches of Phuket and Pattaya - a local mafia-run jet ski scam which has ripped off scores of foreign tourists,'' the article says.

''The racketeers' modus operandi is simple: they rent out jet skis, which have some damage in a not-so-discernible place, to vacationers at attractive rates.

''Then, when the joyride is over, they pounce on the unsuspecting tourists for having caused the 'damage' and extort huge amounts from them, quite often at knifepoint.''

Phuketwan is not able to verify the contention that knives are flashed frequently in Phuket and Pattaya - we have yet to hear of a case on Phuket - but threats and intimidation are certainly part of the process.

The claim that insurance has brought an end to problems with jet-skis on Phuket is not accurate, according to honorary consuls and police and volunteers at Kathu Police Station in Patong.

Most often, claims on Phuket these days involve demands for the cost of the jet-ski being out of action. If tourists crash a jet-ski, the haggling over the cost of repairs can take hours, often with the jet-ski operators hurling insults and gathering around the tourists in numbers.

Even if the damage is covered by insurance, the operators usually seek extra cash for the period that the jet-ski is out of action. Most often lately, the settlement cost has been 15,000 baht - 3000 baht a day for five days - with an extra 1000 baht for ''paperwork'' taking the total cost to 16,000 baht.

Where two jet-skis have been involved, the total cost is 32,000 baht - even if one of the jet-skis has only lost a layer or two of paint.

The magazine provides details of a case in which Bangalore man Raul Shanth and his father hired jet-skis in Pattaya, taking the precaution of photographing the jet-skis first.

Even though the father-and-son produced the photographs after the operator claimed the jet-skis had been damaged, the pair ended up paying.

''Raul's is just one of the many ugly encounters faced by foreign tourists in Phuket and Pattaya,'' the article says. ''At least four jet ski scams take place everyday, and many of the victims are from India.''

The Thai Consul-General, Chanchai Charanvatnakit, told the magazine: ''The Thai government is concerned about the jet ski scam. As we are an open society, there will always be some black sheep.

''We have asked the police and the tourist police to take stern action against such scamsters. We have also asked the local authorities in Phuket and Pattaya to take utmost care in protecting the interests of tourists.''

Continuing scams on Phuket, verified by Patong police and honorary consuls, are likely to be raised when Phuket's honorary consuls meet with Phuket Governor Tri Augkaradacha and Phuket officials in May.


Comments have been disabled for this article.


Wow, jet-ski scams, who would have known! Why not set up a committee and study the alleged problem and report back in, oh say 5-10 years and then think about it.

Posted by Hartmut on April 21, 2012 10:09

Editor Comment:

Don't hit your cheek too hard with that tongue, Hartmut.


The registration of new machines was banned by the Phuket Governor at the time, about 12 years ago; the idea being that they'd slowly disappear. If someone had the balls to get rid of the bloody things, the problem would simply go away.

Posted by agogohome on April 21, 2012 10:21


2 days ago i could see a disput at the loma beach (patong) between jet ski boys and some tourists. they pay. tired of this mafia story...nothing changes...

Posted by mike on April 21, 2012 11:09


It will be interesting to see if the new breed of tourists puts up with all the scams that have been inflicted on West European & Australian (apologies to others excluded) tourists for many years without resolution.

It is revealing that it is an Indian web site hightlighting this old problem. Asians (& of course Russians) will become the major players in Thai tourism in the foreseeable future. If they start to hammer the 'old chestnut' topics, it will be interesting to see if they can provoke better responses from the authorities.

As Mike states below, "nothing changes", at least for us 'westerners', but we are history & Asian & Russian tourists are the future.

Posted by Logic on April 21, 2012 14:36


Phuketwan is not able to verify the contention that knives are flashed, but there are video clips on the net with JJ a jet ski operator in Patong flashing a gun instead !

Posted by Werner on April 21, 2012 19:15

Editor Comment:

You see something on video, so you think it happens every day? Time you went down there with a camera and reported how many knives and guns are being flashed, Werner.


Seriously if the Thai government was concerned they would do something about it. biggest joke in Phuket alongside Tuk Tuk concerns.

Posted by Dave on April 21, 2012 22:48


Just too damn dodgy. Who wants to spend their vacation dodging scams at every turn?

Posted by titima on April 22, 2012 04:57


Dam typical these scams will never cease there is just too much money to be made, Tourists please i beg you don't ride these dam things I have travelled to thailand 10 times in 7 years and it is getting worse,the govenor should just say no more and the police should check these operators fpr a licence insurance (what a damm joke)will never happen. Its about time that govts around the world put out warnings to travellers or mindful airlines should announce these things onboard prior to landing in Phuket, it will save many sorry tourists. I just wonder do they really care about these tourists,Thailand should take note that these people are chasing away imtending tourists and they will talk in their own countries. Please officials take note escpecially the honourary ambassadors do something concrete before more people you have a responsibilty to your countrymen.

Posted by Alex on April 27, 2012 23:31


Hey Harmut
Its so so pointless to set a committee,waste of time and money, just ban all of the operators as this is just the tip of the iceberg for scams the next best is the motorcycle rentals, please dont get me started, Thailand is great to visit as long as there are no complications.

Posted by Alex on April 29, 2012 13:20


Really, if people are missing the deluge of warnings concerning this, let em pay. I assume the scammed money is staying in Thailand, so what's the problem. I love reading phuketwan, but the expats here really do whine and bang on about this too much... So a rare comment from me.

Posted by Phil on May 7, 2012 18:59


@Phil, they, like me, deep down inside probably hope someone in authority, or maybe the honorary consuls, will read these comments and do something about the problems, making Phuket an even more attractive and safer place to be or visit. As for tourists missing the "deluge" of warnings, just how many people check their destination for scams, rip offs, dangerous security at night clubs or the level of corruption before they level on their holiday, I certainly didn't, and no one I know does, did you, all they want is a happy, fun safe holiday and just where would they see this "deluge" of warnings, certainly not from their travel agents, many would not "surf" the internet looking for possible problems and I dare guess, once in Phuket no one mentions scams,rip offs etc, or maybe you would expect them to ask a taxi or tuk tuk driver, if there are any scams, rip offs etc. lol
As for "but the expats here really do whine and bang on about this too much", by making a comment here, you are one whinger, in fact, you have added absolutely NOTHING.

Posted by Laurie Howells on May 7, 2012 21:07


Editor: Your response suggestion someone should go down there and take some photos shows that you have absolutely no idea what you are talking about. You go down there and photograph the action and see how long you live.

Posted by Nat on June 19, 2012 06:33

Editor Comment:

We've been down there and photographed the action several times, Nat. If you look back through Phuketwan, you'll see photographs taken at five different altercations. Didn't see you there, though.


Editor, you are not psychic, I have photographed a number of scams and have been threatened with death. Therefore I will not do it again. Shame on you for telling someone to put their life in danger.

Posted by Nat on June 19, 2012 07:40

Editor Comment:

Nat, you suggested: ''You go down there and photograph the action and see how long you live.'' Now you are saying: ''Shame on you for telling someone to put their life in danger.'' Can't you see that makes you look like a fool? Let's end this nonsense now. Don't tell us what to do.


today 27 april 2013, I see another jet ski scam in pattaya.

Posted by jakapan on April 27, 2013 14:22


they have been talking about these scams now for 5 years result nothing.perhaps they should institute same as US where can sue for millions for damages?i hear now latest targets are russians big mistake, i lived in bulgaria for a few years where russian mafia operates i can tell you this upset them and you will find these scammers floating in bay with bullet in head perhaps it neads something like this to wake up authorities here ?

Posted by david on May 3, 2013 10:47


We are the latest on this.. :( I happen to read this now after i experience similar one.. we hired a jet ski @ pattaya ..good offer ..but ended up as one of the costliest rent i ve ever made... :( paid 26,000B as repair fee for couple of scratched they showed..they were all over us and there is hardly anything that we can do that time..:(

Posted by cheated on June 24, 2013 16:04


Well, The first thing I say about the Jet-ski Scam is "Every Thing is Planned".

I was very Excited when I saw the Jet-Ski Rider's at Pattaya Beach Thailand. No wonder I wanted to Go For it.

Before I could decide, Jet-Ski Thai Guy Approached me and offered a half an hour Ride for 1000 THB. I bargain and Paid 200 THB for half an hour Ride in advance as they wanted it before taking a Ride.

Now, I got my Jet-Ski and very Excited to touch the sea with a Water Boat (I know it's was my First Time). All of a sudden, the Jet-Ski Guy started taking my Pictures with the Jet-ski, I was little suspicious about it and that was negligible compared to my excitement for a Ride. Now I asked the Jet-Ski Guy to accompany me, informing him well in advance that I Don't know to Swim and Don't know to ride a Jet-Ski.

The Guy Answers me that he is there if any thing happens while riding and also ensured me that the Life Jacket will not let me Drown.

I took a splashing Ride with controlled behavior, ensuring that I am not meeting with any accident and slowing down my speed whenever I felt I should.

Now I am done with my safe Ride and back to the Beach Corner to give back the Jet-Ski.

He showed me the Before-ride Pictures and asked me to Pay 10000 THB for a small "Rear Fiber-Plastic Covering" came out while Riding it. I saw it, and it was loosely screwed and a duplicate one as the covering had two different colours. I said, I am not liable to Pay so much for a damaged Jet-Ski. Suddenly a woman came to me and accused me for damaging it and she also said "Don't lie Every one has seen you damaging it". I was freaked out as I don't know thai and cannot make them understand.
I decided to call the police and my friend had gone to call the Police. Meanwhile the Guy Asked me to Pay 1000 THB. Yeah, you are right he reduces 90% of my Liability.

No, it Not Ended here. Now the police intervened and asked me about the issue and seeing the Police the guy increased the amount from 1000 to 5000 THB.

I told the Police that we are Tourist and just wanted to Enjoy our Holiday and the Guy never informed me about all these Terms and Conditions.

Now Leave the Guy, the Police Man started bargaining with me and also said, if you go to the Higher Officials you will loose a lot of time.

Somehow, I paid him 3000 THB and Left the Hell.

I also come to know that the Police has a share of it.

Whatever, I ended up loosing Money. I also thank god, that I was able to solve this before 7:00 and left the Place.

For Reader's

Please Don't take a Jet-Ski Ride.

If you still want to, you can, at your own risk and you will never get help from anyone and specially Police.

Don't ever write your Hotel Address on the slip they ask you to write.

If you want to Ride then please ensure you are not alone on the Beach and there is someone with you.



Posted by Syed Bareed on June 22, 2014 14:25


August 12 2014; pattaya jet ski people cheated me for 12 thousand baht. They even threatened me.of shooting my family . Very bad experience. What the government is doing. I think nothing . These people are looting the tourists every day. Don't take jet ski.

Posted by pattya big cheaters on August 12, 2014 19:36


Its 2015, and the scam is still on with full swing, I just got cheated for 10000 baht yesterday and was a horrible experience. The damage they claimed had no proof and they threaten to even beat us. I so wish I had read this post before. I guess local police are also an accomplice, otherwise how can they raise their hands on tourists..

Posted by Shubhankar on May 11, 2015 13:31

Editor Comment:

If you wish to talk about your experience for publication, please call 089 6472731

Tuesday May 21, 2024
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa


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