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Phuket Tourists Accused of 'Lost Goods' Scam

Monday, October 12, 2009
FIVE Israeli tourists on Phuket have been accused of attempting to defraud insurance companies by making false reports about lost cameras, telephones, a laptop and perfume.

The five have been allowed to go free because police were told ''the case might damage relations between Thailand and Israel.''

Police Lieutenant Colonel Preecha Jongserm, of Patong's Kathui Police Station, said officers became suspicious after the five tourists - three men and two women - went to the police station, one by one.

The five arrived on Phuket from Samui by bus yesterday morning.

One by one, each went to the police station and each reported items lost. An officer became suspicious when he noticed they were all staying at the same hotel.

When police went to the unnamed hotel to check each of the five rooms, they found the allegedly missing items.

One of the Israelis told a policeman by way of explanation, ''Oh, I have two laptops, and two cameras . . . '' But the officers did not believe them, Lt. Colonel Preecha said.

The five were taken to the police station. Lt. Colonel Preecha said he called the Israeli embassy in Bangkok and told officials there what had happened.

He said he was told that, because it was a first offence, it would be appropriate for the five to be warned, and allowed to go.

Anything more might ''damage relations between Thailand and Israel,'' Lt. Colonel Preecha said he was told.

The five were given a strict warning and allowed to go. Lt. Colonel Preecha told Phuketwan ''This kind of thing happens too often. A lot of police time is devoted to attempted scams by tourists.''

Police would often have to double-check on these kinds of claims, he said.

''Tourists should know that it's dishonest to claim for items unless they have been genuinely lost or stolen.''

Police did not pursue a case for charging the five with making false reports.

A spokesperson at the Israeli embassy in Bangkok confirmed the circumstances of the case. She said she believed it was the first case of its kind involving Israelis.

The number of Israelis coming to Thailand has risen to 140,000 a year, and appears likely to keep on growing. Establishment of Jewish centres and kosher food outlets in Thailand's most popular tourist destinations has allowed more Israelis to travel.

Attempts to defraud insurance companies are thought to be fairly widespread, especially among young travellers who run short of cash.
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Comments have been disabled for this article.


A thief is a thief is a thief.
Pity the Israeli embassy was so lenient. It set a very bad example.

Posted by Sir Burr on October 12, 2009 15:33


Perhaps if the police had gone through with pursuing their case of making a false report then they wouldn't be wasting so much more time in the future with false reports.

This is incredible, Simon Burrowes goes to jail for being rude, the Australian woman goes to jail for a beer mat and five scumbag backpackers can break the law, lie to policemen and engage in insurance fraud and get away with it, because the embassy said so?

Posted by Vfaye on October 12, 2009 22:24


With all the respect to all parties the information given by this article is INCORRECT and INCOMPLETE.

So it happens that I am familiar with the details of the case and, luckily for the publication /reporter, I am not one of the people that was involved in the case or the publication would have to deal with a major law suit .

The line ***** ****t is known as problematic bus line were thinks go missing .It is not the first and not the second time that it happened and it goes pretty simple the driver puts loud music and the "helpers" are busy cleaning the valuables in the luggage compartment . Anyone that wants to check please see the all the complains on this line in the last few years (maybe that is the place for some efforts by the police ).

And now some facts: The whole group went to give the statement together at the police station due to the fact that they are 3 couples all friends and 2 of them are in there honeymoon, not really the time and place to deal with insurance scams .The Israel Embassy was contacted by one of the people accused and not by the police .

And the police officer went to check the rooms because it is standard procedure when opening a complain case . NONE OF THE ITEMS THAT WERE REPORTED AS STOLEN WERE FOUND .

Beside that I don't know what about you but if I go with my wife somewhere I am usually taking 2 mp3 2 cellphones and 2 cameras but that is maybe just my couture . Please before you write something and or publish anything get the facts right if not the story otherwise you might end up with a lawsuit if the credibility of the publication is not important.

Editor: We named none of the people involved, so we have not damaged any individual's reputation. We reported what the police told us and checked with the Israeli embassy, who confirmed the circumstances. It was not possible for us to check with the people concerned because we were not given their names, or the name of the hotel at which they were staying. If someone wishes to come forward, identify themselves, and tell us a different version of events, please do so.

Posted by Anonymous on October 14, 2009 20:49

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