MORE Singaporeans have come forward, saying that they were cheated in Thailand - the same way a reader was in a my paper report on Monday.
This appears to be the latest scam to have surfaced in Thailand. The 13 victims who came forward said that they had encountered the Singaporean conman, with one of them meeting the conman as early as five years ago.
Often pretending that he had no money because his wife's bag had gone missing or was pickpocketed while shopping, the conman would ask for amounts ranging from $80 to $300 from Singaporeans holidaying in Chiangmai and Bangkok.
Victims of the Singaporean conman said he showed them his Singaporean passport and identity card (IC) to assure them that he was a retiree back home.
His IC identified him as 'Than Soon Choi', staying in Blk 164, Stirling Road, said one of the victims. Others said he only identified himself as 'Than'.
Three who were cheated earlier this year in March and April said he approached them while they were at Platinum Fashion Mall in Bangkok.
One of the victims who lent the conman $140 for 'train tickets back to Singapore' for him and his wife, editorial executive Wendy Wong, said: "He approached us, looking very flustered, and rambling in Cantonese."
Ms Wong, 24, did not make any police report because she did not have any information about him beyond his fake phone number and address.
Like her, many did not make police reports. They said it is because they had lent the money out of their own goodwill, and thought that they were the only ones to have been cheated.
"It is not about the money. It's more about how our sympathies were played on," said Ms Wong.
Apart from this scam, which seemed to target only Singaporean tourists, there are also other well-known tourists scams in Thailand, such as the gem scam and the tailor scam.
In the gem scam, locals or tuk-tuk drivers approach tourists and offer to take them to buy jewellery at bargain prices. They often say that it is the last day of the promotion.
Upon returning home, the victims discover that the jewellery is of inferior quality and that they paid heavily-inflated prices.
In the tailor scam, the victims are sweet-talked into buying tailor-made clothes, which turn out to be poorly made.
As such cheating cases take place outside Singapore, they are not under the jurisdiction of the police here.
When contacted, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (Singapore) said that it is unable to help victims of such cheating cases unless there is a written agreement made between the victims and the alleged conman.
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