Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: Phuket homeowners are a prime target for regional fraud gangs that leave their "marks" heartbroken and penniless, with wives of wealthy foreigners often falling victim.

Reports of people being cheated out of tens of millions of baht in such scams are rife on the island, but the victims are often too ashamed to come forward to warn others.

Under condition of anonymity, one victim has come forward to tell the tale of how in just a single day in June she was duped out of the 12 million baht house she owned with her foreign husband in Chalong. The woman hopes her story will serve as a cautionary tale to others who might likewise be taken advantage of.

The story began when she was contacted by a man who claimed he wanted to rent a vacant home belonging to her sister, who was living abroad with her foreign husband.

"He got my number from a sign advertising that my sister's home was for rent, even though a foreign tenant was staying there at the time. He also told me his boss was interested in renting a luxury home with a nice view and swimming pool," she said.

“My home met his boss's requirements exactly, so I suggested I might be interested in renting it – for the right price. In retrospect I wonder if any of my friends informed him that I had a big house."

“Even though I offered to rent my house at [at the very high rate of] 150,000 baht per month, he was still interested. The next day he came to inspect the home where my family and I had been living since 2005."

“Then he drove me to a hotel in Kata to meet his boss, a wealthy Chinese man. He was with another man, his manager, in the room. The wealthy man said he was interested in renting my house and would pay me for the whole year in advance."

“Later they had an argument, with the Chinese man blaming the manager for his loss of 3 million baht while gambling. He said he wanted a chance to win his money back and had 10 million baht ready to wager. He opened his bag to display large sums of cash before leaving the room."

“After the wealthy Chinese man left, the manager said his boss was always losing large sums by gambling and that he was easily cheated, yet he insisted on continuing to play."

“Later, the manager brought a man he said was a 'gambling expert' into the room. During our conversation, they gave me a glass of water. As I had never gambled before, they taught me some basic ways of cheating. At the time I thought 'this is so easy a child could do it…how could that man have lost 3 million baht at something so easy?'"

“The wealthy Chinese man came back in the room with his bag, saying his wife was at the beauty salon but would arrive soon to discuss the rental of my home."

“In the room were the driver who brought me to the hotel, the manager, the gambling expert, the wealthy man and myself. A discussion ensued during which all four of us tried to convince the wealthy man to stop gambling, as he would just be cheated and lose his money again. But the wealthy man said it was his money and what he did with it was none of our business. Whether he won or lost was a matter of chance,” she said.

After a verbal argument over the matter, the wealthy man said that if the four could raise 10 million baht he would play with them instead of going to a gambling den, she added.

"After the wealthy man went outside again, the manager suggested that the four of us come up with 10 million baht, cheat the man out of all his money, and divide up the winnings.

Since he continued to ignore our advice and swore at us, it would be better than having the man lose all of his money at some gambling den. We could then donate all the winnings to a temple," she continued.

“I seemed like everything was a blur as I withdrew my hand after shaking hands with them to seal the deal."

“The gambling expert said he had 4.5 million baht in the bank. The manager had more than five million baht, but the driver had only ten thousand. Then they asked me how much I had. I said I didn't have any savings and wouldn't dare to try to borrow money from anyone. They asked whether I had gold. I did, so I sold it for them. Then I withdrew all the money in my bank account for them."

“After we got the ten million, we gambled with the wealthy man, but because of my play we lost it all. They acted as if they were extremely stressed, especially the gambling expert who kept saying he would get in trouble with his wife,” she said.

It took the group less than an hour to convince her to sign ownership of her house over to a loan company in order to raise money to pay back the money she had "lost" them, she said.

“I can only blame myself for destroying everything my family had. I can only hope and pray the police catch the gang members as fast as possible. Meanwhile I have to find 12 million baht, plus 360,000 baht a month in interest to the loan company, in order to get my house back. I don't know what to do as I don't have any money. All I can do is hope the gang is arrested and some of the money is returned to me," she said with tears in her eyes.

As she spoke to the Gazette she was still negotiating for time with the loan company so that she could find a new place for her and her family to live before the house would be seized.

“We lived happily as a family until they got hold of our house and left us with nothing but huge debts. It is so cruel," she said.

“For a month afterward, the manager and the driver kept calling me – morning, noon and night – to assure me that the manager would pay me back after completing a condominium deal in Australia. They tried to console me and I kept my faith in them," she said.

“A month later, in July, I realized that I had been deceived when the police called me and told me that a gang had defrauded me. I found out later that the gang kept contact with their victims for 45 days after cheating them,” she said.

The police notification was not the result of good detective work, however.

“The police told me that one of the gang had contacted them and been asked to inform me that I had been duped. The police suspect that the three gang members had in turn been tricked by the 'wealthy man', who kept all the money for himself and disappeared."

“After I realized what had happened I went into a mental collapse and cried for days and nights. My husband was also in shock," she said.

“They did it together many times in Phuket. People lost 8 million baht in Rawai. Two victims in Kathu lost 15 million baht and 4 million baht, respectively. There are many more cases in which the amount was under one million. Many arreste warrants have been issued, but the polices still cannot catch them.”

“I heard that people who got tricked by the same gang also drank water given to them."

“When they finish defrauding people they always disappear, but there are still many other gangs. Each group comprises four people. They always work the same way, contacting people who have put up signs advertising homes for sale or rent."

"Some people say that the victims like me are stupid, but they have not lived through my experience so they don’t know. I may be kind-hearted and gullible, but I believe I was drugged as well," she said.

Provincial Police Region 8 investigating officer Lt Col Mechai Nokkaew said arrest warrants have been issued for three of four in the gang:

"The driver": Prasert Rattanaruengmorn, 41, from Trang

"The manager": Thira Thavorn, 50, from Phuket

"The gambling expert": Preeda 'Ti Surat' Lorsuchart, 49, from Nakhon Sri Thammarat

As for the "the wealthy man", police only know that his nickname is "Koh Kia" and that he is from Songkhla Province. As his real name is unknown, no warrant has yet been issued for his arrest.

Lt Col Mechai conf
– Atchaa Khamlo

1

Lesson One:– Do not buy anything in Thailand you cannot own.
Ok! Now lesson Two:– ?

Posted by Dun Blair October 8, 2011 05:10:46PM

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Some deserve to get ripped off due to sheer stupidity and greed. Why do some trust their wives with such large amounts of money?

Posted by Peter Tudders October 8, 2011 05:15:05PM

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No sympathy at all for a greedy lady.

Posted by larry October 8, 2011 05:22:29PM

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A story like this makes me suspicious. It's possible it's all a scam to redistribute the wealthy foreigner's money/assets.

I mean, seriously, who just goes home, gets they home ownership documents, goes back to the gaming house and signs it all over?

It just smells of a scam that is designed to deceive a gullible foreigner who cannot own land, outright and freehold.

Posted by Sceptical October 8, 2011 05:52:06PM

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As sad a story as this appears to be at first look it really is no different than any other con in the world. Greed motivated and immoral intentions.

I have heard many many stories of Thai and Expats alike losing all their wealth to gambling of one type or another here. The woman was willing to take part in a scam to take this man's money.

Whatever they say their intentions were to do with the winnings is irrelevant.

Posted by James Bond October 8, 2011 05:57:07PM

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Greedy woman tried to agreed to scam the "fat cat" and got scammed herself. Greed drives people crazy.

Posted by Relic October 8, 2011 06:08:19PM

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Very Interesting.

I used to live in Kathu. I lost two parcels of land (fraudulent signatures to remove my name and sell share in the holding companies), my house in Kathu (lease cancelled using fraudulent signature), two other properties. Total value about 60 million baht.

I am in the court system but do not have sufficient funds to run all the cases. This is organized crime. There are many like me

Posted by Caesar October 8, 2011 06:23:16PM

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Amazing! Looking at this yes it is easy to say the lady was stupid!, but, and a very big but, con men are very clever at destroying peoples lives.

I hope they get caught.

Posted by Muki October 8, 2011 06:29:09PM

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Very interesting to read that my wife and I were not the only victims to this Thai Gang. I lost as well more then 25 million baht and as well we divorced and our kids are now with me back in Germany.

Posted by Lost all October 8, 2011 06:55:17PM

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I am just wondering how stupid people can be, I am so surprised again ...

Posted by kathutanian October 8, 2011 06:57:59PM

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The sums are staggering, as is the scale of this scam. There is an old saying "a fool and his money are soon parted", but in this case it appears to be gullible Thai ladies leaving their partners broke.

Despite gambling being supposedly illegal in Thailand, it seems some Thais just love to do so, whatever the risk.

Maybe the authorities should legalize and control gambling to remove the mafia influences and scams?

Posted by Logic October 8, 2011 07:51:59PM

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If something sounds too good to be true it usually is ... stick with this and you are safe ... ;-)

Posted by Bjarne October 8, 2011 08:05:13PM

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There's another old saying: "You can't con an honest man". Som num na to those who lost money on this!

Posted by Tom October 8, 2011 08:33:48PM

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I smell a rat. Nobody can be that stupid............can they?

Posted by chrisT October 8, 2011 08:51:30PM

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None of the comments so far has mentioned the water she was given to drink. Although it is both common and polite to offer water, there are all sorts of drugs that can make a conman's job easier.

Posted by Chas October 8, 2011 09:03:02PM

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It has finally arrived in Thailand? Stories like this were common in tourist-spots in the Philippines (Angeles-City, Olongapo) some 30 (thirty!) years ago...When will they ever learn?

Posted by herbert October 8, 2011 09:03:24PM

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Gambling is an addiction and worse than cancer. I don't cry for her. I divorced a woman because of gambling. It is illegal too, and police closed their eyes.

Posted by rb October 8, 2011 09:58:07PM

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Double duh

Posted by mary October 8, 2011 10:24:11PM

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Proof there is one born every day.

Posted by A Wiliams October 8, 2011 11:27:20PM

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21

Isn't scamming a favorite local activity?

Posted by John October 9, 2011 12:18:59AM

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The whole story reeks of ignorance. There are nearly 14 legal requirements and clauses required by statute on all loan agreements that are legally binding in a Thai court of law. The fraud here is simple blackmail and threats of violence. If the people involved simply took the mater to court, or respectable police, it would be thrown out in a matter of minutes! The whole thing seems a little fishy!

Posted by Ting Ton Farang October 9, 2011 01:22:36AM

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Keep your money in your homeland. Plane and simple. RENT! The banks here even rip you off. It's the haves vs the have-nots. Thats the way it will always be. It's very possible the wives were part of the scam. Thanks, Phuket Gazette, for alerting us.

Posted by thomas October 9, 2011 02:37:02AM

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Drugs can make you stupid and extra greedy...))

Posted by levant October 9, 2011 03:27:54AM

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What was she doing going on her own to a meeting with strange men? She's lucky she wasn't raped or murdered. Be warned out there, get street wise, and use a bit of common sense.

Posted by patrick October 9, 2011 07:03:56AM

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This is so common. My friend lost his house/title deed in the same way, or rather his Thai wife did. This Chinese guy is well known in Phuket and his style does not change. They are the team that tried it on my Thai wife (title in my company's name) but she realized immediately. By the way, not sure how it works but they give you some sort of drug as well by touch? Police in Rawai: Get moving on this!!!

Posted by Lewis October 9, 2011 07:49:53AM

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Isn't scamming a favorite local activity?

Posted by John

Seems pretty rare to me. And a bit of common sense could certainly have aborted this one.

Posted by Matt Henderson October 9, 2011 08:18:38AM

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Many times I have warned foreigners about investing in Thailand. Only put money into this country that you would be prepared to lose. I have heard and seen so many similar stories that I've lost count. But to invest huge amounts of money here? Not even if you paid me! Foreigners do not have the same rights as Thais; the law is quite clear on this. Here it is always a gamble – anything can happen in the Land of Smiles.

Posted by reader October 9, 2011 08:19:14AM

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The whole story reeks of ignorance. There are nearly 14 legal requirements and clauses required by statute on all loan agreements that are legally binding in a Thai court of law. The fraud here is simple blackmail and threats of violence. If the people involved simply took the mater to court, or respectable police, it would be thrown out in a matter of minutes! The whole thing seems a little fishy!

Posted by Ting Ton Farang

Ahhhh, I knew it wouldn't be long until the wannabe lawyers came out of the swamp on this one. LOL

Posted by Kat October 9, 2011 08:22:04AM

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The whole story reeks of ignorance. There are nearly 14 legal requirements and clauses required by statute on all loan agreements that are legally binding in a Thai court of law. The fraud here is simple blackmail and threats of violence. If the people involved simply took the mater to court, or respectable police, it would be thrown out in a matter of minutes! The whole thing seems a little fishy!

Posted by Ting Ton Farang

Ahhhh, I knew it wouldn't be long until the wannabe lawyers came out of the swamp on this one. LOL

Posted by Kat

Some people do actually hold legal qualifications, it may be strange to kats and dogs but that's the way it work.

Posted by Ting Tong Farang October 9, 2011 08:59:45AM

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It always easy to blame someone when nothing that happen to us but me it happen not to long ago and my wife tell me. Start from the beginning first she met this peoples with the maid and our child and when she start smelling something funny we call the police wish where very helpfull. Plain cloths officers came with us to get our paper back and we went to the land office in the same time to make sure nothing happen.

Posted by been there October 9, 2011 10:23:19AM

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Yes this lady make a mistake but again all your comments are the one who nothing have happen to them. I think the police will catch them soon because we can identify them easily but we are quite worry also.

Posted by been there October 9, 2011 10:28:30AM

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Saddest thing about this story so far is the comments. Clever con-men can easily dupe the gullible amongst us. You guys should have more sympathy.

Posted by agogohome October 9, 2011 10:35:30AM

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Note for the editor. If you try saving this story as a PDF file, only 2 pages load with half the story missing. A programming error your side I think.

Posted by agogohome October 9, 2011 10:45:14AM

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Thai real estate can be a good investment, and many people have made money with it, although it needs more regulation. Never proceed without a good, proven lawyer, and talk to your spouse early about financial responsibility.

Posted by Philip October 9, 2011 10:52:54AM

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Note for the editor. If you try saving this story as a PDF file, only 2 pages load with half the story missing. A programming error your side I think.

Posted by agogohome

Thanks for letting us know. Let us check and get back to you on that when the programmers are in tomorrow.

Posted by Editor, Gazette Online October 9, 2011 11:13:43AM

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Thai real estate can be a good investment, and many people have made money with it, although it needs more regulation. Never proceed without a good, proven lawyer, and talk to your spouse early about financial responsibility.

Posted by Philip

"...and talk to your spouse early about financial responsibility." Having just read this nightmare story, I've got your advice on my agenda for this evening. I can easily see how some Thai wives could get drawn into this. When I say "some", I'm thinking, say 5%. But I wouldn't want mine to be one of them.

Posted by Matt Henderson October 9, 2011 11:20:51AM

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It always easy to blame someone when nothing that happen to us but me it happen not to long ago and my wife tell me. Start from the beginning first she met this peoples with the maid and our child and when she start smelling something funny we call the police wish where very helpfull. Plain cloths officers came with us to get our paper back and we went to the land office in the same time to make sure nothing happen.

Posted by been there

Good point well put.... I think.

Posted by Keefers Kathu October 9, 2011 12:24:18PM

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She met the flim-flam man, and she got flim-flammed.

Posted by edward c. stengel October 9, 2011 12:37:20PM

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It always easy to blame someone when nothing that happen to us but me it happen not to long ago and my wife tell me. Start from the beginning first she met this peoples with the maid and our child and when she start smelling something funny we call the police wish where very helpfull. Plain cloths officers came with us to get our paper back and we went to the land office in the same time to make sure nothing happen.

Posted by been there

Good point well put.... I think.

Posted by Keefers Kathu

Yes, extremely well presented. You're cruel. LOL!

Posted by David Wilson October 9, 2011 12:41:35PM

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Thai real estate can be a good investment, and many people have made money with it, although it needs more regulation. Never proceed without a good, proven lawyer, and talk to your spouse early about financial responsibility.

Posted by Philip

"...and talk to your spouse early about financial responsibility." Having just read this nightmare story, I've got your advice on my agenda for this evening. I can easily see how some Thai wives could get drawn into this. When I say "some", I'm thinking, say 5%. But I wouldn't want mine to be one of them.

Posted by Matt Henderson

You are forgetting, Matt, the 5% that scam hubby's house away with this fictitious story and get away with it. Tell the other 95% how to do it and what to say. Then, the 5% turn into 10%, then 20%, and so on. No foerigner can own land, outright, in Thailand, so it's always at risk, either from your wife or Government whimsy. Invest your money in your own country and rent here because you can't own it here.

Posted by Gary October 9, 2011 12:59:35PM

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Keep your money in your homeland. Plane and simple. RENT! The banks here even rip you off. It's the haves vs the have-nots. Thats the way it will always be. It's very possible the wives were part of the scam. Thanks, Phuket Gazette, for alerting us.

Posted by thomas

Spot on! also, did I miss something? where was the husband during this time? doing this without him present means she was trying to scam someone out of their money with his money. So did the scammer get scammed?

Posted by kinney oh October 9, 2011 02:51:54PM

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Some people are just plain greedy. Living in a property worth 12 million baht just wasn't enough for her was it? And even after agreeing to rent it for 1,800,000 Baht (one year's rent paid in advance), she still wanted more.

She got what she deserved if you ask me. I hope her husband had the sense to divorce her.

Posted by Terry October 9, 2011 06:49:27PM

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I guess Einstein hit it on the head with: 'There are only two things that are infinite, the universe and human stupidity'..

Posted by Christian October 9, 2011 10:16:54PM

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Best thing for everyone is to rent. Keep your money at home and drip in just what you require. Can't imagine my wife coming back from the shops and telling me she has lost the house. New one on, "Darling, sorry I bumped the car".

Posted by paul smith October 10, 2011 12:51:02PM

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Note for the editor. If you try saving this story as a PDF file, only 2 pages load with half the story missing. A programming error your side I think.

Posted by agogohome

The issue of saving as a PDF file has been resolved. Thank you for bringing this to our attention.

Posted by Editor, Gazette Online October 10, 2011 05:35:26PM

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Anywhere we can get this story written in Thai language? My Thai missus doesn't believe me as I read and translate the story to her.

Posted by Septical Join October 10, 2011 08:02:01PM

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53

Saddest thing about this story so far is the comments. Clever con-men can easily dupe the gullible amongst us. You guys should have more sympathy.

Posted by agogohome

Nicely said. It's so easy for us all to judge but the fact remains anyone can be conned and yes we should be more sympathetic.

Posted by The original Steve October 11, 2011 02:36:25AM

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Anywhere we can get this story written in Thai language? My Thai missus doesn't believe me as I read and translate the story to her.

Posted by Septical Join

You could install a 'browser translator plug-in' like "google translate" which, whilst none are 100% accurate, certainly would give the "meaning" of the story – hope this helps!

Posted by Dan Garrett October 11, 2011 07:23:12AM

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Anywhere we can get this story written in Thai language? My Thai missus doesn't believe me as I read and translate the story to her.

Posted by Septical Join

The Google translator is okay for (some) individual words, but give it a sentence and all manner of nonsense is usually returned.

Careful. I'm sure you wouldn't want the 'missus' to get the wrong message!

Posted by agogohome October 11, 2011 12:04:10PM

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56

Anywhere we can get this story written in Thai language? My Thai missus doesn't believe me as I read and translate the story to her.

Posted by Septical Join

The Google translator is okay for (some) individual words, but give it a sentence and all manner of nonsense is usually returned.

Careful. I'm sure you wouldn't want the 'missus' to get the wrong message!

Posted by agogohome

Gogo is right. Google caused quite a bit of confusion, but we got there in the end. Thanks.

Posted by Sceptical John October 12, 2011 01:29:51PM

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Folks, this is a simple scam that is played out in Phuket by multiple gangs. My wife was in a similar situation when we were trying to sell our house. Nice well dressed lady came around and viewed the house and terms were agreed.

Next day wife is picked up and same gambling game hatched. No dice as she does not gamble.

Found out that heaps of Thais were done same way but too much loss of face to tell anyone.

Posted by Lounge Lizard October 16, 2011 08:03:46PM

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None of the comments so far has mentioned the water she was given to drink. Although it is both common and polite to offer water, there are all sorts of drugs that can make a conman's job easier.

Posted by Chas

And that is exactly what happened to my wife. The drugs in the water.

I was "lucky" enough to lose only 3 million. I might write the whole story one day when I can piece it all together. Most comment(ers) have no idea of what goes on in Thailand, and to say she was just stupid is ,well, just stupid!

You wouldn't be saying that if it happened to you.

Posted by Ptera October 26, 2011 04:19:22PM

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58

None of the comments so far has mentioned the water she was given to drink. Although it is both common and polite to offer water, there are all sorts of drugs that can make a conman's job easier.

Posted by Chas

And that is exactly what happened to my wife. The drugs in the water.

I was "lucky" enough to lose only 3 million. I might write the whole story one day when I can piece it all together. Most comment(ers) have no idea of what goes on in Thailand, and to say she was just stupid is ,well, just stupid!

You wouldn't be saying that if it happened to you.

Posted by Ptera October 26, 2011 04:19:22PM

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57

Folks, this is a simple scam that is played out in Phuket by multiple gangs. My wife was in a similar situation when we were trying to sell our house. Nice well dressed lady came around and viewed the house and terms were agreed.

Next day wife is picked up and same gambling game hatched. No dice as she does not gamble.

Found out that heaps of Thais were done same way but too much loss of face to tell anyone.

Posted by Lounge Lizard October 16, 2011 08:03:46PM

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56

Anywhere we can get this story written in Thai language? My Thai missus doesn't believe me as I read and translate the story to her.

Posted by Septical Join

The Google translator is okay for (some) individual words, but give it a sentence and all manner of nonsense is usually returned.

Careful. I'm sure you wouldn't want the 'missus' to get the wrong message!

Posted by agogohome

Gogo is right. Google caused quite a bit of confusion, but we got there in the end. Thanks.

Posted by Sceptical John October 12, 2011 01:29:51PM

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55

Anywhere we can get this story written in Thai language? My Thai missus doesn't believe me as I read and translate the story to her.

Posted by Septical Join

The Google translator is okay for (some) individual words, but give it a sentence and all manner of nonsense is usually returned.

Careful. I'm sure you wouldn't want the 'missus' to get the wrong message!

Posted by agogohome October 11, 2011 12:04:10PM

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54

Anywhere we can get this story written in Thai language? My Thai missus doesn't believe me as I read and translate the story to her.

Posted by Septical Join

You could install a 'browser translator plug-in' like "google translate" which, whilst none are 100% accurate, certainly would give the "meaning" of the story – hope this helps!

Posted by Dan Garrett October 11, 2011 07:23:12AM

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53

Saddest thing about this story so far is the comments. Clever con-men can easily dupe the gullible amongst us. You guys should have more sympathy.

Posted by agogohome

Nicely said. It's so easy for us all to judge but the fact remains anyone can be conned and yes we should be more sympathetic.

Posted by The original Steve October 11, 2011 02:36:25AM

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52

Anywhere we can get this story written in Thai language? My Thai missus doesn't believe me as I read and translate the story to her.

Posted by Septical Join October 10, 2011 08:02:01PM

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51

Note for the editor. If you try saving this story as a PDF file, only 2 pages load with half the story missing. A programming error your side I think.

Posted by agogohome

The issue of saving as a PDF file has been resolved. Thank you for bringing this to our attention.

Posted by Editor, Gazette Online October 10, 2011 05:35:26PM

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50

Best thing for everyone is to rent. Keep your money at home and drip in just what you require. Can't imagine my wife coming back from the shops and telling me she has lost the house. New one on, "Darling, sorry I bumped the car".

Posted by paul smith October 10, 2011 12:51:02PM

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49

I guess Einstein hit it on the head with: 'There are only two things that are infinite, the universe and human stupidity'..

Posted by Christian October 9, 2011 10:16:54PM

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45

Some people are just plain greedy. Living in a property worth 12 million baht just wasn't enough for her was it? And even after agreeing to rent it for 1,800,000 Baht (one year's rent paid in advance), she still wanted more.

She got what she deserved if you ask me. I hope her husband had the sense to divorce her.

Posted by Terry October 9, 2011 06:49:27PM

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43

Keep your money in your homeland. Plane and simple. RENT! The banks here even rip you off. It's the haves vs the have-nots. Thats the way it will always be. It's very possible the wives were part of the scam. Thanks, Phuket Gazette, for alerting us.

Posted by thomas

Spot on! also, did I miss something? where was the husband during this time? doing this without him present means she was trying to scam someone out of their money with his money. So did the scammer get scammed?

Posted by kinney oh October 9, 2011 02:51:54PM

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Thai real estate can be a good investment, and many people have made money with it, although it needs more regulation. Never proceed without a good, proven lawyer, and talk to your spouse early about financial responsibility.

Posted by Philip

"...and talk to your spouse early about financial responsibility." Having just read this nightmare story, I've got your advice on my agenda for this evening. I can easily see how some Thai wives could get drawn into this. When I say "some", I'm thinking, say 5%. But I wouldn't want mine to be one of them.

Posted by Matt Henderson

You are forgetting, Matt, the 5% that scam hubby's house away with this fictitious story and get away with it. Tell the other 95% how to do it and what to say. Then, the 5% turn into 10%, then 20%, and so on. No foerigner can own land, outright, in Thailand, so it's always at risk, either from your wife or Government whimsy. Invest your money in your own country and rent here because you can't own it here.

Posted by Gary October 9, 2011 12:59:35PM

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It always easy to blame someone when nothing that happen to us but me it happen not to long ago and my wife tell me. Start from the beginning first she met this peoples with the maid and our child and when she start smelling something funny we call the police wish where very helpfull. Plain cloths officers came with us to get our paper back and we went to the land office in the same time to make sure nothing happen.

Posted by been there

Good point well put.... I think.

Posted by Keefers Kathu

Yes, extremely well presented. You're cruel. LOL!

Posted by David Wilson October 9, 2011 12:41:35PM

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She met the flim-flam man, and she got flim-flammed.

Posted by edward c. stengel October 9, 2011 12:37:20PM

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It always easy to blame someone when nothing that happen to us but me it happen not to long ago and my wife tell me. Start from the beginning first she met this peoples with the maid and our child and when she start smelling something funny we call the police wish where very helpfull. Plain cloths officers came with us to get our paper back and we went to the land office in the same time to make sure nothing happen.

Posted by been there

Good point well put.... I think.

Posted by Keefers Kathu October 9, 2011 12:24:18PM

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Thai real estate can be a good investment, and many people have made money with it, although it needs more regulation. Never proceed without a good, proven lawyer, and talk to your spouse early about financial responsibility.

Posted by Philip

"...and talk to your spouse early about financial responsibility." Having just read this nightmare story, I've got your advice on my agenda for this evening. I can easily see how some Thai wives could get drawn into this. When I say "some", I'm thinking, say 5%. But I wouldn't want mine to be one of them.

Posted by Matt Henderson October 9, 2011 11:20:51AM

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Note for the editor. If you try saving this story as a PDF file, only 2 pages load with half the story missing. A programming error your side I think.

Posted by agogohome

Thanks for letting us know. Let us check and get back to you on that when the programmers are in tomorrow.

Posted by Editor, Gazette Online October 9, 2011 11:13:43AM

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Thai real estate can be a good investment, and many people have made money with it, although it needs more regulation. Never proceed without a good, proven lawyer, and talk to your spouse early about financial responsibility.

Posted by Philip October 9, 2011 10:52:54AM

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Note for the editor. If you try saving this story as a PDF file, only 2 pages load with half the story missing. A programming error your side I think.

Posted by agogohome October 9, 2011 10:45:14AM

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Saddest thing about this story so far is the comments. Clever con-men can easily dupe the gullible amongst us. You guys should have more sympathy.

Posted by agogohome October 9, 2011 10:35:30AM

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Yes this lady make a mistake but again all your comments are the one who nothing have happen to them. I think the police will catch them soon because we can identify them easily but we are quite worry also.

Posted by been there October 9, 2011 10:28:30AM

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It always easy to blame someone when nothing that happen to us but me it happen not to long ago and my wife tell me. Start from the beginning first she met this peoples with the maid and our child and when she start smelling something funny we call the police wish where very helpfull. Plain cloths officers came with us to get our paper back and we went to the land office in the same time to make sure nothing happen.

Posted by been there October 9, 2011 10:23:19AM

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The whole story reeks of ignorance. There are nearly 14 legal requirements and clauses required by statute on all loan agreements that are legally binding in a Thai court of law. The fraud here is simple blackmail and threats of violence. If the people involved simply took the mater to court, or respectable police, it would be thrown out in a matter of minutes! The whole thing seems a little fishy!

Posted by Ting Ton Farang

Ahhhh, I knew it wouldn't be long until the wannabe lawyers came out of the swamp on this one. LOL

Posted by Kat

Some people do actually hold legal qualifications, it may be strange to kats and dogs but that's the way it work.

Posted by Ting Tong Farang October 9, 2011 08:59:45AM

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The whole story reeks of ignorance. There are nearly 14 legal requirements and clauses required by statute on all loan agreements that are legally binding in a Thai court of law. The fraud here is simple blackmail and threats of violence. If the people involved simply took the mater to court, or respectable police, it would be thrown out in a matter of minutes! The whole thing seems a little fishy!

Posted by Ting Ton Farang

Ahhhh, I knew it wouldn't be long until the wannabe lawyers came out of the swamp on this one. LOL

Posted by Kat October 9, 2011 08:22:04AM

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Many times I have warned foreigners about investing in Thailand. Only put money into this country that you would be prepared to lose. I have heard and seen so many similar stories that I've lost count. But to invest huge amounts of money here? Not even if you paid me! Foreigners do not have the same rights as Thais; the law is quite clear on this. Here it is always a gamble – anything can happen in the Land of Smiles.

Posted by reader October 9, 2011 08:19:14AM

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Isn't scamming a favorite local activity?

Posted by John

Seems pretty rare to me. And a bit of common sense could certainly have aborted this one.

Posted by Matt Henderson October 9, 2011 08:18:38AM

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This is so common. My friend lost his house/title deed in the same way, or rather his Thai wife did. This Chinese guy is well known in Phuket and his style does not change. They are the team that tried it on my Thai wife (title in my company's name) but she realized immediately. By the way, not sure how it works but they give you some sort of drug as well by touch? Police in Rawai: Get moving on this!!!

Posted by Lewis October 9, 2011 07:49:53AM

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What was she doing going on her own to a meeting with strange men? She's lucky she wasn't raped or murdered. Be warned out there, get street wise, and use a bit of common sense.

Posted by patrick October 9, 2011 07:03:56AM

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Drugs can make you stupid and extra greedy...))

Posted by levant October 9, 2011 03:27:54AM

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Keep your money in your homeland. Plane and simple. RENT! The banks here even rip you off. It's the haves vs the have-nots. Thats the way it will always be. It's very possible the wives were part of the scam. Thanks, Phuket Gazette, for alerting us.

Posted by thomas October 9, 2011 02:37:02AM

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The whole story reeks of ignorance. There are nearly 14 legal requirements and clauses required by statute on all loan agreements that are legally binding in a Thai court of law. The fraud here is simple blackmail and threats of violence. If the people involved simply took the mater to court, or respectable police, it would be thrown out in a matter of minutes! The whole thing seems a little fishy!

Posted by Ting Ton Farang October 9, 2011 01:22:36AM

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21

Isn't scamming a favorite local activity?

Posted by John October 9, 2011 12:18:59AM

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20

Proof there is one born every day.

Posted by A Wiliams October 8, 2011 11:27:20PM

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19

Double duh

Posted by mary October 8, 2011 10:24:11PM

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Gambling is an addiction and worse than cancer. I don't cry for her. I divorced a woman because of gambling. It is illegal too, and police closed their eyes.

Posted by rb October 8, 2011 09:58:07PM

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It has finally arrived in Thailand? Stories like this were common in tourist-spots in the Philippines (Angeles-City, Olongapo) some 30 (thirty!) years ago...When will they ever learn?

Posted by herbert October 8, 2011 09:03:24PM

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None of the comments so far has mentioned the water she was given to drink. Although it is both common and polite to offer water, there are all sorts of drugs that can make a conman's job easier.

Posted by Chas October 8, 2011 09:03:02PM

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I smell a rat. Nobody can be that stupid............can they?

Posted by chrisT October 8, 2011 08:51:30PM

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There's another old saying: "You can't con an honest man". Som num na to those who lost money on this!

Posted by Tom October 8, 2011 08:33:48PM

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If something sounds too good to be true it usually is ... stick with this and you are safe ... ;-)

Posted by Bjarne October 8, 2011 08:05:13PM

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The sums are staggering, as is the scale of this scam. There is an old saying "a fool and his money are soon parted", but in this case it appears to be gullible Thai ladies leaving their partners broke.

Despite gambling being supposedly illegal in Thailand, it seems some Thais just love to do so, whatever the risk.

Maybe the authorities should legalize and control gambling to remove the mafia influences and scams?

Posted by Logic October 8, 2011 07:51:59PM

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I am just wondering how stupid people can be, I am so surprised again ...

Posted by kathutanian October 8, 2011 06:57:59PM

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Very interesting to read that my wife and I were not the only victims to this Thai Gang. I lost as well more then 25 million baht and as well we divorced and our kids are now with me back in Germany.

Posted by Lost all October 8, 2011 06:55:17PM

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Amazing! Looking at this yes it is easy to say the lady was stupid!, but, and a very big but, con men are very clever at destroying peoples lives.

I hope they get caught.

Posted by Muki October 8, 2011 06:29:09PM

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Very Interesting.

I used to live in Kathu. I lost two parcels of land (fraudulent signatures to remove my name and sell share in the holding companies), my house in Kathu (lease cancelled using fraudulent signature), two other properties. Total value about 60 million baht.

I am in the court system but do not have sufficient funds to run all the cases. This is organized crime. There are many like me

Posted by Caesar October 8, 2011 06:23:16PM

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Greedy woman tried to agreed to scam the "fat cat" and got scammed herself. Greed drives people crazy.

Posted by Relic October 8, 2011 06:08:19PM

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As sad a story as this appears to be at first look it really is no different than any other con in the world. Greed motivated and immoral intentions.

I have heard many many stories of Thai and Expats alike losing all their wealth to gambling of one type or another here. The woman was willing to take part in a scam to take this man's money.

Whatever they say their intentions were to do with the winnings is irrelevant.

Posted by James Bond October 8, 2011 05:57:07PM

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A story like this makes me suspicious. It's possible it's all a scam to redistribute the wealthy foreigner's money/assets.

I mean, seriously, who just goes home, gets they home ownership documents, goes back to the gaming house and signs it all over?

It just smells of a scam that is designed to deceive a gullible foreigner who cannot own land, outright and freehold.

Posted by Sceptical October 8, 2011 05:52:06PM

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No sympathy at all for a greedy lady.

Posted by larry October 8, 2011 05:22:29PM

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Some deserve to get ripped off due to sheer stupidity and greed. Why do some trust their wives with such large amounts of money?

Posted by Peter Tudders October 8, 2011 05:15:05PM

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Lesson One:– Do not buy anything in Thailand you cannot own.
Ok! Now lesson Two:– ?

Posted by Dun Blair October 8, 2011 05:10:46PM

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