Danish newspaper warns: Beware of Thai extortionists

The Danish newspaper Politiken has warned its readers to be wary of discarded cigarette ends at train-stations and airport tax-free shops in Thailand since officials are on the take and may demand large sums for trumped-up charges. According to the paper the Danish Anaesthetist-Nurse Nils Georgsen has never smoked in his life – nonetheless officials at non-smoking Siam station demanded 10,000 baht to release him, after accusing him of having being the owner of a cigarette butt lying on the platform.
“A railway official came by and pointed at a cigarette end on the platform,” says Georgsen to Politiken. Afterwards he was escorted to the guard’s office and surrounded by station officers who demanded 10,000 baht to let him go. “This was serious. They were very threatening. I tried to explain that I didn’t smoke. But there was no way out – they wanted money,” Georgsen says adding that he eventually managed to bargain the price down to 300 baht. “Then I was allowed to go. That was the most important thing,” he says adding that he understands the reasons that give rise to the problem in that the locals are poor and sees rich tourists a mile off. “That does something to people,” he says.
Georgsen’s story comes a day after similar episodes have been reported in the tax-free area of Bangkok’s international airport. Here, one Dane reported having been demanded some 240,000 baht on trumped-up shoplifting charges.


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