Warning: Beware of the scams going on in Thailand’s Jet Ski Hire Businesses
On the 9th of February 2014 David Rimmer, a journalist from Hertford, England, crashed his jet ski into a Speedboat while riding it in Phuket BeachThailand and then had to pay 200,000 Baht for the damage he caused.
Thats over £3600 stirling or $6000 US Dollars a substaintial amount of money in anyone’s books!
Mr Rimmer was pulled from the sea and eventually taken to Phuket Hospital and then the police station. Once at the police station there were negotiations between him and the speedboat owners about how much he should pay for the damage. After some bartering a settlement of 200.000 was agreed.
The British Embassy was contacted but said they could not help!
The Foreign Office travel advice for Thailand gives the following advice about hiring a jet ski:
“If you rent jet-skis or water sports equipment, satisfy yourself that adequate safety precautions are in place. Rent only from reputable, licensed and insured operators, thoroughly check for damage before use and insist on training.”
“Don’t hand over your passport as a guarantee against returning a jet-ski. Unscrupulous owners have been known to hold on to passports against claimed damage to the jet-ski.”
Mr Rimmer is now home safe in the UK, he says that because of this incident he will not be able to afford an overseas holiday for a while but feels fortunate that he was not more seriously injured.
Phuket Police claim they have no record of Rimmer attending the police station being involved in any negotiations about compensation for the damage to the Jet Ski and say any such negotiations were handled on the beach by the owners of the jet ski and Rimmer.
My thoughts on hiring Jet Ski’s in Thailand
The Jet Ski business on Thailand’s beaches is run by organised crime (Thai mafia). They make frequent payments to the local police for protection and for them to turn a blind eye to Jet Ski damage scams and extorting money from tourists. In this case the police facilitated the negotiations for compensation and I am sure received their ‘cut’.
Briefly don’t hire Jet Ski’s from the so called licenced bandits who operate on Thailand’s beaches especially Phuket and Pattaya you are just giving money to criminals.
If you MUST then photograph the Jet Ski before you take it out and make a note of any damage.
The Jet Ski scam centers around claiming you have damaged the Jet Ski while you have been using it. If you argue you are quickly surrounded by aggressive gangs of Thai’s and if you call the police they support the Jet Ski scammers rather than you ….they are not impartial.
This is a scam that has been going on for years, everybody knows all about it, large sums of money are involved and the police let it go on.
Thailand is a beautiful country and well worth a visit but like everywhere there are scams going on so take care especially when hiring a Jet Ski..
There are more details on how to avoid the Thai Jet Ski scam and others on our previous blog on the Top 10 Thai Holiday Safety Tips.