The Pattaya Jet Ski Scam
I’ve written this exact post about the Pattaya Jet ski scam at least 12 times in the past six months and each time as I’ve gotten to the end I’ve hit the delete button. I was worried that writing about this may come back to haunt me as there is a lot of money changing hands and it wouldn’t be good to disrupt this profitable business. Today I have had a change of heart and don’t care anymore as the jet ski scam continues and is hurting not only tourists but Thailand, and more to the point, Pattaya tourism.
As I walked along Beach Road snapping pictures I saw the old Pattaya jet ski scam play out not once, not twice but three times. So, I decided to take a few pictures of the scam in action. After an accommodating young Thai man threatened to take my life as I took pictures of the jet ski scam, I decided today was the day I would hit the publish button and dedicate this post to him.
Pattaya beach isn’t the nicest beach in Thailand but it does have a certain charm to it. The beach is a gathering point for falang and Thai alike during the day to relax, have a bit to eat or just enjoy a nice cold drink as you watch the waves tumble in. It’s also a place of business for many Thai’s accommodating the many tourists that frequent the beach. From full massages and pedicures to para sailing and boat rides to Koh Larn this is a very important economic area for Pattaya.
If you like you can also rent a jet ski for 1200-1500 baht for half hour and have a little fun. There are many jet ski operations along Pattaya beach and while you think it small money for a little bit of fun, think again as that half hour will cost you much more than the agreed upon 1200-1500 baht.More like 40,000-50,000 baht.
Let me be very clear before I move on, Every jet ski operator on Pattaya beach is involved in the Pattaya jet ski scam, I have personally seen the Pattaya jet ski scam played out daily at every jet ski rental on Pattaya beach…You have been warned.
Pattaya Jet Ski Scam #1
As I sat by Soi 2 on Beach road in Pattaya the following jet ski scam took place. You can see all the players involved from the jet ski renters to the main boss ( wearing a gold Rolex ) and , of course the police officer. I came into the scene just as the police officer moved everyone over to the beach chairs for negotiations. At one point one of the middle eastern men left the discussions followed by one of the jet ski operators. He went across the street to an illegal money changer and exchanged some money. He was at all times watched over by the jet ski thug.
When the man went back to the negotiations this was obviously not enough money and more talk was needed. Eventually they all went with the police officer to get a baht bus. Whether they were heading to the hotel to get more money ( usually the case ) or heading to the police station I don’t know but the jet ski operator was clearly not happy. Photo’s follow the storyline.
While I am absolutely certain that the jet ski scam took place I don’t know whether they left for the hotel to get more money as the money offered was not sufficient or if they headed to the police station for more negotiation. 90% of the time the hotel is the destination to secure more funds. I had to be very careful taking these pictures as I didn’t want to be seen. The Thai motorcy taxi drivers near me as well as many beach vendors were all laughing and pointing at the falang being taken in the Pattaya jet ski scam, there were also openly talking about it.
The Anatomy of the Pattaya Jet Ski Scam
You are walking along Pattaya beach and you see some jet ski’s moored in the water, you think, this could be great fun. You are then approached by the jet ski rental person and told that one half hour will be 1200-1500 baht. You agree to the price and then the trouble begins. Before you go out on the jet ski a rental agreement is produced for you to look over and sign. The rental agreement states, in very good English, that you, the renter, are responsible for any and all damage that occurs to the jet ski.
After you sign the rental agreement you are led to your respective jet ski and offered to take a good look at it before you take off. Here is where the jet ski scam begins. Being as the jet ski is moored in the water you can only visibly inspect the part of the jet ski that is above water. The jet ski operators know this and they also have a nasty little secret, the jet ski’s hull is already damaged but you can’t see it.
So, you look the jet ski over and it seems okay and they will probably have you sign something to this affect. You go out for your half hour of fun and then you head back in to the beach. You pull up short and stop the jet ski in the water where you originally boarded it. As you get off one of the jet ski operators assistants boards the jet ski and drives it right up onto the beach. Now the Pattaya jet ski scam is in full effect.
As soon as the jet ski hits the beach one of the rental assistants points to the hull and exclaims ” what did you hit” , of course you didn’t hit anything and you know it, they know it too but they are now looking at damage on the jet ski that you visually inspected before and probably signed off on only to see ” new damage” They may even produce pictures of the jet ski taken that day that proves the damage was not there.
The damage was always there, and as a matter of fact more than a handful of tourists have already paid for that same exact damage. The pictures of the undamaged jet ski are all part and parcel of the Pattaya jet ski scam. You see, the damage is usually slight hull damage that has the fiberglass chipped. The hull is usually a solid color, so, in the morning they paint over the damaged area and take some pictures. As the day wears on the paint wears off and guess what, you are being blamed for the damage.
By now several of the other jet ski assistants are around and someone with repair knowledge is on hand or called to come have a look. It seems the damage is much more extensive than it looks and you are looking at 40-50,000 baht in repairs. You are now upset and frustrated as you know you did not cause any damage to the jet ski. You are also starting to notice more Thai guys hanging around and the main players are starting to get angry.
You continue to protest your innocence and probably have refused to pay, this only further angers the jet ski boys and they may at this point threaten you with physical harm. You think the only smart thing to do is call the police, the jet ski operator will probably agree and go get a police officer. This may make you feel better as the law is now going to be involved. Yes the law will now be involved but not to help you as they are just another player in the Pattaya jet ski scam.
The police officer will now move you and the jet ski operators away from the scene of the damage to someplace close to sit and talk. You will be told that you signed an agreement to pay for damage and he will help negotiate that price. If you don’t pay there is a chance you will have to go to the police station. They know this will scare you and it always plays to their advantage. Before you know it you are being escorted to an ATM and or your hotel room to get the money.
Pattaya Jet Ski Scam #2
As I walked back up Beach Road towards home I thought about the Pattaya jet ski scam I just encountered and wished I could have gotten pictures of the jet ski scam that I witnessed before that one. I also knew I was heading towards one of the most infamous Pattaya jet ski scam locations and just as I approached the jet ski scam was in full three ring circus mode with a crowd gathering.
Two youngish falang tourists apparently rented jet skis and when I approached they were in full confrontation mode exclaiming their innocence. The Main player in this scam is the Thai guy with blondish hair. He is well known for running the Pattaya jet ski scam daily and often resorts to violence when he thinks he can get away with it.
With a crowd around I decided to take a few pictures, as I did the main Thai thug yelled to me ” You don’t take pictures or you get hurt” I took a good look around and reasoned that he didn’t have enough back up so I shot back ” go fuck yourself”. At this point another Thai, of about 12 years, approached me and told me I can’t take pictures wherever I want and I could get hurt. I told the cute lad to fuck off and not to come back unless it was with his mother. Pictures below.
This Pattaya jet ski scam took place close to Mikes Shopping Mall and luckily for me a place on the beach where many tourists congregate. I shouldn’t have talked back to the Thai scumbags running the scam but the main thug in the flowered swim trunks and blondish hair was starting to threaten violence on the tourists and I gave them a nice diversion while they called the tourist police. There weren’t enough Thai’s around to help them so I was confident that if they did come after me I stood a good chance.
Pattaya Jet Ski Scam Reality
Pattaya City Hall, the police and everyone who lives in Pattaya knows about the jet ski scams and many people profit from it as well. The police most definitely pocket money for helping to facilitate the scam and I wouldn’t doubt Pattaya City Hall knows about other players in the scam as well. There is a lot of money being made and you can bet that that money flows uphill.
Pattaya city Hall and the Mayor of Pattaya, Itthiphol Kunplome, may not be in on the Pattaya jet ski scam but they are just as complicit as the main players because they know all about the scam and let it continue on Pattaya Beaches.
The Mayor of Pattaya, Itthiphol Kunplome, is always saying that he wants Pattaya to be a top tourist destination, Well, I have news for you Mayor; until you stop the Pattaya jet ski scam and other criminal activities played out around town against tourists, Pattaya will never be a top tourist destination.
Do you think it’s good publicity for Pattaya that tourists return home only to tell stories about how they were ripped off for 50,000 baht and how the police helped in the scam. Or worse yet how about when they return home beaten to a bloody pulp because they refused to bend to the will of the Thai thugs running these scams.
Shame on you Mayor and Pattaya City Hall, shame on you. You have all the tools in your power to stop these crimes immediately and yet they continue as you put together committee’s to look into the problem.
Talk is cheap Mayor, but it seems renting a jet ski in town is not!
Potential Pattaya Jet Ski Scam Tourists
DO NOT RENT A JET SKI IN PATTAYA if you do there is a greater than 80% chance that you will be targeted for the Pattaya jet ski scam. The jet ski operators look for the same marks all the time. They like young guys and young men & women in groups. They especially like to go after those of middle eastern decent with their jet ski scam.
The jet ski operators along with the police will try and tell you that not paying for the damage is a criminal matter. This is another lie in the jet ski scam to scare you. The agreement that you signed with a jet ski operator and any subsequent damage discovered is a civil matter and at most the only action a jet ski operator can take is to bring a law suit against you for damages. You can not be jailed or forced to pay for any jet ski damages.
DO NOT RENT JET SKIS IN PATTAYA
Tell everyone you know to never rent jet skis in Pattaya because if you do you will run into trouble. Pattaya City Hall will not help you, the police will not help you, The Pattaya jet ski scam is real and happens on a daily basis.
Further reading on the matter: