Tourists 'extorted' in jet-ski scam

CHON BURI - A jet-ski rental service and two municipal officers in Pattaya have been accused of extorting 113,000 baht from five Russian tourists, police said on Sunday.

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Pol Lt Phithak Nernsaeng, an investigating officer in Pattaya, said five Russian tourists aged between 24 and 27 years old made a complaint about being scammed after renting jet-skis on Saturday evening.

They told police that they used and returned the jet-skis to the hire company, only to be told that the equipment showed signs of damage, apparently caused by "collision".

The jet-ski operator took pictures of the supposed damage before calling two men dressed in police uniforms into his shop. The three Thai men demanded that the Russians to pay 113,000 baht for the "damage" to the jet-skis, or face legal action.

The tourists told police that they handed over the money because they were scared, but the operator tore up the photographic evidence of the jet-skis straight afterwards.

The group were able to salvage some of the photos and brought them to Muang Pattaya police station as evidence when they made their complaint.

Following the investigation, police said the two men in police uniforms were actually municipal officers.

Police have promised to take legal action against the jet-ski hire service and the two officers if they are found guilty of extorting the tourists.

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