Bangkok: Two Indian tourists in the Thai beach town of Pattaya, were allegedly forced to pay USD 1,400 after being threatened by a gang which claimed the jet skis used by the duo were damaged after use.
A police official said he came across two Indian men sitting on a pavement, crying and looking stressed while he was patrolling along Pattaya beach on Wednesday night, the Bangkok Post reported.
Medical students Rajkumar Ramachandran, 27, and Prabhakar Tamilmaran, 22, told him they were threatened and extorted by a group of men running a jet ski rental business on Chai Had Road, the police official said.
There have been similar incidents in the past where several Indian nationals have fallen for the scam and forced to cough up hundreds of dollars.
The modus operandi in the crime is very simple.
When the jet skis are returned after use by the tourists, some operators claim that the vehicle has been damaged and extort money from scared non-Thai speaking tourists.
"After we returned the jet skis and parked them next to each other, strong waves caused them to hit one another," one of the tourists said.
Later, the owner and six men surrounded them and demanded an explanation.
The two Indians told them that the jet skis did not bump into one another while they were driving them, but only after they were parked, and that the damage was minimal.
"The men demanded USD 2,000 from us. We were afraid and all we had was USD 1,400, or about 42,000 baht," the tourists told the police.
The gang accepted the payment and left.
"We visited Thailand because it is a popular tourist destination and because Thai people are nice and friendly. We never thought that we would experience this," the tourists were quoted as saying in the news report.
Prasit Mansri, investigative officer at Pattaya police station, said the two tourists had filed a complaint with police.
They wanted police to inspect the actual cause of damage to the jet skis and determine whether it was worth the money they were forced to give the operators.