Transport Minister Sohpon Zarun on Wednesday ordered Airports of Thailand Plc (AoT) to step up measures at Suvarnabhumi and other airports to prevent extortion scams.
Mr Sohpon gave the order during his inspection trip to Suvarnabhumi airport after a British couple clamed they were the victims of an extortion scam after being accused of shoplifting from a duty free shop. The couple’s claim was reported by the BBC.
The transport minister was also said to have been criticised by Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva for failing to keep the airport to international standards.
Mr Sohpon said he had ordered the AoT to arrange its officials to take care of foreign tourists in case they are engaged in a legal dispute and required to be handed over to police investigators. During this process, the tourists must be escorted by airport officials and embassies of their countries must be informed. This is to prevent members of the scam gangs intervening and offering help.
He said all embassies will be informed that if their citizens encounter this problem they should file a complaint with the Transport Ministry immediately.
The minister said the British couple’s claim will also be investigated and legal action will be taken against those found to have been involved in the scam.