This post is to forewarn unsuspecting tourists from hiring motorcycles from Rim's Guesthouse on Lamai beach road, or any Thai owned establishment that offers this service here.
This guesthouse is located at the southern end of the Lamai stretch, just up the hill from the Muai Thai gym. The only reason this shoddy guesthouse would be noteworthy to tourists is that it has motorcycles for rent out front and this is the mainstay of its business I think.
I hired a 250cc Honda for 3 days for 1000baht. The old lady I hired it from said that if I chose to have it for longer - 'no problem, I pay after'.
I decided to have it for 5 days. On the last night I had it, I had I parked near a bar I was at, centrally located on the Lamai strip. Incidentally I had run out of fuel and was going to return in the morning to refuel it.
I returned the next morning and found the bike to be missing. I asked around, and nobody reported anything suspicious.
I returned to Rim's Guesthouse and reported the bike missing, thinking for some reason that they seen it and picked it up.
The old lady said that somebody called her and said a car had hit the bike on Chaweng Beach at 12am the previous night, and it was damaged.
Whilst I was at Chaweng for bit the previous night, I drove back to Lamai and the bike was undamaged, so I knew this to be a fabrication.
Eventually a larger man wearing a gold chain and ring (tell tale signs of a low level crim) rocked up on the bike, which had its tail light smashed and a bent peg. He said it would cost 10000baht to repair, which is ridiculous in Thailand for this sort of common bike.
I said I needed a police report (for insurance purposes) and that it needed to be reported, at which point he got defensive and agitated. He said he would take me to the repair shop (no doubt one of his degenerate mates) and they would provide the quote to prove he wasn't lying. I persisted in getting the police involved, he got highly aggressive toward my Thai friend from the hotel who was translating, shouting at her.
Eventually he conceded to involve the police and offered to take us there. Stupidly I agreed (as I didn't have transport at that point). He took us to the Chaweng Police station, and I said to take me to the Tourist Police. He claimed not to know where despite receiving instructions from a police officer. At that point, as he was wasting my holiday time, I decided to negotiation the 10k and eventually settled on 4k baht to rid myself of the situation, which was probably too much. On the way back, I was thinking that the only possibility was that the bike was hit in front of the bar at Lamai at night, but i concludes this could be ruled out because it was surrounded by other bikes and they would have recieved damage as well, and the bar staff (who i knew to be trustworthy) reported nothing unusual, and certainly no accidents that night.
The likely scenario was that the bike was located via gang street walkers, refuelled and moved, then deliberately damaged (plastic light smashed, pegs loosened, bent or even replaced with damaged ones to make it appear tarnished), then the whole situation fabricated. It was a no doubt well rehearsed operation.
Upon talking to locally based foreigners, they warned to never hire bikes from Thais, and only from foreign owned partnerships of which there are now quite a few on Samui. Having since hired bikes from foreign owned establishments here, I highly recommend this course of action. They don't take your passport as the Thais insist and they have a no b.s. system for dealing with accidents.
Also, if you are caught in this situation, don't back down like I eventually did. Demand to involve the Tourist Police. Do it unilaterally without the support (such as transport etc) of the scam perpetrator who will no doubt already have this scenario rehearsed. Involve as many people as you can if you have that option, be it your hotel staff, bar staff, friends etc. and don't be intimidated. Don't trust a single word that comes from their mouths as they are seasoned scam artists and organized criminals. Such an incident can leave a very bad taste in your mouth even when the amount isn't huge.