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BEWARE - when hiring motorcycles on Lamai

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BEWARE - when hiring motorcycles on Lamai

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.

Bangkok
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1. Re: BEWARE - when hiring motorcycles on Lamai

I was with you until you labelled everyone wearing a gold chain and ring as a criminal, utter poppycock.

perth
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20,288 posts
64 reviews
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2. Re: BEWARE - when hiring motorcycles on Lamai

This is what I think

I am sorry what happened to you. You damaged their properties just pay and move on. There are many bike rentals on the island with both Thai own and foreigner own but to come in here and accusing every Thai business own are criminal that a bit over the top. I know of course there are some not very nice Thai and foreigner own business out there but what you said its discriminating against the people and the country you are visiting. You might as well leave and go back to your country.

Another thing I bet the locals rental doesn't know about trip adviser to defense themselves of what had happened. So really is only your words here. To me not fair games.

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3. Re: BEWARE - when hiring motorcycles on Lamai

This guy had quite a few gold rings on and a number of tats, pretty standard gangland fair in Asia (having lived in China for a number of years, its a telltale sign) Talk to most of the expats here and they will tell you that significant swaths of Chaweng and Lamai are gang controlled.

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4. Re: BEWARE - when hiring motorcycles on Lamai

Certainly didn't mean to discredit Thai people in general, love this country and its citizens and have been back many times. I won't lie that a bit of frustration tinges this post.

This guy had quite a few gold rings on and a number of tats, pretty standard gangland fair in Asia (having lived in China for a number of years, its a telltale sign) Talk to most of the expats here and they will tell you that significant swaths of Chaweng and Lamai are gang controlled.

Also, I didn't damage their property. The bike was stolen. It was fine when I had it. It was the opinion of Thai friends who were with me that the bike was switched or the damage was deliberately inflicted by the owners. At best the circumstances were suspect. Both expats and locals confirmed this has happened before.

I intentionally highlighted the Thai run motorcycle hire places in Lamai because every time this situation occurs, whether the damage is legitimate or not, they want a completely disproportionate amount of money. If these businesses want credibility, then put in place credible systems for these contingencies that will inevitably occur.

If not, then more people will suffer the experience I have and feel compelled to write it on these forums, and more people will hire from foreign partnership (expat) places until the local places get their act together.

Bangkok
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5. Re: BEWARE - when hiring motorcycles on Lamai

Some of the most infamous motorbike hire places are ex-pat run so your argument isn't really valid. Plenty of ex-pats have no problems with ripping off other foreigners in Thailand. Ever heard of the boiler room scam, time share etc?

Melbourne, Australia
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6. Re: BEWARE - when hiring motorcycles on Lamai

Are you serious?!?!?!

Gold chain and ring - tell tale signs of a low level crim? Please, that is probably the stupidest think I have read on these forums yet.

If you had of done some research on renting motorbikes first, you would have known to be careful.

And if I am to be completely honest, your story just does not ring true. You decided to keep a bike longer than you told them, but didn't call them to let you know. And then you happen to run out of fuel but were going to refuel on the way back. Hmmmm, I am sure we are not getting the whole story here.

Tongson bay, koh...
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for Ko Samui
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7. Re: BEWARE - when hiring motorcycles on Lamai

hi all

i agree with most of the comments above

i also know of this sort of scam as well does happen

it happens with jet ski operators as well

but blaming all thais etc isnt neeeded

if indeed you were innocent then you should have held your ground and had more patience to carry it thru to the end

wasting ones holiday time is part of the scam

also note that most [if not all] bike rentals on samui ,that you alone are responsible for any damage to the bike ,

if you get drunk and leave it somewhere and somebody ruins the bike while your are asleep ,you are responsible for it

if the damage is extensive ,you will only be liable for the excess according to the insurance policy [most bikes have compulsory insurance included with the taxation/registration sticker .

this excess amount is usually written in the rental agreement

[did you have one ?]

also you may find that legally [foreigners are not allowed to rent vehicles /scooters as a business in Thailand]

they will need legal documents in a thai name [partner],so telling people to rent only from foreign owned companies doesn't actually exist

its only a front as well

sorry you had a bad experience

cheers

Dean cleeton

perth
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20,288 posts
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8. Re: BEWARE - when hiring motorcycles on Lamai

Well said Dean :)

Edited: 5:36 am, January 27, 2013
perth
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20,288 posts
64 reviews
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9. Re: BEWARE - when hiring motorcycles on Lamai

And of course steph and Gippy provide very good point too :)

10. Re: BEWARE - when hiring motorcycles on Lamai

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