It is a certainty, proved many times over, that where tourists gather, con artists show up. Holidaymakers have more money to dispose of, in a shorter time, than almost any group. They are out for enjoyment, and forget their own security. And there is a good chance they will leave quickly, providing a reason _ or excuse _ for authorities to overlook crimes against them.
As Phuket found out last week, such classic examples of fiddling while Rome burns bring consequences. Senior diplomats from 18 European countries descended on Phuket with the single aim of criticising and shaming the government and every official and policeman in the island province for allowing tourist scams and robberies to get so out of hand. Australia joined the critical chorus, and it seems Pattaya is about to get the same, understandable disapproval. Bangkok might be next on the list.
Authorities deserve every word of it. In some tourist centres, visitors are treated more like prey than guests. Infamous scams make a long list. The temple jewellery flim-flam, the damaged jet-ski shakedown and the songthaew strong arm are the most obnoxious stories going around the world.
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