Thais warned not to 'try before buying' abroad

Thais warned not to 'try before buying' abroad

Presenters invite visitors to buy products from Japan during the Japan Expo fair held at a department store in Bangkok in February 2016. (Bangkok Post file photo)
Presenters invite visitors to buy products from Japan during the Japan Expo fair held at a department store in Bangkok in February 2016. (Bangkok Post file photo)

The Foreign Ministry has warned Thais against "trying before buying" while shopping abroad since it may inadvertently break the laws of the country they are visiting.

The ministry's Protection of Thai Nationals Abroad Division posted on its Facebook while the habit was normal in Thailand, it might not be acceptable in other societies.

Citing an example, the division said on July 25 the Thai embassy in Tokyo was informed by police of Urayasu in Chiba prefecture a Thai had been arrested for theft at Tokyo Disneyland.

While at the theme park's souvenir shop, the Thai traveller opened a box of sweets and ate some of them, the person was apprehended by a guard for theft and handed over to police.

At the police station, the Thai told officials that in Thailand a customer could open a box of sweets in a supermarket and try some before paying the cashier, insisting innocence.

According to the Japanese law, a suspect in an offence must be detained at the police station for 10 days, pending investigation and prosecution decisions.

Since a Thai national can stay in Japan without visa for 15 days, if the investigation takes more than 15 days, the suspect may also be charged with overstaying. If found guilty, he or she will be prohibited from travelling to Japan for one year.

While it is possible to try some food or snacks before buying them, it is customary even in Thailand to do so only when they are clearly testers. Most Thais do not normally open sealed boxes or bags and taste the food inside without asking shop attendants first. If they like them, they would then take a sealed box and pay for it at the cashier. 

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