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The normally crowded beaches of Pattaya have been uncharacteristically quiet recently due to the local crack down on Jet Ski scams.
The Tourist Authority of Thailand has teamed up with the Department of Tourism to crack down on corrupt Jet Ski operators and have introduced new regulations and safety standards.
The familiar scam involves hefty damage fees imposed on the tourist, who is strong-armed into paying exorbitant fees for alleged damage to the machine. These large fines are often extracted under the threat of violence, and many tourists have taken the step of lodging complaints with their national embassies after being scammed by Jet Ski operators. Pattaya and Phuket are the two main destinations where tourists have been scammed, and the practice is so well known that there is a video on YouTube which shows the conmen in action, posted as a warning to other tourists.
Under the new crackdown operators are required to have at least a three month legal business license tied to a permanent address as well as a valid insurance policy. Rental shops complying with the new service standard are issued with a ‘Merry Elephant logo by the Department of Transport, this emblem acts as a guarantee that the operator is trusted.
However since the crackdown it seems that the majority of Jet Ski operators have decided to stay away from the normally busy beach in Pattaya and reports online suggests that even some boat operators have decided to stay away during the crackdown.
Many hope that this crackdown hails and end to Jet Ski scams although many believe that the situation is temporary and will return to normal once the crackdown is over.