When Duty-Free Isn’t So Duty-Free

duty free


Due to an incident at a duty-free shop in the Bangkok airport, travelers are being warned not to touch things in duty-free shops that they aren’t planning on buying.  A couple was arrested after leaving a duty-free shop at the Bangkok airport and told that a wallet had gone missing. Even though the wallet wasn’t found on the couple, they were still detained and put in separate rooms.  They were then told by a middleman if they didn’t pay the equivalent of $13,000 that they would be taken to prison.  Of course, the police were in on this scam and were going to be splitting the money with the middleman.

Take care not to touch items in duty-free shops that you aren’t buying.  In Bangkok, I would suggest not shopping at the duty-free shop at all.

Also make sure when flying into Thailand, that you always declare and show any duty-free items. They have a scam going where officials will meet people stepping off the plane and tell people that they don’t need to declare their items, but then later the tourist will be fined for not declaring everything.  There is even an ATM right next to the customs office to aid people in paying these “fines.”

Other scams happen like this around the world.  Cambodia is another area known for arresting tourists and expecting them to pay huge sums to be released.  It’s always a good idea to research the laws in a foreign country before traveling there, as the laws can be very different from the laws in your own country.


  1. Jennifer