PHUKET: A distraught Greek was found lying in the middle of the road in front of a property that he claimed his girlfriend had cheated him out of, along with about two million baht.
When Konstantinos Vardas’s mid-road protest caused a traffic jam in the vicinity of Tha Reua Temple, Thalang Police and Kusoldham rescue workers were called to the scene.
“We found Mr Vardas, 56, in a distressed state. He was shouting something about wanting his property back,” said Capt Narong Muangduang of the Thalang Police.
“We used a translator to communicate with Mr Vardas for about one hour, and learned that he was certain that his girlfriend had cheated him out of both the property and about two million baht,” Capt Narong said.
After Mr Vardas regained his composure, police brought him to Thalang Police station to try to establish the facts of the case.
“My partner’s name is Kanwee Wanwijit. She is 50 years old, and we had lived together for three or four years. We bought a house at Phuket’s Baan Charoen Sook Estate to live together in,” Mr Vardas told the police.
“When I came back from my trip to the USA, I learned that the document of property ownership had been transferred. Moreover, about two million baht had gone missing from my bank account.
“Now I have no money to buy any food,” he said.
Mr Vardas was unable to find his partner to sort out the situation.
“I’m in a desperate state, and would like my embassy to help me,” he said.
The Tourist Police have been contacted with regards to the case, Capt Narong explained.
Sometimes, I wonder why this story is still being told, being as much a cliche as “history repeats itself”. But right at this moment, a once close friend of mine (who has been repeatedly warned) is walking into the same trap. He didn’t like my advice and has effectively unfriended me for sowing discord between him and his Thai girlfriend.
To be fair, it’s not always a simple case of Thai girlfriend swindling an infatuated Farang. Sometimes, it’s a case of the Thai family over-estimating the financial muscle of the foreigner. Many foreigners living in Thailand claim that they are being supported by their kind and generous Thai hosts. These are nice people they’ve never come across back home and to a certain extent, they are right. Thai people are nice, friendly and hospitable, but the naive Farang tries to push it.
Many Farang residents (like my friend) boast that they don’t need to spend any money in Thailand. They have their meals in the Thai’s home and they live there without paying rent. That may be true in the beginning, but later on, either due to a question of “face” or pen ni boon koon (indebtedness), the foreigner will scratch the bottom of his wallet to return the favour. They start helping members of the extended family with “loans” and hospital bills even though they can ill afford it. Or they may start businesses which are doomed from Day 1 due to a variety of reasons (mostly human factors) they have not come across in their home countries. Their Thai partners may not be all out to cheat but are just as naively optimistic as they are. But just like in their home countries, the majority of Farang-backed small businesses in Thailand will fail. The Farang gets frustrated when he is in dire straits (but still doesn’t want to admit it). The Thais think that he is not giving them money because he has shifted his love and attention elsewhere. This is the more usual way by which foreigners end up penniless in the Land of Smiles.
Getting swindled outright is actually a pretty rare occurrence.