Wham Bam Thank You Scam

2009 ,    »  -   89 Comments
137
6.75
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Ratings: 6.75/10 from 61 users.
Storyline
Wham Bam Thank You Scam

Despite its constant political unrest, Bangkok is still a very popular tourist destination, but the main character in this documentary is not there as a tourist. He's not even there as a business traveler.

To be honest, he really doesn't want to be there at all, so why he is, Keith Jones, waiting at Bangkok station for an overnight train to Chiang Mai?

Well, this story is one of deceit, theft, police incompetence, international loopholes and the apathy of a major corporate bank. It is also his story of how almost entirely on his own he tracked down a sophisticated gang of fraudsters.

This is his second time in Bangkok in two years, and exactly as before, he'd rather not be there, but unfortunately, sometimes, there are things that you just have to do whether you like it or not. He's about to board an overnight train to Chiang Mai, a 14 hour journey to the north of Thailand. He's making this film as a record of the atrocious and ridiculous events that have lead him to this point. He's also making it as some sort of catharsis. Finally, he's making it as a stark warning to others.

Life can be strange sometimes. One minute, you can be traveling along thinking that everything is okay, and almost out of nowhere, the malicious actions of another person can affect your life forever.

His story begins back in Australia. He was working from his office one day, when the phone rang. It was the company calling themselves Humphrey Capital Investments, a global financial services group with offices in California and Singapore. Over the coming weeks, he had several informal conversations with their senior portfolio manager John Thompson. One of his recommendations was to invest in Nokia shares. This seemed to present a good buying opportunity.

Humphrey Capital Group sent him client forms, and after processing his application, they bought Nokia shares on his behalf. He subsequently paid the invoice by bank transfer to their company account at an HSBC bank in Hong Kong. Over the coming weeks, John Thompson rang him several times to discuss his portfolio, but at the end of the month, he rang to tell him that his company had been bought out by a group called Wellnic Investments. His new advisor would be Edward Martin, the Vice Chairman of Wellnic Investments. Wellnic's credentials looked similarly impressive, and their website showed detailed information on the company.

A few days later, he had a call from Edward Martin, and like his predecessor, Edward had an American accent and came over as professional and friendly. He explained that he'd be his new advisor, and he looked forward to a long and profitable relationship, and that's exactly how it turned out to be. Over a very long period, Keith Jones purchased a variety of low-risk US stocks, trusts and deposits. All trades were paid for through account at a HSBC Bank in Hong Kong.

Subsequently, like the proverbial lamb to the slaughter, he continued to make investments through the Wellnic Group. Within 12 months, he'd invested over $110,000 US dollars. Even saying it now makes him feel quite sick. You often hear that people are scammed through greed, and where unrealistic returns are involved, but most of his investments with Wellnic were supposed to pay around 10 to 12 percent per annum; good, but at the time, not unrealistic. In fact, it was only when things started to sound too good to be true that he became suspicious.

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89 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Bob Trees

    Sadly this is looking like a how to video, but I see the point of it. It would have been nice to see a copy of the corresponding emails sent from perpetrators. Even though the dialog sounded pretty legit, from what I saw there was some pretty flagrant spelling errors and grammatical errors noted. Would have been nice to see the emails so we could have seen what the victim seen.

    Also I wasn't quite sure if the victim went into the building at the end alone, or with someone. 42:00 Once I thought he was talking to someone (cameraman?). Sure would have been nice to have a translator when he was talking to the security guy of the building. 48:15 I bet he would have gotten some good info there.

    Finally, I didn't see how leaving a business card would have done any good other than to warn the guy that someone is looking for him or them.

  2. Kevin

    This guy should have watched Boiler Room.

    Would have saved him a lot of money.

  3. dmxi

    obviously,i will show no compassion nor feel remorse with regards to the plaintiff as long as the perpetrator did not use weapons nor other means to harm physically or psychologically.....shoplifters of the world unite! - a. smith -

  4. diEmethyltryptamine

    Quite brazen of the fraudsters to call themselves Wellnic Investments.
    We'll nic Investments indeed, this proved to be rather aptly descriptive.

  5. KJ

    I was totally alone, just me and my camera.

  6. KJ

    You're all heart!

  7. Fenton Travers

    bob, i'm a canadian living in bangkok. my local thai girlfriend is due in August with our first. I'll be here until november. Ironically, i also recently relocated from hong kong where i lived for 4 years, and I can totally relate to everything you say. you need local advocates...period. I'm also a computer programmer. My mom is the one who actually forwarded this to me. My local thai girlfriend also lived in Australia for 10 years, and has citizenship there. I'm gonna have her watch this.

    My take. You've got some americans who are working with some local thai's. Likely the your man Edward's girlfriend. He's given money to the thai father, who likely built that house, and he'll have the sympathies of the local thai's around him...which puts you at a disadvantage when you get near his turf.

    I've met other scam artists before, so I know how bewildering it feels. I'll see what my father in law has to say about this after my girlfriend watches this video.

    You do need to be a little careful in thailand. These people are a bit more 'basic' and if tempers flair, the worst could happen. You know all this, already, and I don't know what I could do to help you.

    There is also a racist bend that both the chinese and thai will have against westerners. Anyway, drop me a line if there is anything I could do for you: (no email allowed)

  8. Vexst Junglist

    fair dues to that guy, and boo to everyone else (mostly).

  9. Fenton Travers

    why don't you post the letter you had transcribed into thai. my girlfriend has friends up in chang mai, and maybe she can deliver to local police.

    the police work by bribes. i don't know what the price is, but she can probably find out. i think that was a really good move to have the letter translated into thai, as the thai are for the most part very good and honorable people. the are actually very conservative, much like deep south american christians.

    you could catch these people via social media, you've done the lions share at this point. however this will occur in both thai and english.

    also, my thai girlfriend is a social media marketer, and has said that she'd make a facebook page for you...why not see if we can catch these people social media...the social media police!!! Crowd source the chase.

  10. ~Oliver B Koslik Esq

    Hi Keith!
    (I think :-p)

    Great Story!

    I've had similar problems with the police. My "stone wall" is that one needs to present proof of crime, for them to be able to investigate.

    I cannot provide proof.

    I admire your ability in turning this whole mess into something that can promote not only personal healing & growth. But as well create such a vivid depiction of your loss, so as to provide evidence, to law enforcement agencies, on such crimes.

    Anyways... I hope Pailn hears your "plug" for Around the world, but of course...I hope you get your 100k back, some way or another.

    Great Doc!

  11. KJ

    Thank you for kind words Oliver.

    Sorry to hear about you plight though.

  12. KJ

    Thanks Fenton

  13. DigiWongaDude

    Hi Keith! What a deep and scary rabbit hole! Well done in making this video - had me on the edge of my seat at times! I take my hat off (a rare gesture) to you for such tenacity and hope that it was indeed cathartic.

    Have you considered returning with a translator? Or is this chapter finally over for you now? I would like to think I would have the balls to do the same as you, given the situation, but honestly...I just don't know?

    I'm sure in the course of things your mind must have been mush - 'I just want my money back', 'Forget the money, I just want to expose these people', 'It's not about me any more, it's about other potential victims'.

    I agree you were lucky the guy wasn't in, as it could have ended very badly indeed. Good to see you on the beach at the end with your loved one in arm (some things are more important than getting justice).

    Onwards and upwards Keith! Best of luck to you.

  14. Imightberiding

    I'm only at the 20:00 min mark of this doc & I have to say this is beyond frustrating. i have been to Hong Kong twice. Mid nineties & late nineties after the take over. Even back then most if not all professional level people were fluent in english. I find it very hard to believe that these people working at HSBC barely understood english. Im sure the unfortunate fellow making this film was also well aware of this fact. Boils your blood, but there is little you can do when a person feigns ignorance, smiles & says: "No understand."

    I will continue with this doc but I fear my level of frustration will only escalate as this film goes on. I loved Hong Kong & could very easily live there if I could only afford it & have a viable career there. Difficult situation this fellow found himself in. Sucks all the way around.

  15. KJ

    Hi Digi

    Thanks for taking the time to watch my doco and thanks also for the message, I really appreciate it.

    Maybe it was more stupidity than balls!

    All the best to you too and thanks once again.

  16. DigiWongaDude

    Humphrey Capital Group - hump free Capital.

  17. Imightberiding

    I left a brief comment regarding the first half of your film but just wanted to mention one other thing. I am certain you are well aware of this already, but for those watching who are not; Thailand is an extremely & I mean extremely dangerous country. Foreigners & tourists are killed on a daily basis in some areas due to the greed , corruption & flat out destitution & poverty that the majority of the population is living in. This unfortunately trumps any thoughts or feelings of ethics or morality towards others who appear to have more than they do.

    A well dressed, seemingly affluent foreigner is nothing more than a target. You were either well informed & very brave or else naive & extremely lucky that you lived to return home again. Sorry about your financial loss but it appears it didn't hurt you that badly if you could afford to travel to Hong Kong & Thailand after the fact. I trust your discoveries & film will be a caution to others. The nominal return that you were promised would persuade almost any investor that this was not a "too good to be true scam."

  18. Imightberiding

    Right. That's what all investors do. Look to slick, schlocky Hollywood films for investment advice. The rate of return that he was offered was nominal & would raise no red flags with anyone with investment experience. Unfortunately this sort of thing can happen to just about anyone.

    I have made & lost money in many different investment strategies. The Boiler Room was mildly entertaining (if not only for Vin Deisel or whatever his name is, portraying a dude in a suit) but hardly sound advice as to the reality of the investment world.

    I do see the humour in your comment but this fellow did lose a considerable amount & made this doc at least partly so others would be more aware.

  19. DigiWongaDude

    I helped a guy out with investigating "absolutely assured" genuine diamond permits from the DRC. Yeah right you say, as did I, as did my friend. Even going in to such a thing with a huge dose of scepticism, due to the amount of scams coming out of that war torn zone, it's easy to say they would be fake, which of course they were.

    But I had to employ translators, map overlays and extensive cross-referencing data, to finally expose the holes.

    Truly, the level of detail these people go to, to hide them can be quite astonishing. It seemed clear to me that they can fail a hundred times, rehash a new version and try again, unhindered until they find a workable method. And if you expose them, they just move right along. The anger this can produce is visceral, not least of which comes from the lack of support you get when you take clear evidence to the authorities.

    You're right about the danger though, it's a criminal underworld - the more sophisticated the plan, the more likely it was hatched staring at a ceiling from inside a cell - these guys ain't gonna go down gently, that you can bank on.

  20. dmxi

    sorry,that you've financially been hurt but greed makes an easy prey....salute you for your chuzpe to warn others by going public...shows you are a brave man!

    - the little bit compassionate -

  21. P Punter

    The more I go to BKK, the more I like it. You just have to realize that you're a target in most big cities around the world and keep your head about you.

    I initially despised it, but visit after visit it began to grow on me.

    The city thins the herd so to speak

    It's unfortunate KJ was scammed, but I wouldn't trust anybody except immediate family in BKK. Sure, lots of friends and acquaintances, but every relationship will turn sour as soon as money's involved.

  22. over the edge

    hey KJ
    great cautionary tale and if it is any consolation i am sure your story will provide some added education that might help prevent this from happening to others.

    also welcome to TDF and i hope we see more of you

  23. I AM POP SLAG.

    You are not james bond as you rightly said but i bet what you failed at could be achieved by someone a bit more accustomed to the environs...
    Its very kind of you in a way, to make this about the exposure not the money.
    So we can see what you went through- so thanks was a good watch!
    It would also be interesting to know if a similar con has been played before on any other marks with the same MO from the same region- there may be more clues as to tracking them down.
    Crowdsourced detectives lol. be funny if it actually worked.
    Its a shame the locals didnt show you more gratitude seeing as you bought them all lunch...

  24. KJ

    Certainly there are bound to be more victims. These people were elaborate and professional. What I am also hoping for is that someone might even recognise the voices!

  25. KJ

    Thanks Fenton, I must admit I do like the idea of catching these people using the power of social media.

  26. KJ

    Thanks for the little bit of compassion.

    You mentioned the no psychological harm? If you listened to what the psychologist had to say you would have learnt that this kind of crime can cause serious psychological harm, often leading to suicides.

  27. I AM POP SLAG.

    There cant be that many americans in that area of thailand...
    There is paper to trace them, western union money transfer, possibly other bank accounts.
    and services only foreigners use in such areas- he had a traceable ip too which means he is not crypto savvy either and a hacker might have more luck with a trace.
    If your cover had been better- pose as a tourist etc etc- spend more time tailing etc
    get a friendly local with some nous on the payroll- read a book on detective work etc.
    then you might just have bagged your man!

    hindsight is 20 20 though- i wish you luck in your gumshoeing!

    Id have defintiely found him, tailed him, got him drunk and then hurt it him till he spat gold coins...but im a wrong un.

    He is also probably reading this...
    Your initial contact with him might provide clues and a skilled hacker could get at some phone records or such- not that i would advocate such illegality!
    all you need is a credit card transaction in his real name...
    Invest small and local- id take a loan at 12% -no banks are doing that at the moment for me!
    they are all full of conmen and "no go away,weve made our money from you heres an exobitant overdraft fee but no reasonable credit"
    -you can even repossess the tools id buy if i didnt pay- and your outlay would be scattered- i only need a couple of grand.
    Im not local but its a good example-
    Dmxis response is partly justified, the idea of money just making money on its own with no input from its owner is an anthema to most people who if they are lucky get to work for every penny, automation means less jobs,more thieves.
    shoplifters of the world need to unite with the shopfitters for any shopping revolution to commence however.
    There is a reason they call it interest because thats what you should take in your investments not just a dividend.
    If there is anything left take a look at crowdsourced investments there will be something you actually believe in and is tangible and if your going to play the market get a broker whos tie you can actually reach out and grab.
    And like im sure you were told in economics 1.01- diversify your portfolio dude!
    or someone will rehypothecate your capital into a zero interest debt bubble black hole in any case.

  28. Imightberiding

    You would be surprised how many foreigners gravitate to Thailand. Lots of Americans looking for affordable retirement, women, wives & a laid back somewhat exotic lifestyle. Heaps of con artists in this environment.

  29. rocketmahn

    Very sorry to see this has happened to you. I'll carry your lesson with me and learn from it. I enjoyed the film very much. I hope you find them and get your money back.

  30. oQ

    Lots of Canadians too.
    The town of Pai has a big community of expat., but in fact they are every where.
    1i

  31. John Marus

    You really made some incredibly s*upid decisions (1) initial lack of due diligence on your part and (2) trying get yourself killed going it alone to hunt these pigs down. I wish I had heard you take more personal responsibility. Many of us lost multiple thousands in the US Stock market to SEC monitored "successful" companies like WorldCom, Enron, etc. So yes, a fool and his money will soon part, sucks for all of us who were duped by evil people and corrupt systems.

    I live in a Latin country and see ads all the time on Craigslist for "American Accent" telemarketers selling investment opportunities to gringos in the US and Canada. So in reality the guy you talked with could be one of many in that boiler-room.

    Seems like you didn't know what to do once you found them. Why didn't you hire someone to break their legs or something, I'm sure that would cost less than one airline ticket. That's the sad part is when these evil people are rewarded. That said,- please try not to make big decisions without a team of advisers, good luck

  32. Guest

    Hi KL..and all.
    KL, Is your website up and running?
    I am having trouble accessing it. (posted June,19 2013)

  33. KJ

    Hi There

    The website is currently being updated and should be back up again soon.

  34. Imightberiding

    You are absolutely correct. Pataya or maybe its Prataya (not sure how to spell it correctly & I don't feel like looking it up right now) is also a major centre for foreigners to visit & settle & the scams & violence perpetrated against them is plentiful.

    Seems there is a murdered expat weekly & it is brushed off by the authorities as an accident or suicide. Very troubling. I've been to Japan, China, & Hong Kong. I fell in love with Hong Kong (if I could afford it, I'd move there in a heart beat) & I have always wanted to return to that part of the world & visit Thailand. From my research & he said/she said, it appears that Thailand can be a dangerous place to travel (perhaps not for a family on a holiday but for someone looking to live or invest there). Also, it is illegal for a non-Thai to own property there. That is another way the women scam the men who marry them & put all the land, houses, property in their names.

    Vietnam really interests me. The food & people, what I have experienced are delightful. Of course I love Thai food as well but I will not let my stomach deliver me to a premature death if I can help it.

  35. G. Gerard

    Thanks for the reply. I admire your COURAGE! KJ !!

    [my bad... typo (KJ not KL).

  36. Oldhand

    Keith,

    Kudos on your excellent expose of not only the perps but also the bureaucratic ineptitude of the authorities.

    Pondering your approach a few things occurred to me that might be helpful.

    The first issue is where was the crime committed. It's actually an interesting question and one which the authorities attempted to side step but there is definitely a legal issue here that needs to be explored. Namely,

    while the perpetrators may be physically located in Thailand, the fact that they have opened fictitious business accounts in HK with HSBC suggests that the perps most likely purchased a HK shelf company in order to open an account with HSBC in Hong Kong. Thus, if the companies are registered HK companies, then it follows that the fraud occurred in HK. HK most certainly has a fraud investigation unit in the police bureau and thus presenting your evidence to the HK authorities should initiate an investigation. Another interesting legal issue would be since you fully informed and documented the facts to HSBC and they acknowledged your inquiries, therefore, HSBC in taking no action to investigate and likely assisting in fund transfers to the perps could be considered a co-conspirator in this fraud - assuming they transferred funds after you informed them of the fraud. Under this scenario, it seems to me you could sue HSBC in HK or even place a criminal complaint with the commercial fraud division of the HK police against HSBC. While, no doubt, HSBC could marshal mammoth legal power to prove otherwise, I doubt they would want to have it advertised that they are knowing parties to international financial fraud. A good story in the South China Morning Post in HK followed by a TV report in HK and Australia would most certainly gain their serious attention. While there is no way you will ever get you money back from the perps, a possible out-of-court settlement with HSBC seem a possibility.

    Something to consider, especially in light of the fact that the recent G8 conference talked about the issue of international money laundering and fraud. All I am saying is that there are angles here to be explored that might help you get something back.

    Don't give up the fight!

  37. oQ

    I too have been to Thailand, 3 times backpacking, for a single woman travelling, Thailand is a little paradise.
    Trouble will find you if you're not careful, there and in many other countries. I have seen a few people get in trouble because of drugs at those popular full moon parties. I have also met a few men who got in troubled relationship (either in Thailand or in Canada after marrying and moving the lady). When they say they love you, they mean it their way, something guys seem to forget.
    (same scenario with people marrying someone from Africa, Cuba, Brazil...ect.)

    Thailand remains on my high list for a country that has well organized transportation, good food, nice people, good weather, cheap accomodations and beautiful beaches.

    As for Hong Kong, i spend a few days and then travelled slowly to Kunming and back to Hong Kong. The big city just look like a mega shopping center to me...but perhaps i didn't stay long enough or didn't explore deep enough but the countryside was my reason to visit.

    Haven't been to Vietnam but Laos was great exploration.

    You heard of the saying: The Vietnamese plant the rice, the Cambodians watch it grow and the Laos listen to it grow.
    1i

  38. darknight32

    Wow i think this is one of the most interesting docs i have watched in a long time and really as for me personally one of only maybe one other of its kind i've ever seen.

    Ive never been scammed personally but that's probably because i don't have enough money for anyone to want to bother to steal. But i can see how it would be easy to be fooled by a sophisticated scam like this. I too can understand the fear and isolation KJ felt.I have traveled outside the U.S many times, never for reasons like this, always positive ones,to visit friends mostly. But when you're 7000 miles from home, alone and your friend isn't there yet,you don't speak the language, no matter how tough you think you are, you feel afraid and alone in an alien world.

    While i respect what he did, i think that's what we'd all like to do in this kind of situation,except i think most would have brought a gun with them if possible. I have to agree with other comments on here,it was incredibly dangerous and a little ill thought out, anger over common sense. Which is understandable over this. But you KJ were in the backwaters of Thailand and these people do not want caught or video taped. They most likely would have killed you and dumped your body in the jungle and no one would have ever found you.Like i said i respect what you did as an honest person that believes in right myself, but someone was watching over you that u made it home alive. Great vid, everyone should watch.

  39. KJ

    Thanks Darknight, I appreciate your comments. Coming originally from the UK and now living in Australia guns are very alien to me.

    What I did, probably was dangerous, but you know, often desperate times need desperate measures.

    Thanks

  40. KJ

    Thanks Oldhand

    You make some good points.

  41. darknight32

    I'm in agreement with you pal, i don't own a gun myself but it seemed appropriate for the circumstance. Like i said though i admire what you did regardless. I believe the saying goes,possibly misquoted here a bit off the top of my head, but evil only triumphs when good men do nothing. I get sick of people that do wrong whether it be verbally/emotionally or physically or crime and get away with it because us as average people are supposed to be scared, or take the higher ground and so forth. So good for you i'm glad someone is pushing back for once.

  42. KJ

    You're a good man - thanks.

  43. DigiWongaDude

    While what you say is true, and much respect to you, I would suggest the video exemplifies how self consuming such negative acts against us can become.

    When we are affected by negative incidents, we tend to react likewise - in a negative way. After all, anything that causes us to be self consuming, is likely a negative thing. Or, we can all too easily use our energy in a less than positive way in trying to right a wrong (through anger, revenge or retaliation and the wicked webs we weave, when at first we practice to deceive).

    So, in that regard I would have to insist that the person who can manage to take the 'higher ground' and use their energy in a positive manner should also be commended.

    So how to best do that? Through closure. Most of what we saw, was Keith's attempts at that as much as anything else (opinion of course). I hope sincerely, that it's happened.

  44. John Defalque

    Canada, Like Bosnia-Herzogovina, doesn't have a federal securities regulator.

  45. Philip Fong

    KJ, your documentation skill is excellent, I thought it was a reenactment although direct confrontation is not the solution to beat crime, what goes around comes around and it begin with this video...

  46. CarimboHanky

    this was better that what i expected... nicely made, managed to capture the anger, the desperation, the emptiness...

  47. Aaron from pinchmeliving.com

    Hi Keith, an interesting journey you have been on. I am sure you have learnt some valuable lessons throughout this experience and by sharing this you will help many others who find themselves in similar situations. I hope by taking this journey you have managed to find healing in it and have managed to let go of it and not let it define you. These things happen it how we bounce back from them that matters. All the best.

  48. Ba Ba Ram

    Keith, I live a few blocks from Hill Park. Gee thanks for making this How to Enter The World of Internet Crime from Thailand video. You pointed out all the needed loop holes and did the research for more criminals to move here and sent up. With this information they will be able to work with local law enforcement to insure they stay in the business. You are one lucky guy to have stumbled around right up to the suspected door without ending up in jail or just missing. Please try to get over your losses from your bout with greed in a more constructive manner.

    Personally I hope you find peace and get past this.
    Ba Ba Ram

  49. KJ

    Hi Ba Ba Ram

    Thanks
    for your comments and if I was that lucky I wouldn't have had that first call
    from the criminals in the first place,

    As
    to the "how to video" I'm sure it's no secret to the thieves of the
    world who already know how to do this, but alternatively I hope I may have
    informed many good people of what to watch out for... ...and of course the
    authorities are well aware of how these schemes operate.

    I
    have tried to make the best from a disaster. So let's hope I'm doing more good
    than bad!

  50. Johntechwriter

    From your risk-taking behavior, it's apparent you've identified the perpetrator — the fool from whom his money was so easily separated.

    You put this wrong-headed individual through an ordeal that cost him at least as much emotionally — and cost his blameless wife, too — as the amount of the original swindle. And you recorded his Quixotic quest for retribution as a warning to others who might be tempted to similar crimes of naïveté.

    Justice has been done. The piper has been paid. There's no need to further demonize Asians for your foolish investment decisions. Get on with your good life and thank your lucky stars for having such a wonderul partner.

  51. KJ

    Not sure why you imagine that this programme sets out to demonise Asians. If you had taken any notice you would have seen that the crime was perpetrated primarily by westerners, but happened to take place in Asia.

    Thanks also for your kind words and encouragement.

    If you excuse me now - Sancho and I have to go and tilt at a few windmills.

  52. Wayne Siemund

    Dear Ba Ba Ram. Instead of complaining, how about fixing your country?

  53. Wayne Siemund

    The first step is to never act on an unsolicited investment offer no matter how reasonable it may sound. The second step is to do your own research and be the one who initiates an investment. Sales people are only interested in the sale not the outcome and should be handled in that understanding.

  54. Garry

    I can empathize w you. Could have offered help or point you on... Was living there in CNX during your episode.

  55. MickeySpillane

    I was so waiting for the Austrailian Embassy to come riding over the crest of the hill to save you. What DO they do in Thailand more important? There is a fair sized english speaking community in Chang Mai. The frequent certain bars. I'd have taken a few nights to play that hand.

    "Face" is everything to banks in HK. Bringing the crime and the bank's association to the crime into the daylight would scare them. I bought a watch in Kowloon that didn't last overnight. I complained to the police who walked me back to the shop to discuss it with the owners. The police couldn't get my money back, only a swap. I went to the shops on either side of the watch shop and told them he was a crook and that I was going to stand in the street and tell every westerner looking in their windows that I had been baited and switched. I did that for about an hour before the police showed up. I told them that their inefficiency caused my theft and prevented my restitution. The police closed all the shops on the small block and a man gave me my money back and $20. I left.

    A few paid sign holders in front of the building would do wonders and you could be watching from down the street. Daylight is the enemy. The spotlight ruins everything in Thailand. This site is full of anarcists and criminal sympatizers. Guys like Johntechwriter have probably been up for a while. They screwed you,...get them, if you can get away with it, ears of those that disappointed you shouldn't be more than $300 in a package deal.

  56. Che

    What did this guy expect? Anybody who is dumb enough to invest money from some phisher via email, phone call, online advertisement is foolish and uneducated and should not utilize technology for business. I laughed so hard when he was trying to justify how easy he was fooled and how this could happen to anyone. Everyone uses that argument when duped because they assume they are on the same knowledge/intelligence level as the majority of people. just another one of the Sheeple.

  57. John H8land

    Hi Kevin,

    I watched your documentary with great interest. Your story reflects what is happening to thousands of vicitimized investors annually, though only a few decide to fight back against the fraudsters.

    no email addys allowed, (moderator)

  58. KJ

    Hello Che, thank you for your comment and obvious great insight. We poor unintelligent mortals must simply bow down to such a great intellect as yourself. Your immense knowledge and superiority shows such compassion. You must be so proud of the way that you can laugh so hard at the misfortune of others that don't share your amazing insight. Maybe you were born in the wrong era and you would have been better in a time where you could walk round mental institutions laughing hard at the plight of the inmates. Thanks once again for your amazing observations and kind words.

  59. jerry

    I think if he would have spent some money bribing some bangkok officials he would have found the crooks.
    it might have cost him another 10,000 usd ,but he would have caught them. lets say another 2,000 to find a person or personds to break some bones .he might have saved alot of time. bribes and bone breakers would have done the job.

  60. Guest

    I have respect for this good man , he have find the criminals to them home place. He knows his fault that you can not do business with a e mail or telephone call from the another site of the world. He have take risks to go Thailand and find them place , this criminals are a group and you are in a country where the people can do su much for a litle money.

    But the true is if you have lose money in scame , the criminals never give money back.

  61. mark shane

    Wrong video link its about canadian murders

  62. susan g

    Keith,
    Interesting story. I was really hoping these thieves would be identified on camera by you and subsequently brought to justice and your money returned. I hope by some twist of luck that still happens for you.

    I must say however, because you were dealing with the Thai police I wasn't hopeful. They are extremely corrupt when dealing with Westerners. Thailand is a very dangerous place for foreign visitors, Every day I read about another tourist who according to the Thai police committed suicide by jumping from their hotel balcony! Yes! These deaths seem to be always ruled a suicide by the police.

    You are lucky you made it back home in one piece, You placed yourself in great danger (which you alluded to) by just being in that country.

    Advice to any tourists going to Thailand, make sure your hotel room is on the ground floor.

  63. sopha

    Hi KJ. Sorry to hear about your woes and I hope you can put the loss of money behind you. Many other victims of these "boiler room" scams (often elderly people) lose everything with no hope of building those savings up again. I can understand your anger. Keep sending your gathered information to the Thai Police (I know, I know!) and more importantly, Thai immigration Police. These people have been "working" in Thailand without a work permit which is treated very seriously by Thai immigration. Thai Immigration Police are far more professional and competent than the RTP.

  64. John Lowden

    Mate. Don't let it eat you up,,you will never see the money again,coulda been worse ,your still alive,they've took a chunk of your money ,please don't let them take any more of your life,it's not worth it, the more it burns you,and I don't blame you but you must now get on with life,forget the scum,your alive mate,you'll make money again..live your life please.

  65. john

    Very watchable. The obvious education and intelligence of the target is clear warning that even those of us who think only mupets get caught are in fact vulnerable. Great documentary.

  66. Scotoz

    The HSBC was fined $1.9Billion for money laundering and it would be naive to believe they are the only ones however in the doco it was pitiful to see their staff show how no internal security measures were in place and in comparison to other banks I have dealt with, as well as AMEX, I have been impressed with their responses to fraudulent activities in my accounts. AMEX in particular who refunded over $4000 when I had not authorized a payment that was charged to my card without my knowledge or permission.

    It does highlight the fact that Thailand is a very dangerous place and totally corrupt so not really surprised these sorts of scams originate in their borders.

  67. I-D: N7

    Should've went Splinter Cell on there asses.

  68. Nanisux

    Obviously someone who's never been to Thailand. It's not "very dangerous", about 5% of the danger level of any US major city. Been living here for 12 years. From the U.S. It's way more free here. MUCH more safe. THAT'S why the scams can happen... too much freedom here, not like in the US.

    Don't believe the hype you get from the US Lamestream Media.

    And BTW, all the scams are by Americans and Canooks.

  69. Nanisux

    Every day I read about another tourist who according to the Thai police committed suicide by jumping from their hotel balcony!
    lol... another one. Read where, USA Today? rotf...

    Thailand is the worlds top tourist destination now by numbers. And if it WAS so dangerous, the LAST place you'd want to be is on the ground floor. How daft.

  70. Nanisux

    You forgot about the part where the crooks offer the police 20,000$. Remember, they're millionaires. And the part where the bone breaker takes the deposit and disappears; or extorts more money while threatening to go to the police - who already got $10,000 then another $20,000...

  71. Nanisux

    No, working w/o a work permit is not taken very seriously in Thailand. Imm. Pol. have a price too. Everybody has a price. Everybody.

    I know hundreds who do it every damn day... every DJ. Every musician. Restaurant staff. Domestic staff.
    You can even buy work permits. Jeez...

  72. Nanisux

    KJ. Best Advice. I know it's not what you want to hear, but give it up. For your own sanity, give it up and forget about it.

    Over here, nobody cares. The Embassies don't care.

    Guys in the game have been busted thousands of times. The only question after that is "how much".

    Imagine you're a Thai cop, making $6-700/mo. or whatever. And you got the cuffs on someone who can drop $6000 in your pocket, tax free, on the spot. Who's your daddy now...

    Man, if you're busted for being in the country illegally overstaying your visa by say 2 years... $600 fine. As low as that. Imagine what a millionaire can buy, and those guys... some are millionaires.

    You're running a website and other efforts... it's only going to prolong the pain.
    Close the website and let it go. Good luck.

  73. Nanisux

    omg...
    That's a good idea. Catch'em using FB and Instagram.
    The guy above will take your money (for his girlfriend) just as readily... social media marketer... how lucky he is! (This means she spends all her time on her iPhone on FB...)

  74. Lal

    feel so sorry about you.........nice attempt a hundred thumps up

  75. southseas

    Good stuff. I don't think it's about the money it's about being a mug and doing something about it.
    I've been to Thailand a few times, as a westerner you never really know what's going on. You may think you do but you don't.
    Mr Jones was quite brave and very wise.

  76. Janis Lav

    Great documentary! I've been to Hong Kong, Bangkok and ChiagMei, among other places in Asia. The only place I wasn't ripped off was ChiangMei. Maybe I just didn't stay long enough? Every time Keith Jones tried to communicate with someone of 'authority', I could feel my blood pressure go up, just remembering what it was like when I tried. You can't tell someone to just 'move on' - it's damn hard & I give this guy a lot of credit for all his tenacity. When my purse was stolen in Taipei, the only good it did me to report it, was I could take the slip of green paper they gave me to the Canadian embassy in order for them to rush up my new passport. Afterwards, I couldn't take a photo for YEARS, just remembering all the ones that went missing along with my purse. I hope you get some kind of response, man!

  77. scott campbell

    A fool and his money are easily parted....Capitalism at it's finest. If you had done your research before investing, none of this would have happened. Simple as that.
    What did you really expect to achieve with your plastic Superhero routine?
    Greed was your only motive and and you got exactly what you deserved.

  78. idash

    I hate his attitude towards the bank officials in Hong Kong. "I don't think she even knows what the word fraud means!" You're in Hong Kong, , you can't expect everyone to speak your language.

  79. bringmeredwine

    Did you mean "Canucks"? LOL

  80. bringmeredwine

    Hi oQ, so you're a woman? LOL I never guess you guys correctly!
    My daughter saved all her money and went off to Thailand in 2008.
    Her favorite haunt was Phuket. She couldn't get over how cheap it was to live, and much she loved the Thai families who lived and worked there.
    She went off to Cambodia herself via a local bus and thought she'd found the most beautiful country in the world (if not dangerous. I was stuck at home having a coronary).
    Over a month later, when her money was all gone; she came home starving, chain-smoking Camels;; and with a whopping drug addiction to boot.
    She still dreams of going back.
    Sadly, after the Tsunami I would imagine that the lovely people she met in Phuket are long gone.
    So is the innocent young girl who wanted to see the world.

  81. Jabranpin

    I don't feel sorry for greedy people. I am greedy but only as far as lottery jackpots are concerned and they only cost $1. This man deserved to be robbed.

  82. Lorenzo Wyche

    This guy just threw good money after bad... just let it go. You win some you lose some. Consider it a loss.

  83. Maya

    It's very unrealistic to expect the bank to give any details of its account holders. Not a single bank in Australia would give even a family member any information..let alone a stranger. I have a bank account but how would my bank know if the money transferred to me was legal or embezzled? They wouldn't know. HSBC handled it exactly the same way as any Australian bank would. And to expect help from Australian police!!...I mean...seriously mate...they are "Australian" police, they have no right to chase foreign crooks. So, I'm sorry to say that you can't blame anyone but yourself. You trusted a total stranger without doing your home work. I'm wondering why you didn't invest with reputable Australian companies? And you made another mistake by risking your life...seriously mate...let it go, you have your family and that's worth a lot, and you seem to be a successful guy..I'm sure you'll make a lot more money in the future. Live and learn.

  84. Mike

    Based on the clear and concise evidence you have presented, you are a sucker. Here's an idea, don't send 100k to someone you don't know via bank wire. JS

  85. gerry cunningham

    i know the man you are talking about

  86. CAF

    Far too much money and time on his hands!

  87. Rich K

    Nice film. Just a question that may have been asked but if you where going to go through all the trouble to travel to Thailand and film this why would you not hire someone who speaks thai and english?

  88. Del Rene

    Hello Kieth,
    I watched the documentary, and I was rooting for you to confront the scamers in the video. I wanted to offer you a suggestion and that is to see if you could contact the U.S. Goverment and find a department that could help you find a list of people who live outside the U.S. Also, they may very well be people who were once in boiler room scam here in the United States, and may be aliases previously used. Also, maybe the phone calls could be coming from the U.S., or maybe the Police in Australia are in on it, somehow? Any way, good luck in your continued search to find these guys.

  89. DJ

    Extremely interesting. Subject was a great story teller. I am sorry for your loss and appreciate you sharing this extremely interesting event in your life. Could be the making of a great movie.

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