Tourists Are Being Lured With 'Free' Trips To Thailand That Turn Them Into Drug Smugglers

The "travel agent" claimed the luggage was left behind by another tourist.

Cover image via The Nation

Unsuspecting tourists are being lured by the promise of free travel getaways that land them in an elaborate transnational drug smuggling syndicate

Image for illustration purposes only.

Image via Ashim D’Silva/Unsplash

AFP reported that a Japanese tourist found deals on a travel website that offered free getaways to Thailand; Shanghai, China; and Frankfurt, Germany.

The "free" getaway even offered thousands in spending money for the trip. In ABS-CBN's report, the tourist was given 400,000 yen (roughly RM14,750) to cover his airfare and travelling expenses prior to his trip.

It's a never-seen-before method, luring tourists to traffic drugs out of the country.
Thailand's immigration department deputy chief Major General Itthipol Itthisarnronnachai

Upon arriving in Thailand, the tourist was handed a "suspicious" luggage to bring along as he continued on his trip

Bangkok Post reported that the tourist was told that the luggage belonged to another Japanese tourist who had left it behind by accident.

However, he decided to open up the luggage and check its contents, where he found "suspiciously hard clothes".

Image via The Nation

The tourist contacted the Japanese embassy, who then made a report to Thailand's Immigration Bureau. 

According to The Nation, a sting operation was carried out to nab the suspect who gave the luggage bag to the tourist. 

Officers at the Bureau launched a sting operation to nab the suspect and, upon searching the luggage, they found that the clothing had been coated with crystal methamphetamine

Bangkok Post reported that the t-shirts were sealed in plastic bags to protect it. Additionally, six packs of crystal meth - weighing about 2kg - were found in a hidden compartment of the bag.

Authorities later found five more packets of crystal meth and two luggages used to transport it at two more locations.

Image via The Nation

The suspect - who is Iranian - confessed to working with other Iranians and the Yakuza in Japan to deceive tourists into carrying luggage with drugs hidden inside by offering free tour packages.

Here are other travel scams you should be aware of:

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