A woman in Thailand, whose staff gave away the passport of Luigi Ramaldi, has admitted it was switched for the passport of a Russian woman.
In an incident which demonstrates either remarkable stupidity, or worse, staff at a massage parlour in Patong Beach, Phuket, have admitted handing over Luigi’s passport to a Russian man.
Almost incredibly staff fell for the story the Russian man gave that he needed Luigi’s passport, which had been left as security against a motorbike Luigi had hired, so he could make a cash exchange.
As a gesture of good faith the Russian man left the passport of a Russian woman, whom he said was Luigi’s girlfriend. But that passport had been reported stolen the day before.
Thais operating car hire and motor-cycle hire companies in Phuket and Koh Samui, demand that the renters leave their passports as security, whereas elsewhere in Thailand a photocopy will often suffice.
They claim this is because of a high theft rate. But many hirers report that they have been billed
|Luigi - back in Phuket|
The website Phuketwan today quoted the owner of B.N. Massage Benjawan Narkmaraka as saying: ''Luigi was a regular customer.
''One day, when a relative was looking after the shop, a Russian man came and said he needed the passport back so his friend Luigi could make a cash exchange.
''The Russian man said he was prepared to leave the passport of Luigi's Russian girlfriend as a swap for Luigi's passport.''
When Luigi returned to the shop to return the bike and collect his passport he was told: ‘Your girlfriend has been to the shop.''
The British Embassy advises UK citizens never hand over passports as deposits for anything.