Cambodia scams

Beware of scam. When you reach the school in the village, tour guide will give you pack of exercise books and pencils as “a payment to village for visiting them”. The queue of pupils will be longer than number of books you have. Immediately you receive next pack but then you will need to pay $9 for the second pack.

Whilst visiting the temples, beware of off-duty police officers, who are in uniform, that start walking beside you and start showing you around the temples. At this point either say that you would like to see the temples yourself, or agree on a price at the start. Several people have been requested for a fee of over $10 at the end of the temple tour and you are not going to argue with a member of the police force. The official wage for a police officer is very low, so they can easily double their salary by being tourist guides.

Whilst at the temple beware of anyone offering you incense. They will hand you the incense and then “teach” you a blessing. They will then ask for a donation (generally about $10) for the monks and the upkeep of the temple. None of the funds will make it to either of these causes, so it’s best just to say a quick “No thank you” when they try to give you the incense in the first place.

 

Convenience stores have been known to give incorrect change and pocket the rest. Check your change before you walk out of the store and point out any short changing. Most likely they will admit to their “mistake” and give you the right change.

Street vendors and beggars in competition for generous visitors’ handouts have developed cunning, if underhanded, techniques to get your attention and money. The “beggar army” of young children will come up to you in the crowd and grab your hands, leading you to a store where they will then try and have you buy food/baby milk/water for them: baby milk seems the most popular. It might sound like a more humanitarian way to help than simply giving them money, but once you leave the shop the goods you bought for them are sold back to the owners, or to other locals and the cash goes to an adult. Young women with babies cradled in a krama perform a similar trick.

Donation-collectors for orphanages may approach you in the street claiming to be volunteer workers, showing you convincing photos of themselves in the orphanage and a clip board listing the generous donations made by foreign visitors. Though these young adults may be well groomed and speak excellent English it’s possible that your donation will go directly into their pockets. A donation of money or your time to a recognised charity might be a better way to help.

Baby-milk scams may be encountered in the centre of town, outside supermarkets. A very poor looking woman will beg for some milk powder, pointing to her baby. If one cracks and buys the milk, she later returns it to the shop, and the money is split 50:50.

VIP sleeper night bus scam encountered Jan 2013. Travel agencies sell expensive tickets to Phnom Pehn ($10 against $6) in VIP sleeper beds buses operated by transport companies “Golden VIP Transport Service” and “Virak-Buntham Express Tour&Travel”. Buses leave at midnight. When Pick-up brings you to the bus, it can so happen, that you find instead of sleeper bus the regular bus with seats instead beds and if you are not lucky you become the seats in the back that no lean back and have to sit upright all the night.

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