Monday, February 21, 2011

Tourist Scam in Langkawi

My German friend visited Langkawi on Feb 20 and 21. On the morning of Feb 21, he kept telling me how much he loves Langkawi and he would love to visit Langkawi again in the near future to spend more time in Langkawi.

He rented a very old car (Proton) from Langkawi Discovery (Car Rental) near the airport. He paid for car insurance and had given RM50 deposit. When he was about to return his rented car, he went to the petrol station to pump fuel. There was another car nearby which was stationary, suddenly upon seeing his car, the other car charged forward to knock my friend's rented car, then accelerated away from the "accident" scene.

When my friend returned the car, citing that two witnesses saw the incident and they have noted down the other car number plate.. The staff from Langkawi Discovery said that they have checked and such number plate does not exist in Langkawi. Bear in mind that only the police and Road Transport Department (JPJ) are able to check for car number plates.

Six to seven men tried to prevent my friend from leaving even though his flight was in 30 minutes. Luckily he has checked in earlier. They asked for RM700 in compensation - even though it wasn't my friend's fault. They insisted to follow him to the ATM to withdraw money. My friend called and I asked him to reach the nearest police station. Now those "thugs" couldn't punch him and couldn't drag him to the ATM but they held him down. The police said this issue is between my friend and the car rental company.. and refused to intervene.

I told the police that my friend should just file a report stating the number plate of the hit-and-run car and they should follow up with it. After all, the police will be able to check the ownership of that vehicle in 5 minutes. But the car rental staffs said they will hold my friend against his will until the perpetrator is found! They said it's in the car rental agreement but obviously there is no such thing! The police did nothing!

At the very last minute, I told my friend to give RM200 and run to the boarding gate. But the 6 or 7 men refused and wanted more. In the end, they took RM500 from him before my friend ran to the plane.

Sigh, such extortion in Langkawi. Beware!