Drug and Rob Gangs: Warning for all Tourists in India

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#1 Jan 3rd, 2012, 16:15
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  • drmcflurry is offline
#1
After going through so many similar stories here on India Mike and on news clippings on the internet, I was surprised to find out how many people both locals and foreigners are continuously being victimized by these people. Having gone through the hellish ordeal myself I think its high time we start a thread here to serve as a warning to all travelers and maybe become a place we can lend assistance to those who have been victimized. Getting completely robbed in a foreign country is no joke especially if you lose all means of access to your money, important belongings, and your extremely important passport. Simply speaking it was a complete nightmare. It's been a few months already and I'm still trying to recover most of what was stolen and get back on my feet. Not only were material things were stolen, I've also had to suffer through sleepless nights afterwards and go through the emotional aftermath.

So now I'm determined to put these guys out of business but I'm going to need your help. Please share here your stories and advise for other future travelers. Remember these gangs are already making a living out of tourists hard earned money. Its been happening so often for years now that I won't be surprised they've already made a living out of this and recommended it to other locals who are also desperate for a quick income. And if you're advise is simply to say 'Don't accept food from strangers' then don't bother posting it cause its bleeding obvious. These criminals devise ways to gain your trust and have you ingest that food/drink any way they can.

My No. 1 advise is avoid buses or trains if your travelling alone.
Stay awake at all times until you reach your hotel room and lock your door. Just because the sun is up and you've made it through the night on a bus/train doesn't mean your safe.
Don't even trust the women as apparently they've been using women lately to gain the trust of other female travelers.
Traveling first class on the train or Volvo on bus doesn't guarantee safety.
The food or drink they offer might look legit like something they just bought off the store right now during a stopover. Just because the food or drink looks sealed doesn't mean it's not tainted.
Just because he starts calling you 'brother' and starts sharing his pitiful life story doesn't mean he's a friend. If that person insists on helping you and sit with you because he's your new friend, do us all victims a favor and push him away with everything you've got and make a scene if you have to.
One thing I wished I had done was take a photo of my new 'friend' with my phone camera and send it to my real Indian friend's phone or to my e-mail for reference.
Just because that person is also drinking/eating the same food doesn't mean it's safe. If he really is your friend he wouldn't mind switching drinks with yours. ( I wish I had done this one).
Don't count on the police for assistance. Just don't even bother. But file a report because you're going to need that FIR. Other than that bloody piece of paper they are completely useless.
Most embassies or consulates also don't care if you cried tears of blood for a police investigation. They're just there to get you back to your country in one piece.

Remember, these people are desperate for a steady income and if you think what are the odds of this happening to you then you my friend are where I was just days before my trip. Anyways, I was still lucky to have my clothes on minus my jacket. Sometimes these people take everything and I mean EVERYTHING and leave you in a hospital. Oh yeah don't forget to block your cards immediately as ID checks for credit/debit card use in India is non-existent. These people know how to use these cards and the last thing you want is for these people to get away with your life savings too.

Geez, I wish someone here gave me the same advise before my trip. I was practically reading IM everyday but didn't come across a thread that stressed how much a problem this is for travelers all over India. So much so that it sometimes makes headlines in local news. Anyway, here's the thread and I hope it serves you well.
"The extraordinary is in what we do not who we are."
#2 Jan 3rd, 2012, 16:33
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  • rayal5 is offline
#2

thanks

thanks a lot... i am going to india soon, and I will do my best to avoid those frauds... but i am interested to know the exact story of yours... and what you did later after the tragedy ...
#3 Jan 3rd, 2012, 16:51
a LEARNER here......be careful or ignore his posts
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  • PKanti is offline
#3
Sorry for your loss, but dont underestimate rest of Indians in that simple way........lacks of happy tourist returned their country with sweet memories..........few basic precaution & safety commonsense must need to know while traveling in country like EI Salvador (highest rate of crime) or even Monaco (lowest rate of crime).

By the way your location makes double crime than the giant & heavy populated country like India. The following link is a reference:


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of..._homicide_rate


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My No. 1 advise is avoid buses or trains if your travelling alone
Ohh God! please make us all millionaires or fit a pare of wings on back or please consider it as a joke of 2012.
#4 Jan 3rd, 2012, 16:55
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  • Dek is offline
#4
Thanks for sharing and to aware.

Sorry, but most of these things are what tourists know, let them be Foreigners or Indians. I think you could tell what & how they did that an informative person even got cheated and looted.
#5 Jan 3rd, 2012, 17:02
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  • drmcflurry is offline
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You're welcome rayal. I posted my sad story on the IM forum called India Travel under Buses automobiles... titled ISBT Kashmiri gate. At that time I was too embarrassed to say it happened to me hence the friend reference. I was just lucky to have a very close Indian family adopt me for a few weeks. I knew them from a previous trip and I feel sad that I had to bring this tragedy to their doorstep and get them involved but then again this incident brought me closer to them and I enjoyed spending time in their house so it wasn't a complete disaster for me. When you have nothing left its the little people that stick with you through tough times that matter the most.
#6 Jan 3rd, 2012, 17:15
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  • drmcflurry is offline
#6
Quote:
Originally Posted by PKanti View Post Sorry for your loss, but dont underestimate rest of Indians in that simple way........lacks of happy tourist returned their country with sweet memories..........few basic precaution & safety commonsense must need to know while traveling in country like EI Salvador (highest rate of crime) or even Monaco (lowest rate of crime).

By the way your location makes double crime than the giant & heavy populated country like India. The following link is a reference:


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of..._homicide_rate




Ohh God! please make us all millionaires or fit a pare of wings on back or please consider it as a joke of 2012.

Don't get me wrong. Despite what has happened I still love India. Maybe not as much as before but when something like this happens it just changes a few things.

Yes its impossible for everyone to take a plane during travel but that was suggestion for people who can afford the option. In my case I was suppose to take a plane but opted for a bus instead because I wanted to save 8000 rupees. Now I'm regretting that decision.
#7 Jan 4th, 2012, 03:52
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Originally Posted by drmcflurry View Post
My No. 1 advise is avoid buses or trains if your travelling alone.

Stay awake at all times until you reach your hotel room and lock your door.

Just because the sun is up and you've made it through the night on a bus/train doesn't mean your safe.

Traveling first class on the train or Volvo on bus doesn't guarantee safety.
I understand your reasons for this thread, though I wonder if you have any idea of the impact such warnings can have.

Being struck by lightning will hurt, and damn will it burn, and if it ever happens to me, I hope I don't come to indiamike and re-live all the pain and damage, then tell everyone not to go out if it rains, looks like rain, or indeed if it's humid.

Tourist struck by lightning in India, or tourist drugged and robbed in India, what one has happened the most times I wonder????
#8 Jan 4th, 2012, 05:44
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Judgement is necessary in all things including in how you interact with people on trains. I have had rather different experiences after some mileage on the India Rail..
#9 Jan 4th, 2012, 09:47
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  • dillichaat is offline
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Tourist struck by lightning in India, or tourist drugged and robbed in India, what one has happened the most times I wonder????
But that doesn't mean the OP shouldn't bring it to the attention here. Rare it may be -though I wonder if it really is THAT rare an occurrence and not just with tourists- but if this thread prevents just a single occurrence down the line then to me it was worth posting and reading. I regularly read stories in the newspaper about this happening, mostly to locals. When I was traveling here as a backpacker in 2005 I met an Australian guy who had just been robbed using the exact same technique. A couple had offered him some sweets on the train, next thing he remembered was waking up on a bench in Bhusawal railway station 16 hours later, which is where I met him. His experience with the police more or less mirrored what the OP posted and frankly that doesn't surprise me a bit. Anyway, I helped him get back on his feet and loaned him a couple of thousand rupees, wondering myself if maybe it was a scam and I a sucker. But he paid everything back in my account a couple of weeks later. In his case also, all his belongings were taken but luckily they left his passport and plane ticket. His Visa was maxed out though and he didn't get back a dime, no matter if the signature on the slips didn't match the one on the back of the card.

Morale of the story as far as I'm concerned: do not accept food/drink from anyone, no matter if they start calling you 'bhai' and talking about their home and family.
"It is preferable to have a criminal for a servant rather than a fool because a criminal's actions are predictable and you can protect yourself against them, whereas there is no telling what a fool's next move will be.
#10 Jan 4th, 2012, 10:15
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#10
Quote:
Originally Posted by dillichaat View Post if this thread prevents just a single occurrence down the line then to me it was worth posting and reading.
I would normally agree, but this is India, and as usual the language used blows everything wildly out of proportion, to me, this is devastating to the image of India as a tourist destination.

Personally, I'm so pleased that I found India before this kind of crime became known, and I felt completely safe (and excited about) talking to strangers on trains, sharing their food and drinks and learning the truth about Indian people.

All the fears put in me by the guide books all vanished when I boarded a train, and this led to those fears one by one vanishing outside the trains.

I'm so pleased that I didn't have to keep my eyes forced open all night on trains and race off to my hotel room the next morning and quickly lock the door, damn, that would have been a fun trip.
#11 Jan 4th, 2012, 10:18
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#11
Seen the film Turistas with Josh Duhamel and Olivia Wilde? I treasure that last piece of advice Duhamel gives at the end: "Take the plane."
#12 Jan 4th, 2012, 10:23
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  • nayan is offline
#12
I think the OP is still traumatised by his experience. I once almost lost my passport in France. I remember very well the kind of panic I felt.

If one were to follow his advise(other than the pretty well known "dont accept any food from strangers")they are better off not visiting India. Why waste hard earned money when you are not going to enjoy your trip at all?
#13 Jan 4th, 2012, 10:27
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#9 Yes, that same scam happened to me! I am on the train (sleeper) and its a boring day. A lady offers my wife and I some food. It was delicious Punjabi food. I told her that I loved my work in 'nagar in Maharashtra and there was a bright, helpful district development officer who helped me out tremendously. The only thing lacking was I missed Punjabi cooking. One can only eat Bhakri (baked crumbly shoe leather) and fried shengana (peanuts) so long in a village. Then she made her move...
She informed me she was the wife of that man and I had a standing invitation to dinner at their house. Tears came to my eyes as I considered how close I had come to an awful fate, eating nothing but bhakri and peanuts for months on end..



Bernard Goetz probably was safer doing what he did. But, he didn't make any friends.........
#14 Jan 4th, 2012, 10:33
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#14
Here is a sign folks. Have it etched in your memory, in case there are no signs where you go.

#15 Jan 4th, 2012, 10:36
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  • dillichaat is offline
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Quote:
Bernard Goetz probably was safer doing what he did. But, he didn't make any friends.........
He was an ass carrying an unlicensed firearm but that was the only count a jury of his peers convicted him for, if memory backed by Wikiedia serves. It's a matter of risk assessment, the benefits of a potentially tasty snack and some conversation are -to me, other people's mileage may vary- not even in the same category as taking even a 1% risk of snacking on flunitrazepam and spending the next 2 weeks arguing with my credit card issuer and trying to get my documents renewed.
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