Russian tourist arrested in Thailand for using souvenir dollars


A Russian tourist on holiday with his family was arrested for importing counterfeit foreign currency into Thailand and distributing counterfeit currency. He was arrested for giving “souvenir dollars” to staff, allegedly in lieu of tips

The Russian Embassy in Bangkok confirmed the arrest of the man on October 3.

The head of the Russian Embassy, Vladimir Pronin, said that the arrest took place in Rayong, a predominantly industrial province with several key resorts, such as Samet.

Pronin did not give the date of arrest, but added that the tourist had been released on bail while the investigation and trial were ongoing.

“A Russian citizen is charged under two articles of the Thai Criminal Code – importation of counterfeit foreign currency into the country and distribution of counterfeit currency,” Russian news service TASS quoted Pronin.

The embassy does not specify the bail amount or the name of the tourist, but the Ekaterinburg edition of the national newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda and other Russian news publications reported that it was allegedly Vadim Vedenyapin from Ekaterinburg.

Russian media published the post of Vedenyapin’s wife, Ekaterina, which she left in Instagram: “Urgently! We are in Thailand. On vacation with children. My husband is in trouble. The joke was unsuccessful. We bought toy bucks for the children and gave them to the locals. We thought it was a small souvenir from Russia. Everything is serious here. In Thailand, the joke failed. The court hearing is tomorrow. The laws in Thailand are tough. Very tough.

Later, the woman stressed that her husband was not going to use game money to pay.

“How can you throw a man in prison for such stupidity? There are signs on these bills in two places that they are “souvenirs”, – quotes Ekaterina “Komsomolskaya Pravda”.

The photographs of the banknotes placed next to the story show the warnings printed on the banknotes, on which it is written that the banknotes are “souvenirs” and “are not a means of payment”.

The information services reported that the judge initially set the bail for Mr. Vedenyapin at 150,000 baht, but later this amount increased.

There was also a witness who allegedly saw Mr. Vedenyapin drinking in a bar and paying for drinks with Thai baht.

At one point, officers on the spot noticed Mr. Vedenyapin’s “souvenir” banknotes, took them for authentic American banknotes and “started offering him additional services”.

Finally, Mr. Vedenyapin decided to give the staff some notes “as souvenirs”.

Having later discovered that the money was fake, the bar staff offered Mr. Vedenyapin to settle the misunderstanding by paying each of them 1,000 baht. Otherwise, they threatened to call the police. Mr. Vedenyapin rejected the offer.

Section 240 of the Thai Penal Code (Counterfeit Goods) and section 243 (Purchase of Counterfeit Goods) provide the same

A penalty of 10 to 20 years’ imprisonment or a fine of 20,000 to 40,000 baht, or both.

Section 247 adds that in the case of money issued by a foreign government, the offender will be punished only by half.

Source: The Phuket News.