Tourists In Thailand Escape From Suspected Trafficking Attempt By Ride-Hailing Driver
UPDATE (8 Sep): An inDrive spokesperson told MS News that they conducted an internal investigation after they were alerted to the incident.
While the company wasn’t able to contact the passengers, a detailed investigation into the driver’s activities found that the incident was a “result of miscommunication” and that no foul play was involved.
A group of five tourists from Malaysia were on holiday in Thailand when they escaped what they suspected was a trafficking attempt.
They were on their way to the airport when their ride-hailing driver reportedly started making suspicious comments to someone over the phone.
Fortunately, one of the tourists knew Thai and understood what the driver was saying. The group then decided to escape from the car and flee for their lives.
Tourists in Thailand book ride to airport on ride-hailing app
On 5 Sep, Mr Tong — one of the travellers — took to Facebook to recount the harrowing experience.
In a group of five — two men and three women — they travelled to Bangkok, Thailand for vacation.
When they were about to depart the country, they booked a car ride to the airport through inDrive — a ride-hailing app.
Driver allegedly reported passengers’ every move to someone on the phone
Mr Tong said that one of the men was more cautious in general and immediately noticed something was amiss when they boarded the vehicle.
The windows of the vehicle were tinted black. On top of that, the driver sneakily made a phone call and asked where they were from.
“I understand Thai, so I could listen in on the driver’s call. He said he was driving three women and two men, and was reporting our every move to the person on the other end of the line,” explained Mr Tong.
Mr Tong even recalled the driver saying he was “nervous yet excited”.
Driver’s & tourists’ GPS show different arrival times at destination
At that moment, the travellers opened up the navigation app Waze, which said that they were about 30 minutes away from the airport.
However, the driver’s Google Maps navigator showed that their estimated time of arrival — to an unknown destination — was 50 minutes.
Sensing something was very wrong, they requested to alight in order to use the restroom.
Upon their request, the driver’s demeanour apparently changed. He told the group he could not stop there, as he might risk being arrested.
Instead, he offered to stop at a petrol station five minutes ahead. But when the tourists checked, the petrol station did not exist.
Tourists escape amidst traffic jam on Thailand road
Sensing something was wrong, the group immediately opened the car door in the middle of the road, alighted, and grabbed their luggage from the boot.
The driver was apparently stunned at the time and did not question their actions nor ask for payment.
Mr Tong said that they were fortunate to have realised something was off. There was also a traffic jam on the road they were on, which gave them enough time to open the door and get out of the car.
“The driver’s profile showed that he has chauffeured over 600 people, but not everyone is as lucky as us. All the conditions were in our favour. If one thing was missing, I would not be here sharing this story”, said Mr Tong.
Stay vigilant & keep track of your whereabouts
Mr Tong took the opportunity to highlight the dangerous world we live in. Everyone should stay vigilant and protect themselves, because who knows when it would save their lives one day.
Additionally, he advised tourists to keep track of their own whereabouts using GPS, and carefully observe their drivers’ behaviour.
He also added a disclaimer that he did not share the story to cause panic or stop others from visiting Thailand.
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Featured image adapted from Facebook.
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