Apparently this is real and was reported on BBC.
Can’t believe if this is true but I received three emails of the same subject already. Apparently this is one scam widely discussed online about duty free shops in second world countries’ airports, don’t accept any FREE gift from the duty free shop even though the cashier says it is FREE, and to check your bag before leaving the shop,
Subject: Customs and Duty-Free at the airports
Unbelievable, but please apply caution.
All those who travel a lot, please be very, very careful. Read ahead…
An Indian was detained in Bangkok for stealing a box of cigarettes in a duty-free shop in Bangkok International Airport. He had paid for chocolates and a carton of cigarettes. The cashier put a packet of cigarettes extra into his bag and he thought it was a free pack. He was arrested for shop-lifting and the Thai Police extortion price was 30,000 Baht for his release. He spent two nights in jail and paid 500 Baht for an air-conditioned cell, 200-300 baht for each visitor, and 11,000 baht for his final release. The Police shared the money in front of his eyes. On top of that, he was charged in court and fined 2,000 baht by the magistrate and handcuffed and escorted to his plane. His passport was stamped “Thief”.
While there, his relatives requested help from the Indian Embassy and was told that they are helpless, many Asians are victimised similarly daily and letters and phone-calls to the Thai authorities are ignored. He shared a cell with a Singaporean the first night who paid 60,000 baht for his release. The second night was a Malaysian national who paid 70,000 baht.
Mind you this was not in a shanty shop in downtown Bangkok but in a duty free shop at the Bangkok Int’l Airport. BE WARNED. The above 100% correct information because Mr.Rajan Khera’s customer from India faced exactly the same scenario mentioned above when he was in transit at Bangkok Int’l Airport coming to Taipei.
Someone went through the same ordeal in Dubai. He bought stuff at the Duty Free upon entering. The girl at Duty Free put a bottle of cologne in his shopping bag (he did not even see it happen). He was arrested for stealing ( this is before he even picked up his luggage ). He sat at the airport jail (where he was harassed for the whole day. (NO FOOD, NO WATER) for one day and only after he paid a fine (bribe of US 500..). That is all the cash he had in his pocket at the time. They let him go. These are scams that are happening all over the place. Please BE CAREFUL! All of this is pre-planned and the people who work at the airport know who to target.