Arriving late in BKK airport via Beijing we went through the usual baggage claim and changed some money and were eager to get to the hotel as it had been a really long day and we were already late. We walked through customs - the normal way I always go, which is through the nothing to declare area, when a couple of cutoms guys stop me and tell me to open my bag. I complied thinking it was just routine checks. Then they called us into a room where they pulled out some cigarettes out of my bag, which we had bought in Beijing, 4 cartons each so a total of 8. of which I was carrying. They made a big fuss about the ciggs and started ripping the duty free bags they were in. So I got the feeling we had more than was allowed maybe. Btw the ciggs were in full visibility in bright yellow duty free bags all the way through the airport but I put them in my luggage for convenience.
Few mins past and some cop comes in speaking English explaining that we had too many ciggs and we were only allowed 1 carton per person. So ok we explained that we really didn't know that and that we both owned them and apologised. He continued that we would have to pay a penalty. So again politely asked how much? He then printed out a bill for
38,000BHT = 970Euro we just were shocked and in disbelieve. We kept on expalining that we did not know that it was too many ciggs - they weren't having it! After an hour of trying to plead with them I kinda got angry and said to them that it was a tourist trap etc. Then they put it clearly to us. pay now with cash or go to a Bangkok jail and wait there 2 days for a court case. And it would only be me as I was carrying the ciggs.
The same time there was some Japanese girls there in the same situation - crying their eyes out, obviously didn't have the cash!
So we very very reluctantly paid the filthy swines, signed a statement in Thai language of which I initialally refused as I couldn't read it but they assured me it was ok so I dd.
These guys were completely and utterly going to pocket the money. It spoiled our holiday and left us shook up for a few days.
They will never ever ever see my money again. Bangkok is just a cesspit!! Stay well away from it if you can.