Don't Accept Food From Strangers
by Randy Magnus
I was photographing the people leaving Nana Entertainment Plaza at closing time, and this kid said she was hungry and wanted soup. I told her I’d get her some. She looked 12, but said she was 19. What was strange was she wanted soup on Sukhumvit - not on Soi 4, where Nana Plaza is.
I’d been documenting the street food and their vendors all week long in the Nana area, and I knew there were a lot of them on the other side of Sukhumvit who set up for the closing Nana crowd. We walked down Sukhumvit to the pedestrian crossing just before the Nana skytrain stop, crossed over the road, and right there was a seafood soup place - the kind they put the charcoal right on the table, a clay pot of heated water on top of the charcoal and you cook the food right at your table [This is called Jim Jum - Bangkok Badboy].
I was taking photos of her and her friend preparing the soup, drinking only water because I’d just had a hamburger at the entrance to Nana Plaza. When the soup was ready, she prepared a small bowl for me, which I refused. I should have left then and taken photos of the other vendors on the way back to Nana. But I finally agreed to eat the bowl of soup - which she had drugged.
I woke up 12 hours later in my room at White Orchid Inn, a little boutique hotel in the alley across from the 7-11 on Soi 4 (two alleys away from Nana Plaza). She and her friend had assisted me to my hotel - only she was allowed in with me, the friend left and waited outside. Nattaya was her name on her ID, from Pattaya.
Nattaya went through all of my stuff in my room, took the cash and my two digital still cameras. She couldnt slip my video camera in her purse and get it by the receptionist, so it was saved.
The receptionist got the information from her ID card, and I went to the police, filled out a form, and talked to another policeman, who send me to a small hospital for a urine test to verify that I had been drugged.
The receptionist at White Orchid Inn said that the police don’t do much unless you slip them some money.
I sent a letter to her and her parents to the address in Pattaya (assuming it was a valid ID), and had the receptionist at White Orchid translate the letter to Thai, asking them to return my cameras and telling them that what she did was wrong.
We’ll see what happens, if anything. She probably sold the cameras down Sukhumvit at the night market…
Footnote: Got word from my hotel that the ID was stolen from a university girl.