Living 

I just got robbed

So. I just got robbed. Well, not just. Two days ago (Thursday). Shitty feeling. It happened when I did some sports at the University sports premisses. I know it sounds stupid for someone who doesn’t do much sport but people who do sports regularly will understand the situation:

I went to the football field of RSU in order to go running. Just like I do it every day. I changed my clothes, put everything into my backpack, went to the track around the field, placed my backpack somewhere outside the track and then started to run. Yes, it’s not in locker (there are no lockers) or secured in any other way – but that’s how it works on sport premisses. Everybody does that (that’s not an excuse, I know), I did it for 20 years now – so maybe it was just about time to happen (even though I’ve been robbed before – only of my awesome zip-pants though). So back to Thursday:

My backpack was standing next to the track. I checked it every time I passed it. During the last two laps it got a bit darker and so I couldn’t see it anymore all the time – that probably was what the thief was waiting for. To make things even worse: It’s not only the bag with my suit (pants, shirt, tie, shoes) in it (all to big for the average Thai person anyways – so just bring it back :P ) but also my MacBook Pro, Samsung Galaxy Note Tablet, HTC One X mobile phone, wallet with bankcard, credit card, keys, keycards, Work Permit & Passport. Dafuq!

“Oh Sascha, why did you put all those things in your bag?” – “I did this because I decided to take all the documents I had in the office (passport, work permit) home since I figured home would be safer because I can’t lock my office.” Awesome timing!

First Reaction

After I finished my last lap I did a 100 meter sprint towards the end of the track. I tried to power hard so I was quite out of breath when I stopped. I walked to the place where I put my backpack and couldn’t find it. I was confused! So many people sat around so I couldn’t believe someone would have just stolen it so I walked around, checked if someone moved it or if I forgot where I placed it. I didn’t see anything. The heavy breathing stopped. Shock set in.

The hunt

After realizing that my DAKINE backpack has really been gone I thought about what to do and luckily ran into two of my students. One of them with perfect Thai skills. She offered her help immediately and we asked around whether some of the other people there saw anything. Of course they didn’t. Then we went on to the talk to the security guards since there are a lot of them on campus. Unfortunately they didn’t do much. One guard walked around the area where I left my backpack at first and looked around some corners…but of course there was nothing to be seen. We then called one of my colleagues who usually has a good network of people in case of emergencies. He gave us the number of the head of the security – but when he arrived he just said the same thing. “Can’t help, go to police”.

Luckily there is a police station right next to the campus! That’s awesome. In case you need help you can just go there and….can go somewhere else because they do not take any case. They are only there for emergencies. And some foreigner losing everything he owns is, of course, not an emergency. I do understand that there could be bigger emergencies but there were three police officers in the police station doing nothing and the just refused to take on my case. Instead they said ‘either come back tomorrow morning (WTF!) or go to another police station’. AWESOME.

So said and done. We took a taxi to another police station. A bigger one. The closest one to University. And what did they tell us? Of course! Wrong police station. Not their district (even though it’s the closest police station). So we had to go to a third place somewhere out in the wild. After arriving there we found something that resembled a ghost police station. Nobody in the entrance area, not to many lights but one bright room on the rear end of the corridor. We looked there and saw one officer in jump suit sitting there and watching TV. That’s how you imagine a police station to be…

Luckily the student with Thai skills came with me to the police station and explained my situation. The police officer then looked at us and took out a blank paper (seriously, a white, blank, paper) and started to write down what just got stolen:

  • DAKINE backpack, grey-yellow
  • MacBook Pro 13″
  • Samsung Galaxy Note Tablet
  • HTC One X
  • Bankcard
  • Creditcard
  • Keys
  • Passport
  • Work Permit
  • ….

When writing down names (my name, electronic devices) I had to spell how to write it and the police officer had lots of trouble figuring out those English letters that I was telling him. I don’t mean to be an ass here but I was hoping that police officers would speak a bit better English (a bit more than nothing at least). After he wrote everything on the paper he then took out some kind of notebook and wrote the whole case down. Into a notebook! Not a computer (network? system?), a notebook. Made of paper! Later on he then said he’s going to type it into the police network…therefore he took out his smartphone and typed the case into the POLICE LINE GROUP. That’s when I was speechless.

So after the police officer wrote down everything into the line group he told me to bring back the original boxes of my devices to get the serial numbers in order to start tracking. I did that the day after with an even better experience. The officer from the night before wasn’t there (of course) and his colleague said he could not help me at all and so he made the student that came with me to translate (thanks again!) to call that exact guy. From her phone. What the hell? He then told us to leave the boxes on his desk and he’ll get back to us after a few days. Amazing!

Back to Thursday night. After returning to Uni from the police station I said goodbye to those students who sticked with me (thank you again!) and then met a friend who lives close to me. She offered to pick me up and already called my Thai bank to cancel my card while I was at the police station. Awesome. Thank you! I then used her computer to go online and to change my passwords and to lock my MacBook and my Tablet remotely. So if the thieves connect to the internet the devices will be locked immediately. So far they haven’t been online though. My friend then also lent me some money and organized a spare key from our landlord for my apartment so that I was able to enter my room and go to work in the morning. Really appreciate all the help!

The night was a bit weird then. Besides being angry and mad I also was a bit paranoid since the thieves had my keys. Even though they keys don’t show any sign of my condo I asked myself what would happen if they would try to come here. After all the police and security always said: “That happens very often. They usually spy on you for a while before the steal from you.” Nevertheless I survived the night, woke up when the sun came out (since I didn’t have any alarm clock anymore) and then went to University again.

The day after.

So the day after started…stupid. I also had my belt and my shoes in my backpack. So I couldn’t find a suitable belt for my suit and also had to use my fucked up (sorry) old shoes to go to work. Always grabbing my pants to not let them drop. Beautiful feeling.

HR

First thing I did was going to HR of my Uni in order to get a copy of my passport. At least some kind of identification. They then told me I need to get a new passport at my embassy before I would get a new work permit. Makes sense. I’ll be back.

Bangkok Bank

Afterwards I then went to the bank to get a new bankcard. The first bank clerk told me ‘mai dai, mai dai’ which stands for ‘you can’t’ meaning I couldn’t get a bankcard without the original passport. She didn’t even want to listen to my argument (“You already have my passport copy on file, it got stolen now, you have my teacher ID, etc…”). After she said ‘mai dai’ for the tenth time I got a bit louder (not yelling, but more serious) and so a second bank clerk came, listened and was actually able to speak English. She briefly asked her manager who agreed on giving me a bankcard with my passport copy and the police report on file. Thank you! And to the girl saying ‘mai dai’ all the time: Karma’s a bitch, bitch. Wait for it.

Apple – uStore.

So now I had a bankcard again. Nice. Slowly but steady I started to think about how to go back to work. Most of my files are apple mac files so I need a Mac to work. Luckily we have an Apple uStore on campus which with I actually ordered a new MacBook last week (will be delivered in around 3 weeks). I thought maybe they could lent me an old MacBook they have in the store until the new one comes since they know I’m buying with them. But, of course, they said ‘mai dai’. Thanks for nothing, Apple. I know I can’t expect to get help but it would have been nice and the store is on campus, they have my teacher ID, know where I live, work, etc…it would be possible to help, if they wanted to.

Samsung

I then also went to Samsung where I bought my tablet. Samsung store at Future Park Rangsit. A huge shopping mall here. Funny: When I came to buy the tablet everybody seemed to speak English. Now that I had a question the SAME people acted as if they wouldn’t understand me and actually sent me away to the Samsung shop within the Robinson Department store. Again: The official Samsung shop sent me away to the small Samsung area within a department store….WTF? Of course they didn’t know what to do and I even had to show them how to lock your Samsung tablet remotely. The hell…once more: No help at all. Thanks, Samsung.

AIS – 12 Call – Mobile Phone provider

AIS has a really good customer service via Facebook. Fast responses and usually quick actions. So I told them to disable the number and they did it immediately. The problem now however is: Google sends a verification to that number to let me log in to my files. I can’t check that number right now and I can only get a new SIM card with that exact number when I show them my original passport. They wouldn’t accept the passport copy. Damn it! So first thx, AIS – but then: Damn, AIS!

The aftermath

Well I have a spare key now but I have to copy it and return it then again to the administration here. Furthermore I have to pay for new keycards and also for a new bank book at Bangkok Bank. Moreover I need to apply for a new passport at my embassy (probably a long journey there thx to the Shutdown), new work permit and, of course, a new MacBook, Phone, Tablet, Shoes, Belt, Tie, Suit….so the thieves did not only take my bag but, on the long run, also a lot of money from me.

Police said it might take up to three weeks to find some of my stuff again – if they find it. I’m not having high hopes though after seeing how they work.

The disappointments – The guards. 

We have lots of guards (LOTS) hanging out on campus but none of them seemed to actually care. Like ‘ah, it’s only the foreigner, whatever’. They told us they couldn’t check the cameras (for whatever reason) and they can’t check people leaving Uni (at night…not that hard since there aren’t to many). It just seemed as if they didn’t want to work (for me).

The disappointments – The police

  • Police station 1: “No, we don’t take such cases in the evening. Come back tomorrow or go elsewhere.”
  • Police station 2: “Yeah we are closer to Uni but it’s not our responsibility. Go to another police station.”
  • Police station 3: Jump suit, blank paper, paper notebook, “come back tomorrow” – then not able to help because colleague not there.

The disappointments – Uni

I don’t know how to explain but somehow you would feel that your employer, especially if stuff gets stolen on its premisses, would try more to help or care more about you. Nothing happened and besides a few colleagues saying ‘oh, poor you’ nobody actually cared. I don’t expect any wonders but, from a personal point of view, I think I would act differently if my employee would get his things stolen while being at the work place (even if it was for sports).

The disappointments – Samsung, Apple, HTC

As mentioned before no help at all in tracking or replacing. Again you can’t expect to much but no help at all is simply disappointing. Plain and simple.

The good guys

We all know that bad experiences also bring something good to daylight. In my case it was to see that lots of international students, after hearing of what happened, offered their help. From the girl who went to the police with me over to an ICT student who offered to lent me his laptop or phone to others that offered to help me out with money in case my ATM card wouldn’t work yet. I highly appreciate all the help that was offered and am happy to know so many cool people. Thank you very much!

Sascha Funk

Founder / Editor at My-Thai.org
Sascha is the publisher of my-thai.org and switched from an online marketing agency life in Europe to a teaching and education life in Thailand. He also writes about Teaching & Technology.

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