How it works:
- Opening: a stranger chats you up, asks where you are from, then claims to have a relative/family member heading there soon! Regardless of what country or city you mention – this guy will know someone heading there. Next, he would like to invite you to his house for a meal, in the hopes that you can help his anxious relative/family member out with some tips.
- Set-up: once you enter the house however, the gates/doors will be locked and you will find people playing card games for money. You will be invited (i.e. forced) to play with them. Different kinds of situation can occur (e.g. they tell you how to work together so as to win against another person who is joining the game later), but eventually, you will end up losing big. If you do not have enough cash, they will bring you to the nearest ATM to withdraw cash to pay up.
Places to beware:
- Phnom Penh
What to do:
- Decline such invitations. It is a standard modus operandi that can be found not just in Laos, but in several other countries (e.g. Morocco, Cambodia, Philippines, etc).