Dechen Dolkar  

An Indian visitor, a woman, deceived three Bhutanese taxi drivers and a hotel owner last week.

It was learnt that the woman didn’t pay the taxi fare from Phuentsholing to Thimphu, Chuzom to Paro, and from hotel to the airport.

The visitor, aged between 40 and 50, was arrested at the Paro international airport on January 30 for trying to fly out without a ticket. The incident happened on a Drukair flight bound for Bangkok, Thailand.

The woman is currently under police custody and officials said the case is being investigated.

The woman had come from Phuentsholing to Thimphu on January 29.

According to the taxi driver, who ferried the woman from Phuentsholing, the woman flagged the taxi three kilometres after crossing the Rinchending check post.

The taxi driver already had two passengers until Gedu. From Gedu, a man got in with lots of incense powder (Sang) baggage until Chunzom.

He said that after reaching Wangkha check post the police did the management system (CPMS) for the man. From Rinchending check post the CPMS was done only for two women passengers.

“I requested others to do the CPMS since I don’t know,” the taxi driver said.

The taxi driver said that while police was interrogating the man about the sang for the requirement of a permit, the police forgot to enter the details of the visiting Indian woman.

The taxi driver said that the policeman went to the check post office to ask his colleagues about the sang and, after returning,  asked us to go.

He said that they reached Thimphu in the afternoon and dropped the visiting woman in the town. 

“The woman claimed that she lost her purse and did not have money on her to pay taxi fare. She then asked for money from shops and gave Nu 300 to the taxi driver,” the taxi driver said. 

Then she disappeared.

On the same day, in the evening, the woman had reached Chunzom.

The woman flagged a taxi and headed to Paro.

The taxi driver said that he explained to the woman that the airport is closed. “The woman insisted on dropping her near the airport gate. I dropped her off near the bridge at Paro College of Education.”

The taxi driver also claimed that the woman was asking for shelter at his house. 

“I refused to take her; she even didn’t pay the taxi fare,” the taxi driver said. 

Then the woman went to a hotel near the airport.

The hotel owner said that the woman checked in the hotel around 9pm, claiming that she came from Pheuntsholing. “She asked for a Nu 200 for Nu 800 single room.”

When asked for the details to enter, the woman gave her name only and refused to give other details. The woman didn’t even ask for dinner. 

The hotel owner said that the woman checked out around 8am. When asked for the room charge, the woman said she didn’t have money and fled.

It was learnt that another taxi dropped the woman from the hotel to the airport. The woman didn’t pay the taxi fare.

After reaching the airport, the woman managed to pass through security with an old boarding pass.

According to Drukair, the boarding pass belonged to a Bhutanese who had travelled from Paro to Bangkok on February 5 last year.

A Drukair official said that at the counters she tricked the staff and told them that her passport was with her aunt who had already checked in and made it look like she was going to get it from her. 

The Drukair officials said that the ground staff had not check her in as she didn’t show any credentials but the woman had passed through security and immigration somehow. She skipped the check-in procedure and went ahead and passed through immigration posing as a passenger on the flight.

The official added that the woman went ahead without showing her boarding pass and from there the boarding staff informed each other that the woman was attempting to board the plane without following the boarding procedure.

The official said that Drukair ground staff immediately went to the aircraft to investigate and it was confirmed that she did not have valid documents. ”We handed her over to security.”