Home » Uncategorized » A tale of love, hate and credit cards

A tale of love, hate and credit cards

After a tough week, I was relieved to go to a quality bar. Everything was just right: an attentive American girl, behind the bar, a guy who was writing a book next to me. Slowly the bar filled up with friendly expats from the many NGO’s that dot he area. I’m not surprised that I hadn’t really noticed her, a shy, well dressed Asian girl. Only when she struggled to move her chair past me and the writer, I finally looked up and caught a glimpse of her.

After a mini birthday celebration brought the extra boost to the night, our bar started to close. It was clear that the party would continue and I was tempted to join the rest of the party. It was only when i wanted to pay my bill when I noticed that my wallet was gone.

My wallet contained only $60, but much more importantly: my bank card and a credit card. A frantic search of the now empty bar showed that the wallet wasn’t to be found. I was 100% sure that I had the wallet over there, as I had showed off my super cool business cards ( http://us.moo.com/products/minicards.html ) in the bar. A quick deduction made it clear that only the shy Asian girl could have been the culprit (I sat in a corner where nobody else had passed etc.). The bar lady joined me in a quick search of the dodgy bars in the city, but we both were unsure how she looked, so our search turned up with nothing.

As my mood soured, I contemplated less friendly options. In the end, I approached all the TukTuk drivers, ladyboys and the like and promised them a large reward if they would bring the cards to my hotel. Surprisingly, one of them suggested to go to the to the tourist police at the border of the city. Which is where I spend the next couple of hours. Afterwards, I had to call in order to block my cards etc. I finally went to bed at 05.00.

I had booked a boat to sail 6 hours to my next destination. The pickup for the boat arrived at 06.15 in the morning However, I didn’t go as the police needed even more time to file a full complaint. The rest of this day was filled with strategies for getting access to my cards and money.

To my great surprise I received the following email:
On 26 jan. 2011 at 14:13 Chean Lean wrote the following:

Hi Amsterdam i would like to ask you about something? last night when i live from my house go to visit around town i found your Master Card and name Card on the Rout so if you want your Master Card back please contact me by this E.mail. so if you have your phone number please send me by this E.mail.

Best Regards.

Was it a trap? How did he get my email address? Why didn’t he give his own phone number or his own address?


I quickly replied, but got no reaction back for the next couple of hours. When he finally called, we spoke briefly. He quickly told where we should go. The hotel owner of my hotel and her daughter offered to drive me there by car. In the car I bombarded them with questions: who would do the talking? Should I offer a reward or would he ask for one? What was a fair reward? Etc. When we finally arrived, all my defenses dropped immediately: a friendly looking guy came up to a large porch. He introduced me to his manager an Australian lady who started talking about the stories I had written about my trip. Meanwhile Lean got the wallet with the credit cards, gave them to me and explained how he contacted me through the business cards in my wallet. The hotel owner and daughter chatted as well and during a busy moment I asked his manager what she thought was fair reward. She explained that Lean is saving for a motorcycle and named an amount.

I then thanked Lean for his honesty and friendliness and then quickly explained how big my troubles would have been without him. I then added 50% to the amount his manager had named and promised I would make him famous through this blog. Lean: this one is for you.

Please share & promote this story about a friendly honest man in Cambodia, so Lean receives the fame he deserves.

1 Comment

  1. Christophe says:

    Fantastic story Gijs! It is amazing to find people like Lean.

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