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Chinese Ambassador Guan Mu calls on Phuket to change direction

Ambassador Who Generated Action on Phuket Goes Back to China

Monday, September 16, 2013
PHUKET: The Chinese Ambassador to Thailand who went public in criticising Phuket authorities for lack of care and consideration of tourists has retired.

Guan Mu has been replace by Ning Fukui, who has yet to express an opinion in public about Thailand tourism.

But he will certainly be following closely any needless problems that befall Chinese tourists, especially tragedies such as the speedboat crash in Pattaya that recently claimed two lives.

His predecessor came to Phuket in May and spoke to Phuket authorities in public about the need for dramatic improvements in the treatment of tourists.

Some of what he had to say in his six-point outline of required improvements probably rubbed off on the Ambassadors of the European Union, who held a summit on Phuket in June with Governor Maitree Intrusud.

It's understood that Guan Mu also lobbied behind closed doors with some of Thailand's most powerful politicians.

Among the most potent points he made was about corruption: ''Police and Immigration do not have justice in their hearts. They are not moral and professional.''

He switched from Chinese to say in Thai: ''Police are corrupt in Thailand. Some of them use their positions of power to rip off tourists.

''This is not true of every tourist but there are enough cases for this to be a serious problem. We have to sort this problem out immediately.''


Almost simultaneously, the new Tourism and Sport Minister, Somsak Pureesrisak, began to take a hands-on interest in what the ambassadors were saying.

He recognised the importance of the tourist industry in revenue terms to Thailand, and opted to fix problems rather than pretend - as many have done in the past - that they do not exist.

Since Ambassador Guan Mu's powerful speech, Immigration officers at Phuket International Airport have ceased imposing a 200 baht ''tax'' on early morning arrivals.

Tourism and Sport is now working with the Department of Special Investigation, local police and Phuket's administration to sort out some of the problems highlighted by Guan Mu.

Comments

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"200 baht ''tax'' on early morning arrivals" - was this legal, did BKK know?

Posted by Fiesty Farang on September 16, 2013 17:42

Editor Comment:

Not much point in asking questions that only Immigration can answer, FF. Hold your breath if you wish.

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Retirement, a diplomatic reaction to 'criticize authorities in the language of these authorities in public'?

Posted by Anonymous on September 17, 2013 10:28

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Sad that perhaps the big politicians in BKK spoke to the same in Beijing but I hope he has a good income and good luck. Well done for bringing this into focus and the large coverage via news outlets for someone as important as himself to be courageous to mention corruption.

Posted by Fiesty Farang on September 17, 2013 12:07


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