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Phuket jet-skis on the beach at Patong on Sunday

Thai Officials Put 'Big Trouble' Series in Limbo

Monday, September 14, 2009
Phuket Jet-Ski Photo Album Above

THE SECOND episode in the controversial 'Big Trouble' television series is set to screen in Britain on Monday night - but Thai authorities are now preventing the eight-part series from being completed.

Producer-director Gavin Hill says the Thailand Film Office has sent a letter asking the British production company, Bravo, not to screen any more episodes.

Episode Three, being edited in Britain, is in rough-cut form. The show can only go on with permission from all the people shown on-screen.

That includes Winai ''JJ'' Naiman, the now-notorious Phuket jet-ski operator, who signed a release form so that his actions could be displayed to viewers with his approval.

Mr Hill said tonight's second episode does not reflect badly on Thailand. That was never the intention of 'Big Trouble in Tourist Thailand,' he added.

''I don't know what's going to happen now with the series,'' he said. The Thailand Film Office has ''pulled all the releases and permissions that are required to complete the series.''

He has been told there is the likelihood of a complaint being made to the British embassy. At least one volunteer expat tourist policeman in Pattaya had also expressed concern.

Episode Two, Mr Hill said, contained no more about jet-skis on Phuket and was about ''Brits behaving badly,'' with military police in pursuit of drunken sailors.

''In some ways, it's very positive for Thailand,'' he said. ''The young lady who was in trouble on Koh Phangan in the first episode is fined 50 pounds, she gets her bail money back, and she is allowed to go, with the only real penalty being an extra three weeks in Thailand.''

By coincidence, authorities on Koh Phangan have announced a plan to make the island, noted for expat full moon rave parties, drug-free as fast as possible.

Episode One of 'Big Trouble' screened last week, revealing footage of what appeared to be an extortion bid by ''JJ'' with a gun in hand, and it came just before a planned summit on jet-ski scams on Phuket.

Nationwide, crackdowns are underway on crimes against tourists at Suvarnabhumi airport in Bangkok as part of a push against corruption by the Prime Minister.

The jet-ski crackdown on Phuket came after the Deputy PM met with the Australian ambassador. Other ambassadors later echoed their increasing concerns about jet-ski scams to the Phuket Governor, Wichai Praisa-nob.

Mr Hill was keen to make the point that the 'Big Trouble' jet-ski scandal coverage came about by chance. He still says that in fairness, there is no way of knowing whether the alleged damage to jet-skis in the show was genuine or not.

An incident involving ''JJ'' and US marines, posted this week on You Tube, was not used in the series because the show was being made for a British audience. Only the first-episode incident involving ''JJ'' and British marines was considered relevant.

If it screens tonight in Britain, viewers will also see inside Phuket prison, where a British national is interviewed about his experiences in being jailed for ATM offences.

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Comments

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Just curious, how could The Thailand Film Office pull all the releases and permissions that are required to complete the series? If all people signed off on the release forms how could the TFO invalidate them?

Maybe Bravo will have to be creative, blur out faces and disguise voices in the editing process. But that might take a lot of time and money. I hope they are able to complete the series and get it broadcast.

I wonder which volunteer expat tourist policeman in Pattaya expressed concern?

Whoever it is, I wish they would speak-up via youtube, here or at another website, and explain all.

Posted by Anonymous on September 14, 2009 18:19

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You should put 'spoiler alert' at the top of this and your other story....jeez you've now wrecked the suspense for me in watching what happens next to the hapless British lass on Pha-ngan!

Posted by Lana on September 14, 2009 18:26

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If you go on Youtube and Search jjmarines you can see all the uncut unedited video about 1 hour in total. Includes another 6 marines turning up in a tuktuk and also the full exchange between JJ and the Shore Patrol Sergeant that lasted about 10 minutes.

There's also the video of the US Marines handing over 40000 baht a few days later that doesn't get used in the series because it involves Americans. JJ is at the start of that video.

Posted by Ivan on September 14, 2009 19:55

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A program that finally lays bare the thieves, scam artists, and the publicity it will cause the tourist industry in phuket so they pull the plug and hopefully they the con artists can carry on without fear of being shown. All the thai media want is for us the tourist to keep coming to get ripped off well this tourist won't be back.

Posted by billy dale on September 14, 2009 23:00

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So rather than actually take on thieves and scammers its more of the sweep it under the carpet and pretend it doesn't happen.

They just spent 20 or 30 mins this morning on Ch7 discussing it.. Saying maybe Jimmy was set up, that maybe they damaged the jetski just to create a situation and trap JJ, pointing out JJ is not fully Thai..

Just more desperate face saving.

Posted by LivinLOS on September 15, 2009 08:12

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The British press will have a field day with this ham-fisted censorship attempt by the Thailand Film Office. And the Bravo PR people will milk this for all it's worth. The fall-out from this ill-conceived reaction will likely damage tourism from the UK far more effectively than the show.

Posted by SJH on September 15, 2009 09:28


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