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Jet-skis on Patong beach: time to draw a line in the sand on scams

Aussie Media Damns Phuket's Jet-Ski Scams

Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Phuketwan News Analysis

REPORTS appearing in the Australian media today threaten to seriously damage Thailand's beach holiday tourism industry unless answers are quickly found to jet-ski scams in Phuket and Pattaya.

The reports, being carried on Australia's most popular news site and probably in the best-read newspapers in big cities across the country, begins: ''Australian holidaymakers are being conned out of cash and threatened with violence in a Thailand jet ski scam.''

The news.com.au account, headlined 'Knives pulled on tourists in jet-ski scam,' goes on to detail instances of scams that have mostly been reported in Phuketwan.

With the obvious failure of former Governor Wichai Praisa-ngob's compulsory insurance scheme for Phuket jet-skis, the time has now come to look at lasting solutions.

Unless the issue is dealt with immediately, Phuket and Pattaya will develop a black reputation among Australians, and other tourists. The jet-ski scammers are not particular. They will rob people from anywhere.

Coincidentally, the seven-year deadline set by another former Governor to phase out Phuket's jet-skis is almost up. At next month's meeting with Phuket's honorary consuls and embassy representatives from about 22 nations, the present Governor, Tri Augkaradacha, will be asked whether he still plans to end the use of jet-skis on Phuket.

Today's news report from Australia is bound to be produced at that gathering. The article says: ''The sting, which targets tourists at some beaches across the country including Phuket and Pattaya, sees travellers forced to pay hefty compensation for damage to jet skis that they did not actually cause.

''While the scam has been going on for years, there have been an increasing number of violent threats against tourists who dispute the fee, with locals warning that it is only a matter of time before someone is killed.''

The production of a handgun in a Phuket jet-ski rip-off led to the first wave of international publicity about the scam. Phuketwan understands that just last month the jet-ski operator involved in that incident, carried in a British television series entitled 'Big Trouble in Tourist Thailand,' appeared in court for the first time on a weapons charge. Whether the case against Winai ''JJ'' Naiman proceeded or will proceed at some future date is not known.

For a time, the jet-ski operators behaved themselves. But with the failure of the insurance scheme have come growing incidents of rip-offs. To prevent a tragedy, Phuketwan suggests consideration of a three-point plan of action.

Make Jet-Ski Operators Pay

REPLACE the jet-ski insurance scheme with a co-operative scheme. Under the co-operative, all jet-ski operators would be compelled to contribute to a fund. That fund will be used to cover any claims of damage to jet-skis. The jet-ski operators will thus be forced to pay for all claims with their own money, and to regulate their own industry.

Weed Out the Rip-Off Merchants

AS THE seven-year phase-out deadline expires, all jet-ski operators should be made to re-register. Jet-skis bought and registered outside Phuket should be banned. Every operator should face intense scrutiny regarding previous insurance claims and those with a bad record should be weeded out. About 120 jet-skis would be enough for all of Phuket. Any operator found abusing the system should have his jet-ski confiscated - permanently.

Put the Royal Navy in Charge

IT'S TIME to call in the Navy. Phuket's beaches - especially Patong where most of the rip-offs take place - rarely see any authorities patrolling the beach. Aspersions have been cast about local police. The Thai Royal Navy has an impeccable reputation for honesty, and an office on Patong beach. The Navy already has a strong commitment to defending Thailand's coast. This scam threat comes from within, but it's just as damaging to Thailand as any threat from outside. Send in the Navy. Adapt Phuket's regulations so that they guard Phuket's beaches.

Phuketwan believes that with Thailand's tourism industry being imperilled from within, it's time to draw a line in the sand.
Aussies 'Ripped Off' in Phuket Jet-Ski Scam
Latest A family group of 13 Australians found that they had to pay a total of 72,500 baht to a jet-ski operator who alleged that jetskis had been damaged. The Aussies say they were ripped off.
Aussies 'Ripped Off' in Phuket Jet-Ski Scam

Governor Promises a 'Safer Phuket' for Aussies
Latest The safety of tourists was high on the agenda when Australia's new ambassador called on Phuket's new governor. The governor has some improvements in mind.
Governor Promises a 'Safer Phuket' for Aussies

Phuket Jet-Skis and the Seven Year Ditch
Latest The man who oversees everything from the high water mark down on Phuket was involved in the deal that set seven years for jet skis to be phased out. Here's what he thinks now.
Phuket Jet-Skis and the Seven Year Ditch

Phuket's Uninsured Jet-Skis Outnumber Insured
Latest Two more deaths on a jetski at Patong are likely to intensify pressure to make Phuket's jetskis safe or get rid of them. Less than half the jetskis are insured, an investigation reveals.
Phuket's Uninsured Jet-Skis Outnumber Insured

Riled Phuket Tourist Pays Extra Jet-Ski Charge
UPDATE A Phuketwan journalist in Patong encounters JJ Naiman engaged in a mediation debate with a Russian tourist at Kathu Police Station. After a lengthy mediation, the tourist pays up.
Riled Phuket Tourist Pays Extra Jet-Ski Charge

Fresh Rip-Off Claim in Phuket Jet-Ski Turmoil
Latest A tourist from South Africa claims to have paid an extra 69,000 baht to a jet ski operator at Patong despite having an insurance policy covering damage.
Fresh Rip-Off Claim in Phuket Jet-Ski Turmoil

Comments

Comments have been disabled for this article.

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Put the Royal Navy in Charge.
Weed Out the Rip-Off Merchants.
Make Jet-Ski Operators Pay.
No! No! No! The only solution is to get rid of them. This has been going on for years, they have had plenty of opportunity to improve their act, they have done nothing.
Send them packing, maybe too late already.

Posted by Phuket Kop on January 26, 2011 11:07

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I just hope all the Australian reporting is not one sided and reflects the growing numbers of Australians holdaying in Phuket who choose to break the law, be it barmat-napping, sunnie-stealing, etc.

Posted by Mister Ree on January 26, 2011 11:15

Editor Comment:

Lovely to know that jet-ski operators have someone standing up for their right to rip off tourists to the tune of tens and in some cases hundreds of thousands of baht. As the story points out, the scams apply to all nationalities. To compare petty theft with grand fraud is a bit suss.

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Jet ski riders are a massive nuisance, let alone the operators. Trying to find some peaceful time on your boat in a bay anywhere near where they are used means they will come roaring up to your boat, around and around it, disturbing everything in the boat, let alone the peace. They come up and peer into your boat. Get rid of the pesky jet ski operators and customers.

Posted by Khun Tina on January 26, 2011 11:20

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Its about time that something is done to fix this problem. A recent friend visited Patong beach with children and these operators got a 10 yo to ride the jetski (totally illegal) and they told them that it's ok to do so. So money is the issue here, not safety at all. These operators should be cleared from the beaches. Also the issue of motorcycle scams need to be taken to issue.

Posted by Alex on January 26, 2011 11:36

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Keep up the campaign. The damage these constantly surfacing reports in the Australian media and elsewhere - including 'Trip Advisor' - are doing to your tourism industry is huge.

http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowTopic-g297930-i9925-k4185249-o10-Boycott_the_Jet_Skis-Patong_Phuket.html#30848372

Posted by Anonymous on January 26, 2011 11:40

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Hmm, why not just enforce the existing laws? Only people with proper licenses are allowed to ride jet skis. I guess that would solve the problem over night and not more then a handful of jet skis would be needed if any at all!

Posted by Mack on January 26, 2011 11:43

Editor Comment:

Enforcing the law needs to be constant and consistent or enforcement becomes a problem. Having become well-established, there would be no justice in suddenly enforcing laws that haven't been previously enforced. Finding alternative employment for 300 people who have few other skills (and who support families) is difficult. Thrown out of work, the not-so-honest among these guys could even consider crimes that were even more damaging . . .

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25 years ago my travel buddy got stung on one of these Jetski/Water scooter scams at Patong. My 3 point plan, get rid of them, get rid of them, get rid of them!!!

Posted by Antz Pantz on January 26, 2011 11:48

Editor Comment:

Won't work, won't work, won't work.

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Although i do appreciate Phuket Wan's effort to suggest the three-point plan of action, the solution is actually a "one-point' action plan!

ENFORCE THE LAW's!
As long as our authorities and police do not enforce the laws ethically and equally there will never be any sign of improvement.
Should be blame the people who break the law or should we blame the people who allows (and sometimes even support) breaking the law? Think about it....

Posted by MR. K on January 26, 2011 11:54

Editor Comment:

Yeah, I've thought about it. Not an option. Some tourists actually enjoy riding jet-skis. Patong is moving in the direction where its market is jet-ski loving tourists. You have as much chance of removing them from Phuket's beaches as you have of removing beach loungers and umbrellas. I hate using capital letters but please stop offering solutions that became irrelevant a decade ago. What's needed now are REALISTIC answers. If readers don't have one, please don't bother.

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I think questions that need to be answered is for police to see if the jet ski operator in question had the insurance or is licensed to operate. My opinion only, but I think since insurance and operating licenses for the jet ski industry came about last year, should be easy (one would think and hope) that could be enforced first, not removing them, that will never happen.

Posted by Lee on January 26, 2011 12:22

Editor Comment:

Jet-ski scams have proved to be beyond the capacity of the police to control.

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@ editor.. AND YOUR SOLUTION IS REALISTIC.. LMAO

i doubt you will publish this. anything against your thoughts is edited or deleted.

Posted by john s on January 26, 2011 12:51

Editor Comment:

You're more coherent today than usual, John, but still inclined to pursue the personal rather than debate any particular principle. As a contribution to debate . . . no food for thought there.

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Editor:
I think comment from Mr. K is very- very correct.
'Realistic' answers and solution - if accepted and implemented - will be based on new law and new rules. If our police and people in charge etc. do not care to enforce our old law and rules they will not care for new law and rules too!

It is indeed very frustrating and i feel sad about it! I wish I would have a solution for this, but as a Thai, I know well that it will only change for the better if the pressure comes from government in Bangkok!

Posted by Lilly on January 26, 2011 13:02

Editor Comment:

Lilly, The alternative to having rules is to have no rules. When laws fail through lack of compliance, the only real option is to impose laws that won't fail. Yes, and pressure from Bangkok will become more intense next time because the insurance idea flopped.

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"Some tourists actually enjoy riding jet-skis. Patong is moving in the direction where its market is jet-ski loving tourists".

You suggest 300 lose their jobs if you ban the jet-skis. How many jobs will be lost if Patong moves in such an idiotic direction? Isn't it famed for sun,sea,sand & sex? Please don't add skis.

Posted by Pete on January 26, 2011 13:09

Editor Comment:

Tourist numbers are at record levels for Phuket and not likely to decrease. The jet-ski frauds need to be resolved because they are criminal, and potentially deadly. The skis are there and unlikely to disappear.

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Dear Mr. Editor
I know this comment is not a solution to the problem, but i think it has to be said that at most pictures taken at any jet-ski scams, you will find one police man nearby. I also like to mentioned that in my personal opinion, it is suerly not beyond the capacity of the police to control! There are other reasons! Finally, your great website helps a lot to put pressure on people in power, police and other authorities as you accept reader comments. It is surly not an easy job to handle some of those comments, but I appreciate your contribution to this island through Phuket Wan.

Posted by Mr. K on January 26, 2011 13:19

Editor Comment:

I've been at three scams on Patong beach and police were at one of the three. The police are incapable of resolving disputes with justice. They will negotiate a settlement. But that's usually a compromise in which money still changes hands. Thanks for your kind thoughts.

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lily, any suggestions who to send to? emails? great to hear and see comments from Thai people

Posted by john s on January 26, 2011 13:30

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my o my, this jetski brings you justin biber like traffic in the comments section, every time. *555

As a jet ski aficionada I suggest to only allow jet ski renting at two or three beaches in Phuket (not Patong, as the police there is to occupied looking the other way...) and completely ban them in Krabi and Khaolak other for safety use. No renting only rescuing (make that profitable, better pay 10K Baht for being rescued while swimming in red, as being scammed for nothing).

Posted by Lena on January 26, 2011 13:52

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G'day Mr Editor ,
I haven't actually seen much reporting about this in the Australian media today ... But then again it's Australia Day.

I have never hired a jetski nor have any of my friends that have visited Phuket ..Simply reason we have been forewarned about them ! ... will this stop us visiting Phuket ? .. No in fact we are returning in May to get married and bringing 24 guests most of who have never been to Phuket and I will make sure that none of them hires a Jet Ski.

If no one hired them then the problem will be solved because the would be no market.

Mr Ree,
Are Aussies the only ones who commit crimes in Phuket I think not and before you say I'm a Low end tourist the groups who have travelled to Phuket with me in the past have spent over 700,000.00 baht during their stay and I foresee a similar spending this time.

Posted by Lozza59 on January 26, 2011 13:55

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If compelling operators to buy insurance didn't work, why would one expect that compelling them to contribute to a "co-operative fund" would have different results?

And who would be responsible to oversee and enforce this co-operative fund plan? Who will ensure that those funds are duly collected, properly managed, and distributed equitably (if/when needed)? You say yourself that "Jet-ski scams have proved to be beyond the capacity of the police to control." Is it reasonable to expect that the Royal Navy would take on this task?

A plan of action is certainly called for, and there have been more than a few plans in the past. But implementing and following through with them is what seems to be the problem.

Weeding out the "rip-off merchants" and strictly registering and regulating the operators would be a good start and the best course of action IMO. And I agree that "any operator found abusing the system should have his jet-ski confiscated permanently". That indeed would be a fair and just punishment for those that abuse the system.

A heavy hand is ultimately needed to let these operators know, under no uncertain terms, that their rip-offs will no longer be tolerated. Who exactly will lend that hand is the question.

Posted by Relox on January 26, 2011 13:55

Editor Comment:

The insurance scheme involved a third party and therefore the opportunity for scamsters decide whether to claim for insurance or deal directly with the victims. A co-op would offer no such alternative and be far more easily administered. The money would be collected from all registered members by the Jet-ski Club of Phuket and administered by club officials. Any claim would need to be paid from the jet-ski operator fund's own money. No payments permitted from victims at all, on penalty of having a jet-ski confiscated. Anybody who does not pay the fee is not allowed on the beaches.

The Navy needs to be involved because intervention has to come before money changes hands on the beach. Once that happens, it's too late. Police can negotiate, but patrolling Navy officers in pairs, dressed in white, and with the power to seize jet-skis, would be far more effective. Whoever takes charge of fixing the issue needs to have a highly-visible presence on the beach all the time that jet-skis are operating. They need to be patrolling constantly.

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Information must be the key. Jet-ski scams can be avoided. If people know how this system works, nobody will rent jet-skis and the problem is solved.

Posted by Hotel owner in Patong on January 26, 2011 14:12

Editor Comment:

Impractical. Signs would be ripped down. Resort staff roughed up. Some people want to ride jet-skis. As with swimmers and red flags, you can't stop them. The rip-offs would continue.

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Alan, I think there is a few flaws in your idea:

"The insurance scheme involved a third party and therefore the opportunity for scamsters [to] decide whether to claim for insurance or deal directly with the victims." For the insurance, even though that was beyond belief to pay for down time, was to prevent the scams, not simply be an option to the operator. (Operator thinks: I'll scam, more money that way.)

"A co-op would offer no such alternative (how?) and be far more easily administered (how?)." So the operators administer this fund themselves? How does this prevent the scams?

"The money would be collected from all registered members by the Jet-ski Club of Phuket and administered by club officials. Any claim would need to be paid from the jet-ski operator fund's own money. No payments permitted from victims at all, on penalty of having a jet-ski confiscated. Anybody who does not pay the fee is not allowed on the beaches." I thought all the jet skis are to be registered already in order to be on the beach, but many reports state how many registered and how many un-registered are on the beach, but no reports ever made about how many were confiscated for violating that law.

On a side note, what exactly are these damages that happen to jet skis? That would make an interesting article is to see what the damages were that were claimed for when the insurance scheme (read that as scam) was "working" for a while.

Posted by Lee on January 26, 2011 14:31

Editor Comment:

Operators without insurance and some with insurance made damages demands. They all had that option. Only by making the co-op system compulsory and any dealings direct with riders punishable by confiscation of jet-skis will a system work. The Navy (or some policing force) needs to be on hand to prevent rip-offs and enforce confiscations. With a self-adminstered co-op fund, the operators can only scam each other.

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I just witnessed the scam at kata beach. Down at the north end a new group of jet ski renters have set up shop. The group getting scammed appeared to be Northern Africans. The jet ski claimed damage, while the renters said they just went out and back and nothing else. The next thing I heard is that they came up on the beach too fast and caused the damage. These renters tried to ignore the rants of the jet ski boys, but within 5 minutes Phuket's finest showed up in their shiny uniforms. The renters then tried to walk away but the police followed as well as the pink shirted jet ski scam artist. Last I saw they were all piled in a tuk tuk with the police and jet ski scammer following (presumably to the atm).

Posted by Kata Scam on January 26, 2011 14:48

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I am sorry editor..your suggestions are good...but A LEOPARD NEVER CHANGES ITS SPOTS...ITS to late.they don't listen and never will...the 7 years are up... just...BAN THEM..

Posted by STAN on January 26, 2011 16:26

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Why doesn't somebody in the powers that be(?) set these guys up? Technology is brilliant!! Once shamed, the others will get the message.

Posted by BigFella on January 26, 2011 16:26

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Thinking a little bit more about eds ideas:
Make it easier. Make it ALL-IN JETSKIING.

Renting jet ski should be only allowed FULLY INSURED with a maybe 1000 Baht extra payment, if something happens. No way around this! If the jetski crashes or breaks down it is up to the renter. The tourist can walk away after paying the extra 1000 Baht. They want to rent the jetski? They have the experience with customers and ride, they have to give full insurance. No more riding to underage and drunken. If someone crash the vehicle on purpose, then it is a crime and and should be prosecuted. Make clear rules, like never come close to another jetski / boat more then 5m (or whatever). Maybe filming the ride would be a sufficient way to proof it (so the renter will be not fouled by stupid tourists). Then they can get damage rewards.

How they do the insurance, if together, with a third party or keep the risk alone is up to them. How they change the price to incorporate the risk is up to them.

Why hassle the government with insurance things? Just make sure, renting is only allowed fully insured. ALL-IN. That should be possible. Maybe even without the Royal Navy, who have their hands full with the Rohingya...

Posted by Lena on January 26, 2011 17:06

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On our first trip to Thailand/Phuket we were warned not to rent a jetski as scammers were rife and the police appeared to take their side so we didn't hire one. I guess they are only limiting their own income. As for the Navy getting involved, armed forces should never become involved in civil matters in a free thinking country. It should have a well paid police force that would be less open to bribery and an administration that backs the individual to enforce the law.

Posted by Chris on January 26, 2011 19:58

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Need a strong solution coming outside from Phuket, like about the closing hour for the bar, or the closure of the Similand Islands. Ban them from the beaches.. After I wanna see how many people go to complain somewhere: the jet-ski business is a racket. Nothing can change in Phuket!! Need a strong order from Bangkok!!

Posted by Richard on January 26, 2011 21:29

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Editor, why would outright banning not work? It is the simplest and most satisfactory solution. As you have observed, the hirers break the law each time they use them and the operators aid and abet the offence by knowingly hiring them to unlicensed riders.

If the Governor takes an interest in the aftermath of a total ban (carrying heavy fines), as I'm sure he would, then ultimately the ban will work (and it's an approach blessed by simplicity).

And with no disrespect, your three point solution is fanciful. For a start, the Navy is not and should not be the civilian policing authority; and even if they were to take on the task, do you sincerely believe they are incorruptible (as against the wealth of corrupt and incompetent police officers)? Do you also sincerely believe that a self-insurance scheme would not also be rorted? Even if the scheme worked, how would it preclude the heavy tactics of operators - it didn't work in conjunction with the insurance scheme.

Sorry, but I just don't see it - your suggested solution is unwieldy and presupposes a new spirit of cooperation and honesty from the scammers.

Posted by Ping, Patong on January 26, 2011 23:39

Editor Comment:

A co-operative with the operators paying for damage with their own money, a re-registration process to reduce the number of jet-skis and scammers, plus the visible, constant presence of enforcement on the beach - whether Navy or not - would make all the difference. The seven-year phase-out may have stood a chance if it had been properly handled. We'll leave it to you to tell the operators, Ping, that it's time they went.

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I have to agree with many others who say the suggested plan would not work.

I see no reason why having a co-operative repair fund would stop Jet-Ski operators from demanding payment from customers.

If a Jet-Ski operator has to choose between forcing the customer to pay, or making all his fellow operators pay collectively, what do you honestly think they will choose ?

The problem with this solution, as with all others before or yet to come is that there's nobody to enforce whatever has been agreed to.

The Jet-Ski operators have learned that they can get away with anything, including threatening customers at gunpoint on video that has been shown around the world. JJ Naiman has been said to tell people to look him up online, obviously proud of his notority.

They have been emboldened to a point at which nothing and nobody will have any effect on their behavior.

It's pointless to try to come up with any kind of solutions until a person with crushing authority steps forward and lays down the law.

It's painfully obvious there is no such person on Phuket. I hope there is one in Thailand and that person could be bothered to get involved with something as trivial as this at first glance appears to be.

I agree on one point though - it's only a question of time before someone gets killed because they refuse to pay up.

Posted by Chris on January 27, 2011 09:13

Editor Comment:

You haven't understood what I wrote. Because the co-op fund is compulsory, any operator caught asking for money from a customer would have his jet-ski confiscated. That's what would end the extortion. Enforcement certainly needs to be in the hands of the right people . . . the Navy.

As you know, just because many people agree on something doesn't prove anything. Change throughout time inevitably comes at first against the majority opinion. Telling me you have the numbers doesn't persuade me you are right.

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Ed, I do understand what you say and agree that numbers have nothing to do with what or who is right. It was not meant to come off like that.

Simply put - just because I don't agree with you does not mean I don't understand what you say.

What I think you fail to appreciate is that simply using the magic word "mandatory" guarantees nothing.

The insurance plan was "mandatory" too, as is registering the Jet-Skis, but look at what happened.

At least with that plan the Jet-Ski operators didn't have to pay for the damage themselves.

You suggest they'd be less inclined to force customers to pay when the option is to pay for it themselves. I think it's utterly unrealistic.

If you read back your own interview with Phuripat Theerakulpisut, Chief of Phuket's Marine Office 5 on the subject of Jet-Ski law enforcement, I think your hope of having the Navy to enforce such rules is even more unrealistic than your first suggestion.

" ..try to talk with the leaders of the jet-ski group in gentle language, do not make any problems...I want to keep their occupation for them and their families."

I value your opinion and I agree that whining without offering a better solution is ridiculous but I just don't see how your ideas, as commendable as they are, could possibly work.

Believe me, I'd love to see reality prove me wrong on this.

Posted by Chris on January 27, 2011 11:27

Editor Comment:

Nah, the ''compulsory'' insurance had no enforcers. Only a combination of compulsion and enforcement will work: a co-op equals self-inflicted pain. An insurance scheme equals a second opportunity for deceit. Having interviewed the man in charge of registration of jet-skis, I am now suggesting it's time to call in the Navy. You seem to be confusing my opinion with his opinion. Perhaps you need a lesson in reporting: professional journalists report others' opinions accurately, even though they don't necessarily agree with them. Maybe you'd prefer propaganda?

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Ed, we certainly agree on the necessity of enforcement.

I'm sure there's a whole world of things I do not know about reporting but I do understand the difference between your personal opinion and what you report based on interviewing someone.

You don't have to assume all the time that nobody else understands anything except you.

I tried to say that neither my nor your opinion matters because we are not in a position to enforce anything.

I wanted to draw into attention that when the man with the authority and duty to enforce has such lax views of the problem, it is not realistic to expect the badly needed enforcement to come from his direction.

What I don't know is how exactly is he connected to the Navy, if at all. Perhaps you can educate me on that, in addition to reporting :o)

Posted by Chris on January 27, 2011 11:54

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Ed: "The Thai Royal Navy has an impeccable reputation for honesty"

Yes Ed, they sure sorted out the Rohingya, eh? - http://phuketwan.com/tourism/photo-special-phuket-navy-holds-burmese-muslims/

Posted by Mike Boyd on January 27, 2011 12:16

Editor Comment:

Sorry, but you don't know enough to offer an opinion, Mike. The Navy apprehended Rohingya, as was their duty. Other branches of the military were behinds the sordid and inhumane ''pushbacks.'' When we asked the Navy to accompany them on a voyage to look for Rohingya in 2008, they provided us instead with a series of remarkable photographs that piqued our interest. Around that time, a Phuket Navy officer called for UN intervention in the process . . . remember, this is before we discovered what was happening. I trust the Navy in most cases, along with a few other individuals in uniform. As you know, my view is that people who condemn organisations in a generalised manner often do so unthinkingly, without real experience. There are good and bad in all organisations. Better to sort that out and deal with the good.

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@editor

Jeez, are you the same editor that was posting comments last week? Then, when I pointed out that jailing someone over a sunglasses theft, and denying them bail, is harsh, (particularly when unlicensed drivers causing multiple deaths are treated much more leniently) you(?) wrote:

"While pilfering is almost encouraged
in the West, any kind of theft is treated seriously in Thailand."

Now you write that stealing sunglasses is "petty theft".

You must be a different editor!

Well, at least I am glad that you (whoever you are today) have seen the light.

Theft of sunglasses IS petty theft compared with repeated ripoff scams involving thousands of dollars. Particularly when violence is involved or threatened. Sadly I don't see any solution to the problem short of complete banning of jet skis. But then the perps will quickly find another avenue to carry out their swindles, wonder which one they'll choose?


BTW: I think Mister Ree was actually being what is known as 'sarcastic', look it up in a dictionary.

Posted by Naiharn on January 27, 2011 13:12

Editor Comment:

Sarcasm doesn't work in print.

No conflict between my two statements. Stealing sunglasses is petty theft, and it's treated seriously in Thailand.

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It seems you didn't want to publish my comment on the other story about making websites doing the same thing, push hard core exposure in a highly SEO'd way to try and end this. But I bet the Australian papers would
LOL.

Posted by JingJing on January 27, 2011 14:37

Editor Comment:

We're not into manipulating news, or numbers.

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Involve the Navy? They are far more honorable and have much more important issues to handle than stifling the illegal actions of those who simply pay off police officers.

No, the best solution is for all people, through the media, in all languages, that they run a high risk of being scammed and possibly attacked and even killed. JJ showed this already with his weapons charge, he set a new precedent that emboldened many hard core followers.

Exposing it on a massive scale will prevent needless bloodshed. Oh darn they lose 300 Jobs, how can that be fixed? Are you kidding me? They'll just resort to worse crimes? Kidding again?

It seems you have made up your mind.

But I know you are clever enough to understand the true direction this is all going. One can't cater to the corrupt by trying to come up with solutions. They only know one thing, and pass it on.

Someone's going to get stabbed. You'll see.

Phuket doesn't need tourism.

Posted by JingJing on January 27, 2011 14:54

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Sometimes he doth protest too mutt - come on Mr Ed you know I have no sympathy for the jetski louts. I just don't have time for other louts either and I'm sure you will agree this is a growing trend. As for 'petty crime' wasn't it serious enough to stop Bar mat=gate lady being refused a visa to the US?

Posted by Mister Ree on January 29, 2011 14:29

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The scams are illegal as acknowledged by everyone, Governor included, and the Police are helpless to stop the illegal scams!
This is heading towards full anarchy if people are treating the law officers with contempt.
There is a deeper inherent problem if a police officer present at the scene can not stop an illegal act of extortion.
This is a real threat to our way of life.

Posted by Junior on February 1, 2011 10:10

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Too many scandals involving locals, jet ski, prostitution, taxi drivers ... a total rip off. Thailand is not the paradise it used to be

Posted by angry tourist on February 9, 2011 10:39

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Why not do a story on this.
I just returned to Australia from a week in Phuket. The most annoying thing was the constant annoying scammers who are mostly british and ride up on motor cycles and ask "do you speak english". They then procede to try and con tourists into time share or hotel memberships. I was approached up to six times a day and it has put me off returning to Phuket.

Posted by John on February 14, 2011 03:05

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We visited Phuket a couple of years ago and was warned about the jet ski scam.. we stay well away, however there was a australia couple who got hit with the scam. It has been running for years now, isn't it about time they do something, cause it is also hurting the honest operators

Posted by katrina on February 15, 2011 05:36

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Ed said: "Sorry, but you don't know enough to offer an opinion, Mike. The Navy apprehended Rohingya, as was their duty."

But was it their duty to make them lie face down on the sand in rows, hands clasped behind their heads, roasting in the sun?

Perhaps they were letting them have a sleep, eh?

phuketwan.com/tourism/photo-special-phuket-navy-holds-burmese-muslims/

Posted by Mike Boyd on February 22, 2011 13:01

Editor Comment:

Not very peasant, true. But if there are just a few of you and a large group of men whose motives are uncertain, you do what the book tells you to do to make sure you are not overwhelmed. It's worth noting (a) that the Navy send Phuketwan those photos and (b) In 2008, before we revealed the pushbacks, it was a Naval officer who first called for UN intervention in the boatpeople process.


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