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Major General Chote Chawanwiwat  talks to Phuketwan today

Behave or Else, New Police Chief Warns

Monday, October 1, 2012
PHUKET: If rip-off merchants continue to damage Phuket's tourism reputation, they will be ''treated the same way we treat terrorism suspects,'' Phuket's new Police Commander said today.

Major General Chote Chawanwiwat told Phuketwan at his Phuket City HQ that keeping Phuket safe for tourists and enforcing zero tolerance for drugs were his two priorities.

''I have been commander in Yala and Narathiwat, two of the three Deep South provinces,'' he said.

''We will employ the same approach here if necessary. But first, I need to talk to the jet-ski operators and the tuk-tuk drivers to let them know my intention.''

The major-general also had some words for police.

''All police on Phuket will assemble at 8am if they are on duty to raise the Thai flag and salute it,'' he said. ''I am surprised this is not done on Phuket.''

He said he had spent two nights already on Phuket and noted the behavior of Phuket's patrol police.

''In Narathiwat, patrol police are diligent and keep busy all the time,'' he said. ''There is no moment for a policeman to relax.

''That standard will be applied on Phuket, too.''

Major General Chote said he noted development of the Patong Safety Zone and would encourage the rapid spread of the concept all over Phuket.

''Safety zones exist in the South and I am keen to continue to encourage community involvement on Phuket,'' he said.

''We also need to improve service across the board, beginning with the 191 call system. We need to project the notion that Phuket police are of the highest quality.''

He recognised the need for a complete network of security cameras across Phuket. The major general said that his English was not great but he hoped to be able to help in areas where tourists need help.

''When it comes to closing times for venues,'' he said, I will look at what's best for Phuket. What I do not want to see is venues closing as the monks are already on the streets seeking alms [usually pre-dawn, often as early as 4am.]''

He said he understood the need to have Phuket's only female police officer involved with claims of rape - as requested by Phuket honorary consuls - and would see whether more female police could be transferred to Phuket.

The number of police on Phuket is governed by the registered population of 320,000. The actual population - including tourists and the Burmese workforce - can swell to one million.

Phuket authorities and envoys have been campaigning to increase the number of police on Phuket.

Comments

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Mr Chote.
I am sure its not only me who wish you all the best in your new position and dream that you will sort Phuket's problems which is a lack of law enforcement.

However, words like 'behave or else' by people in authority have been used many-many times without follow up actions by law enforcement officers.

I dream and wish that you will prove to the people of Phuket (locals, tourists and expats) that you are the person who deliver what has been promised!

Posted by Mr. K on October 1, 2012 10:13

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This is going to be interesting to follow. All the best.

Posted by Niclas on October 1, 2012 11:56

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Sounds good to me, in addition can there be more signs for tourists etc for the telephone number for Tourist Police, Emergency Police etc and the provision 24 hours every day that an English speaking person will answer both divisions. Some years ago I had to call the Police and the person did not speak English and hung up on me. There are so many tourists and expats in Phuket I think this is justified. Unlike some people on Phuket my view of the Police is very good, they have mainly in my limited dealings with them been very fair.

Posted by HappyFarang on October 1, 2012 11:58

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As Norwegian expat I welcome you, Mr.Chote, to Phuket.
I hope you will succeed with your "new programme" for the Island, so peoples can feel safe for the rip offs who has been going on for long time here and has expanded the 5 years I have lived here on the beautiful Island of Phuket.
I hope that the Royal Thai Police officers can be more active, stopping the babysellers in Bangla (small girls selling flowers) in the daytime on the beach,selling sunglasses, stopping the animal scam, small monkeys for foto with tourists. I told a Policeman about a man with a monkey, but he was not interested at all, why?????
I wish you good luck, Mr Chote.

Posted by Rune Hyll Krantz on October 1, 2012 12:05

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A big welcome to the new Sheriff in Town and lets hope he is not driven out by the 'influential' ones when he steps on a few toes that need stepping on. Reading through the lines he seems unimpressed with the current attitude and aims to sort it out. Best of luck.

Posted by Mister Ree on October 1, 2012 13:07

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Hi, I think it would be very good to place the telephone number of the Police, Tourist Police, Fire and Ambulance on the Immigration card that all foreigners read when they arrive. If this is on the departure section of the form if people do not remember the numbers they will know where their Passport is with the card.

Posted by Happy Farang Sometimes on October 1, 2012 14:48

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Like many, I was quite dismayed when the previous police chief was removed after a relatively short term in Phuket, for apparently being too successful. It now seems he is being replaced by a real tough experienced senior policeman in Major General Chote. I wish him every success in trying to return Phuket to what it was, safe & friendly.

Posted by Logic on October 1, 2012 23:37

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Goodonya Major General Chote. Could we be seeing the advent of true "Untouchables" in Thailand?
Good to see the absence of the usual platitudes...

Posted by david on October 2, 2012 05:32

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Good luck, Phuket!
Looks like there are three options:
1. another short term
2. new rules
3. money talks

Posted by Anonymous on October 2, 2012 10:41

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Yea.. nock'em out...

Posted by Frog on October 2, 2012 13:21

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Seems that there is a new sheriff in town. I truly hope that he means business, and I wish him all the best.

Posted by fw on October 5, 2012 08:53


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