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Thailand would benefit greatly from a scam-free, corruption-free Phuket

THE BIG CLEANUP Join Us Call to Residents

Friday, July 26, 2013
Brave Enough to Change Phuket

PHUKET: Anti-corruption is coming out of the closet on Phuket as residents are being urged to speak out to name corrupt individuals and fight to make Phuket a ''role model.''

A new online site with the motto ''Phuket Thailand Stop Corruption'' is urging people to come forward in preparation for the full intervention of the Department of Special Investigation from Bangkok.

Hotlines are bound to be busy once the DSI and the Ministry of Tourism and Sport have a headquarters and some telephone numbers.

In what appears to be a sincere reaction to complaints from tourists and their ambassadors, a large-scale investigation has been promised to obliterate Phuket's tourism-related scams and rip-offs.

Levels of fear among locals are diminishing so the phuket-anti-corruption.com site has gone public with Dr Surin Bumrungpon listing Phuket organisations and inviting readers to relate their corruption experiences.

Three years ago, a public meeting in Patong exposed for the first time that many businesses and individuals in Patong pay bribes to 14 organisations.

The meeting was called because two more organisations wanted to also be paid bribes, and Patong officials had decided 14 was enough.

Entrenched corruption has flourished as Phuket has grown richer with tourism. And the bottom line is that it's mostly the tourists who pay the bribes, one way or another.

But residents are also often victims, too. And the appearance of the anti-corruption site in the Thai language is a good indication that residents have had enough, along with the tourists and expats.

The site says that Phuket ''has the ability to become a hub for the Asean Economic Community and is an ideal place for representatives from around the region to meet.''

By 2020, Phuket should emerge ''as an international destination that is safe, secure, clean and capable of competing with rival destinations without corruption.

''People of Phuket are invited to join those who want to see Phuket become the 'Phuket model' for other provinces in Thailand.''

The site notes that corruption is firmly entrenched but ''we have to be strong.'' The traditional networking system in Thailand simply has to change.

''I would like to invite residents, students, teachers, professors, businesspeople and government staff to join this network,'' Dr Bumrungpon writes.

The organisation is independent and will be staffed by volunteers, he said: ''We hope this organisation will carry Phuket to be a paradise island in 2020.''

The time was right to act, he said.

In a questionnaire about corruption, the names of virtually every organisation or government department, university, hospital and school on Phuket are listed.

The list begins with the Phuket Land Titles Office, Phuket International Airport, the Roads Department, Marine 5 Office, Thalang District, Muang (Phuket City) District, Kathu District, National Resources and Environment, Phuket Customs, local administrations, the Labor office, Treasury Phuket and the Government Tax Office.

Dr Bumrungpon says there are seven steps to be taken by residents:

1. Join the anti-corruption movement

2. Research solutions to corruption

3.Spread knowledge about corruption and promote its downfall

4. Pass on the knowledge to the private sector so that they understand the benefits that will flow to the whole community rather than a few individuals

5. Teach the children so that corruption disappears in a generation

6. Push all government organisations to allow independent organsations to to check that their activities are open and honest

7. Join with academics in researching the issue and engaging help from international sources with experience

''It's time for everybody to give back to Phuket so that Phuket can become a role model for other provinces,'' the site says.

Phuketwan will report further details and telephone numbers for both the DSI/Tourism Ministry project and the Phuket Anti-Corruption project as soon as they become available.

The DSI headquarters on Phuket, staffed by police from Bangkok who speak English, is expected to be up and running early in August.

Comments

Comments have been disabled for this article.

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This kind of reminds me of Chicago in the 20's/30's...then Eliot Ness came around as corruption was at its peak and nearly everyone was on the take...then the big push to clean it up

Posted by sky on July 26, 2013 19:45

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"Three years ago, a public meeting in patong exposed for the first time that many businesses and individuals in Patong pay bribes to 14 organisations."

And now this will make 15.

"The meeting was called because two more organisations wanted to also be paid bribes, and Patong officials had decided 14 was enough."

That really says it all.

Posted by NomadJoe on July 26, 2013 20:50

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I fell asleep twice during reading the article. It's the best bedtime story ever! See you all in 2020...

Posted by Charles on July 26, 2013 23:17

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Sky - It didn't work did it.
N Joe - Now its back to 15 ;)

I don't believe anyone who pays the "whoever" will grass them up, because you will probably end up dead.

If people would speak up, there is no protection for that person or their family.

Posted by Tbs on July 26, 2013 23:40

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its good news,but i can"t find even one website, anti corruption in phuket,when its going to start, sure i can send some helpful information about corruption in phuket.

Posted by john on July 26, 2013 23:47

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Do you have a link to the website where the motto is "Phuket Thailand Stop Corruption"?

Posted by larry on July 27, 2013 05:30

Editor Comment:

http://phuket-anti-corruption.com/

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The time was right to act, he said.
The time was right and ripe 18 years ago
they missed the chance before got out of control,great opportunitys after the tasumai all illegal beach stuctures erridicate they missed there chance it worse than before, dont miss your chance this time while the iron is hot!

Posted by slickmelb on July 27, 2013 05:33

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the web site is currently in Thai only...would need to be in another half dozen+ languages if is expected that tourists will comment; the only people who could "safely" do so methinks....
Problem would be that few tourists would even know about the site..same same Phuketwan?
If these people are really serious the multilingual contact details could be printed on the back of the immigration form?

Posted by david on July 27, 2013 06:37

Editor Comment:

The new site is written for Thais, david. Phuketwan is written for an English-speaking audience. Don't expect divine intervention: change does not come with a lightning bolt and a voice from the clouds. It will take time. Your suggestion about details on the back of an Immigration form is a long-shot. Meanwhile, try Google Translate.

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Corruption equals power. Surin taxi drivers burning their rubbish at their illegal taxi stand last night, smoke all over the street. This morning at 7 a.m. same group playing loud rock music from one of their vans.

Posted by helen on July 27, 2013 08:22

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The Thai Government opened a hotline for "the Fight against corruption" the no is 1206 and was opened august 2012 .... I don't recall hearing about anybody being prosecuted for corruption because of that.

Posted by Sailor on July 27, 2013 09:55

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In order for a cleaning operation like this one to be successful, officials at some key positions have to be replaced, in the police, the tourist police, at the city hall, beaches mayors, the Marine Office Region 5, the land department, the labor department, the transport department and at the immigration, then it can restart, clean and fully under the law.

Posted by jean-paul patrick on July 27, 2013 10:19

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Sorry ed but I was under the impression that the new web site and Phuketwan was to benefit tourists...okay many do speak English but more and more are eastern European or from other parts of Asia.Surely if the administration wants to help and protect said tourists it would recognize that language barriers may be an issue? You know sometimes inexpensive long shots do pay off?

Posted by david on July 27, 2013 18:32

Editor Comment:

The new site is in Thai and it specifically targets residents of Phuket who have seldom spoken out in the past about corruption. It is privately run and has no connection to Phuket's administration.


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