The national government, at the instigation of the Minister of Tourism and Sport and the prompting of ambassadors from Europe and China, has authorised action by the Department of Special Investigation.
Tourism Minister Somsak Pureesrisak is expected to join DSI officers on Phuket from July 25 for the first activities of what's believed to be a campaign, not a mere ''crackdown.''
Leaders of Phuket police, Tourist Police, Marine Police. Immigration officers and all other law enforcement authorities were scheduled to join Governor Maitree in talks at his office in Phuket Provincial Hall, Phuket City.
Illegal businesses connected with tourism and operated by ''foreigners'' through nominees are expected to be a target in the initial stages of the campaign, together with Phuket's much-maligned tuk-tuks and taxis.
It's not clear at this stage precisely what's planned to address the longstanding issue of excessive fares and thuggish behavior by both legal and illegal tuk-tuk and taxi drivers.
Phuket's Police Commander, Somsak Pureesrisak, has already said the national government should provide more police to prove it is serious about making Phuket a safe and secure destination for tourists, as well as residents.
Undermanned Phuket police have been hesitant in the past to stand up to taxi and tuk-tuk drivers when they have blockaded public roads on occasions.
A sudden belated surge in enforcement activity is anticipated in advance of the DSI's arrival next Thursday.
Phuket's Tourist Police Deputy Chief, Lieutenant Colonel Bandit Kowoutham, told Phuketwan yesterday that the Tourist Police were even more undermanned than the regular police.
''I would like to see our numbers boosted by 200 percent,'' he said. The Tourist Police have about 30 fulltime officers, who also cover Phang Nga province, north of Phuket.
''Problems with jet-skis and motorcycle hirers have been permitted to develop and we've never had the means to control them,'' he said.
However, he noted that Phuket's problems were mostly not life-threatening compared to those in New York and other big cities.
He said senior Tourist Police in Bangkok had called for a review of all the major cases involving Phuket tourists, especially those where the crimes had yet to be solved.
Tourist Police were criticised earlier this year for declining to write a report by a young Chinese woman who claimed she'd been kidnapped by a Phuket taxi driver from the airport.
Eventually - with the persistence of the tourist and a couple of local Phuket women who came to her aid - the case was pursued by Phuket City police.