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The gun appears in the Phuket jet-ski standoff with British marines

British TV Captures Gun in Phuket Jet-Ski Standoff

Monday, September 7, 2009
Stills From the Action: Photo Album Above

PHUKET'S jet-ski rumbles make British television tonight when the first of a new series on Thailand's tourist police shows a standoff between the island's beach boys and Royal Marines.

The camera picks up one of the jet-ski operators, a man named JJ, armed with a gun and engaged in an argument over the price of repairs to one of his vehicles.

The argument gets quite heated and at one stage it appears that blood will be shed.

With the intervention of an MP sergeant, the row grows more intense but is eventually resolved, as seems inevitable in these situations, with the jet-ski boys being paid off.

''Whether there is any real damage to the jet-ski or not is always going to be the question,'' series producer Gavin Hill told Phuketwan today.

The eight-part fly-on-the-wall television series entitled 'Big Trouble in Tourist Thailand' takes a look at the work of volunteer police and the first episode provides plenty of action.

Filming coincided with shore leave being taken on Phuket by the crew of HMS Bulwark. British sailors and marines are advised not to hire jet-skis but one marine named Jack Tebbot does.

Producer Hill had already met and talked to JJ in the midst of an earlier altercation with tourists.

''Next thing we had a call from JJ to say some marines damaged one of his jet-skis and did a runner. We went to JJ's boatyard out the back of Patong where this chap named Jack has been 'captured.'

''I started filming and there is a negotiation going on over the cost of some damage.

''A man from the beach says he saw Jack's jet-ski collide with another, but Jack says there was no contact.''

One version of the event, posted by Bangkok-based journalist Andrew Drummond on his blog, reports: ''Surrounded by the stripped to the waist thugs and held at the point of a rifle, Tebbot had managed to get an sms message to his mates who arrived at the yard.

''Bloodshed was only avoided when Marine Police Sergeant and Detective Commander Tim Wright arrived on the scene and told Tebbot: 'Ok lad, we told you not to hire jet skis.

''We know it's a con but I'm afraid you're now going to have to pay some money to get out of this.'

''Then after examining the jet-ski, the no nonsense sergeant, who had already had to deal with other cases, turned on JJ and said: ''You're a crook! You're corrupt. The damage is old. The fibre glass has already turned brown. How come all your jet-skis have a problem?''

''Then he turned to Marine Tebbot and said: 'Ok boy. You go now!'

''JJ then ordered his thugs to block Tebbot's exit but JJ, perhaps sensing he had a fight on his hands, continued negotiating.

''The price eventually dropped by almost half to 35,000 baht, but not before some more heated exchanges.''

The sergeant said later: ''Had it come to the crunch we could have easily fought them and got all our lads out of there. But there would have been some claret spilt on both sides.''

The television series provides the latest unwanted bad publicity for Phuket and its jet-ski scamsters, although producer Hill insists there is no absolute proof either way

JJ told him how expensive jet-skis were to run, how difficult it was to get parts, and how his workers risk cancer in dealing with fibreglass materials.

Hill says that rather than being turned off Thailand, the audience demographic of 19-34-year-olds on Britain's Bravo channel are more likely to find the episodes, relating a series of lively conflicts, an invitation to travel.

The first in the series is being shown on British television on Monday night, so expect to see the knock-off version for sale in Patong about noon on Wednesday.

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Comments have been disabled for this article.


....... and the authorities are still sleeping or don't care! they don't dare to address this DAILY issues with Jet-Skies and Tuck-Tucks.... trust me... in a few days we will hear about a famous Thai crack-down (same a at suvarnabhumi airport) and than - 3 days after the crackdown, all will be back to business as usual for the crocks...

Posted by KRR on September 7, 2009 16:32


The thai version is:-
" Same Same but different."
The British version is
" Same bullsh!( different day " !
Ban these damned machines now or loose everything that's good here.

Posted by Mouse on September 7, 2009 17:11


It does not matter if you ban Jet-Ski operators from Phuket as those Thai Local Bad Boys will have to find another way to make money anyway; so they will be all time doing scam by doing some else to pay their daily expenses such as cigarettes, alcohol, girls, yaba and so on....

Phuket Authority have to find a solution to control their bad behaviors and reeducate them as well other people such as tuk-tuk drivers and a lot of non-educated local people who are completely lost with the too much tourist developments and easy money to rob from tourists with the complacency of some local civil servants and police.

Until local administrations and police will have no good ethics and responsibility to run their districts at international standards, it will be hopeless for ever.

Posted by Whistle-Blower on September 7, 2009 18:35


Hey mouse is right, ban these tourist image killers, or live with the trouble they cause.
Same goes for tuk tuks.

Be gone bad fellows or be cursed things here forever.Then I will not listen to the cries of the damned.

Posted by Graham on September 7, 2009 19:25


I wouldn't worry too much about that "gun"- it's actually a pump-action BB gun - it might take out an eye, but it sure isn't going to kill anybody.

Posted by Anonymous on September 8, 2009 02:22


I hope that the episodes will indeed be an invitation to travel here, but not for the bricks-from-the-terraces yobs of whom we don't need any more off. There are obviously enough of the local variety at Patong Beach and the local precincts.

Posted by James on September 8, 2009 10:29


Dear Whistle-Blower! I fully agree with you!

Dear Anonymous! You completely missed the point! Its not about the this type of gun! Its about the situation and system and future of phuket's tourism industry.

Posted by KRR on September 8, 2009 11:17


On a positive note, many of the marines said that despite the incident Phuket was still the best place that they had taken shore leave in.

Posted by James on September 8, 2009 11:23


Dear KRR- I haven't missed the point, and I understand the ramifications completely- but when a story has "gun" listed in its headline and runs a picture of something that at a casual glance looks quite deadly, it should be clarified that it's not a dangerous weapon but rather a potentially hazardous toy (my point being that this sort of exaggeration actually makes things worse in the eyes of tourists).

Posted by Anonymous on September 8, 2009 16:02


What you seem to be saying, Anonymous, is that it's ok if we all carry guns provided we only wave them and intimidate each other. Nothing dangerous there, eh? Let the thugs run riot, eh? Patong is already a shooting gallery. Perhaps they just need to promote it properly.

Posted by Angelfire on September 8, 2009 17:12


Last comment- I'm saying REPORT THE STORY ACCURATELY- sensationalizing the "facts" doesn't do anyone any good- don't imply (or, in fact, state) that a "gun" was brandished without clarifying that it was actually not much more than a toy and incapable of deadly injury.

How can you possibly read what I wrote and come up with my saying it was acceptable behavior? Frankly, it's baffling. What I said was the story was made to seem worse than it actually was due to misrepresentation of the facts.

Allow me to make myself perfectly clear- let's NOT "let the thugs run riot"- let's also make sure that we don't let tourists think that jet-ski operators are pulling shotguns and assault rifles on their customers (by posting a pic of a gun that looks like it came out of a Terminator movie without stating what it actually is) unless it is actually the case- otherwise it's fear-mongering, which is about the worst thing for the tourist industry.

Editor: We did not sensationalise the story. We reported it accurately. We called it a gun. You called it a toy. We still think it's a gun.

Posted by Anonymous on September 8, 2009 18:08


"Surrounded by the stripped to the waist thugs and held at the point of a rifle..."- I'm sorry, editor, but any marine would have looked at that "rifle" and known at a glance what it actually was (and, if he'd been so inclined, would have grabbed it and fed it to the "thug").

I'm in the tourist industry, and this type of story doesn't do my business any good- I don't think an attempt at clarification is unwarranted as the situation was made to seem worse than it actually was.

Editor:Isn't it time the tourism industry dealt with the problem, and stopped mincing words? You are quoting a blogger whose viewpoint is as relevant as yours.

Posted by Anonymous on September 8, 2009 18:47


Gun or toy, the fact is that bad Beach Boys were looking to intimidate violently in order to get money as a robber with a toy or a gun plays the same game during a bank robbery. Pointing a gun or toy to get money by force is reprehensible by the law.
That is it and no bargain on that point.

Posted by Whistle-Blower on September 8, 2009 19:06


Didn't anyone in the UK watch the program?

Posted by Somchai Smit on September 8, 2009 19:57


I would say as well that isn't it time that local papers/websites stopped trying to increase their readership by sensationalizing their stories (again, we disagree here- so be it)- rather than reporting accurately? I would think the jet-ski operators are lucky the marines didn't decide to escalate the situation, not the other way around.

"Calling a spade a spade" is hardly mincing words, editor.

I actually quoted a journalist (the quote was from his blog) not a "blogger"- if it were some random person rather than one who should be relied upon for journalistic sensibility I would not have quoted him. No British marine on the face of this earth is going to allow himself to be held at the point of a BB gun (it just seems in this case that they decided that diplomacy was called for rather than action).

Whistle-Blower- I absolutely agree with you- I am not trying to justify anyone's actions- the jet-ski operator was 100% wrong and deserves to suffer some penalty for his actions- however, when you first saw the picture of the gun posted above, what did you think it really was?

Yes, there is a problem here in Thailand, and it needs to be dealt with- any fool can see that- however, we really don't need to make the problem look worse than it already is.

Editor: The problem grows worse because the self-interested do-nothings who complain about ''bad publicity'' prefer to shoot messengers rather than doing their bit to clean up the island. Our report has not been sensationalised in any way. Viewers who have seen the show are outraged that this kind of menace and intimidation is allowed to happen here . . . partly because the do-nothings prefer to cover it up and pretend it's not what it is: wanton, menacing intimidation with a weapon. How's that for a spade?

Posted by Anonymous on September 8, 2009 20:16


It's one thing to run a beach scam and rip off tourists. That's bad enough. To produce a weapon for the sole purpose of intimidating visitors to Phuket takes the jet-ski scam problem to a new and worrying level. This is now about who runs the island. Anyone who can't see that has lost the plot. What do you need, bodies of tourists and blood? Get angry, do something, or accept a culture where violence and brute force are tolerated.

Posted by Angelfire on September 8, 2009 22:32


Can a video not be sent to the governor on Phuket or the mayor of Patong?

Posted by Anonymous on September 9, 2009 04:31


Gun or a not, just the thought of being taken to a shed by a dog-pack gang of thugs and shaken down for a large sum of cash is enough to ruin a holiday. This scam has been going on for years and is no doubt lucrative for powerful people, so it will continue.

The thugs are probably the least compensated in all of this. Film like this might help in the struggle to put a stop to the outrages, so a well done to Gavin Hill. And let's not forget a "good on yer" for the Marines as they had just come from Afghanistan.

Posted by James on September 9, 2009 04:39


The governor and the mayor are incapable of doing anything. They can only try to build roads and plant flowers for a pretty Phuket. Let's face facts the maf0@ runs the island and everybody is on the take. Get used to it, Samui had to. Have a nice day anyway.

Posted by Mouse on September 9, 2009 07:00


I wouldn't worry too much about that "gun"- it's actually a pump-action BB gun - it might take out an eye, but it sure isn't going to kill anybody.

Like to see if it takes out your eye, if you don't worry to much then? hahaha

i go with the editor, he is 100% right!!

Posted by jonathan on September 9, 2009 08:29


How do you know it's a BB gun ? Could be a 22 cal rifle ... Be good if those marines would do something .. thei police do nothing ...

Posted by Joe on September 9, 2009 11:04


The gun was not a toy - and JJ according to the film-makers had two other guns in his shed. He would not let them film there. Amazing how a comment from one person makes the BB gun theory a fact.

Posted by andrew on September 9, 2009 20:42


I watched this documentary last night. These jet ski scams are ridiculous. I love the way he came up with the figure to fix it the same way street vendors come up with a price for fake glasses. 44,000 baht. Yeah show me an itinerary. Its just plucked from mid air knowing the foreigner will agree to a price slightly lower.

Posted by patong_resident on September 10, 2009 07:09


it's clearly an air rifle. It might scare birds and make for interesting headlines.

Editor: Harmless, eh? Perhaps everyone in Patong should carry one, just for fun. Or be given a choice: a gun, or a machette. Nothing threatening, intimidating or menacing (or newsworthy) once everybody has a weapon.

Posted by billy_the_kid on September 10, 2009 07:11


So editor, please correct the report headline of, "Gun" as it was not and to continue to report it as such after is called sensationalistic journalism 101,
( and a smear on Phuket. )

Editor: Horses. It's a gun. I'm happy to let readers decide whether our reports are sensationalist, or whether nit-pickers lose the plot in pettiness. We don't have time to waste. A ''smear on Phuket?'' You have to be kidding.

Posted by Correctinator on September 11, 2009 08:18


Correctinator, you are a moron. What Phuketwan has done with this story is 100% commendable. The actions by local govt are a direct result of this story being published.The only people upset are those with vested interests or bar stool experts with too much time on their hands.

Posted by helen on September 11, 2009 10:28


Dear Helen. Fully agree with you!! I support Phuket Wan as it seems to me that Phuket Wan is reporting without any bias and does address issues which other media on the island and in Thailand does not like to address since some are also political connected! Well done Phuket Wan!! Well done!

Posted by KRR on September 11, 2009 17:45


Would like to say thanks to 'Our Boys' for remaining calm.

Now that is what I call face! (a few of the locals could learn a thing or two!)

Posted by Sean on September 11, 2009 21:56


The headline reads, "gun," not "BB gun." So was it a gun or air rifle because it's a difference within the law. Hit someone with a BB or a bullet, find out the difference.

Editor: gun - noun
1. a weapon consisting of a metal tube, with mechanical attachments, from which projectiles are shot by the force of an explosive; a piece of ordnance.
2. any portable firearm, as a rifle, shotgun, or revolver.
3. a long-barreled cannon having a relatively flat trajectory.
4. any device for shooting something under pressure: a paint gun; a staple gun.
5. Slang. a person whose profession is killing; professional killer: a gangland gun.

It's a gun.

Posted by Ex Pat DA on September 12, 2009 08:30


What ever the hell it is, it looks like a gun and that is what 99.0 % of people see. The rest see too much beer and or ar$# in their glass.
Fact it hit Phuket's image very hard overseas ok.
Let this matter now take it right legal course.Be careful, the eyes of the world are looking at you.

Posted by Graham on September 12, 2009 13:38


Oh boy what a lot of time-wasters. Whether or not it was a gun or not, it certainly purported to be and you can see on the film itself the Marines reacting and telling the guy to cool it.

Posted by andrew on September 12, 2009 14:18


And of course if you had taken that out in front of police in the wrong part of New York city - I guess you would be....dead.

Posted by andrew on September 12, 2009 14:19


"JJ according to the film-makers had two other guns in his shed"- right, Andrew- given the choice, JJ left his other "guns" and pulled out an air-powered toy that every 12-year-old owned when I was growing up (I remember one kid putting a BB into his toe- it hurt- his mom put a band-aid on it and he got on with his day). And yes, pulling a BB gun in NYC would very likely leave you dead- what, however, would be the consequences for the people on whom you pulled it? I would imagine they would survive the encounter.

Editor- I'm not a "do-nothing"- I tell my guests not to rent jet-skis as there are often problems with the operators- what else can I do? Your implication in this article that a potentially lethal gun was brandished is just incorrect (and, by your definition, you would have been justified in calling a staple gun or paintball gun a "gun" without further clarification).

As I've said before in this thread, what JJ did was completely without justification- he did brandish a weapon and deserves to be prosecuted for it, and the story is worth of being reported- a call for accuracy, however, is not out-of-bounds.

I wholly admit I am "self-interested" here- my business is affected by stories such as this one- I would prefer not to see an already bad situation made worse by manipulation of the facts (again, please look at the picture above- anyone without experience with firearms is going to think that's a sawed-off shotgun- it's not, and I feel that should be pointed out).

Editor: We are not manipulating the facts. And our report is accurate. It's a gun, a weapon, and it is being used in an intimidating manner. It doesn't even matter whether it is loaded. (Although that could be your next quibble). The fact that it is in JJ's hand is sufficient. It can be fired as a gun, or wielded as a bludgeon. It's a gun, a weapon.

As there are ''often problems with jet-ski operators,'' how many complaints have you made to this governor, previous governors or local officials? Or have you knowingly let the rip-offs continue, ie, done nothing?

Posted by Anonymous on September 12, 2009 20:02


Now, editor, you are being a bit foolish (and your journalistic ethics are somewhat questionable if you consider presenting all the facts of a story "quibbling"- it seems you would rather let your readers speculate on what may or may not be the truth than print the story completely accurately- if it had been a toy gun from Tesco would you have run the story any differently? Yes, it could be wielded as a bludgeon- so could your fist. "Bomb Goes Off in Local Bar!" would make a lovely headline- just don't mention it was a "bug bomb" used to combat their cockroach problem- I realize I'm greatly stretching things here to the point of being ridiculous, but there are not "degrees" of accuracy in a story like this- if you have the information, it's your responsibility to print it rather than leave it to individual interpretation, which is not the purpose of a hard news article- yes, editor, it was a "gun", but the type of gun it is ISN'T irrelevant)- making too many complaints to officials (which will fall on deaf ears) is a great way to lose my ability to live here in Thailand and possibly endanger myself or my family- I give tourists good advice, though I am not their baby-sitter- what they eventually choose to do after being warned is their own affair. If I tell you, "Don't stick your hand in the fire or you'll get burned" and you do it anyway, whose fault is it? I tell tourists they shouldn't rent jet-skis as it can lead to problems (I also hate jet-skis for safety reasons and would like to see them banned entirely from the beach)- the governor or any local officials aren't going to do that regardless of any complaints they receive from me, so I'm actually providing a valuable service for those sensible enough to heed my advice.

I just watched the video of the "confrontation" again- does anyone else find it interesting that at least two cameras are being used (possibly three), and they they appear to be on tripods? It was a lovely set-up for filming. While these type of incidents definitely do happen (I have witnessed a few) this video really smacks of being staged (though perish the thought that a British tabloid news show would do such a thing...)

Editor: I am not being foolish. But anyone who wastes time on your comment could be in that category. A gun of any kind can kill or maim. The rest is quibbling.

Posted by Anonymous on September 13, 2009 01:43


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 19:08


It takes two hands to clap. Funny why some people think it is acceptable that tourist can come with an attitude, and basically corrupt the local culture with their cavorting ways, just because they have the money. I see it as the locals getting even with these guys, and nothing more.

I have been to other places in Thailand with minimal tourist impact and things are completely different. Helpful citizens (I got like two free rides!) and a very pleasant stay. Mass tourism corrupts and people should know that.

Posted by Mr. Nice on September 16, 2009 15:41


Just had to mention the new Thai advertising logo I see on the BBC website and BBC world news.

"Amazing Thailand - Amazing value" for who ?

I must agree with previous comments, after nearly 10 years in Phuket. Over the last couple of years with all the scams and rising prices in Phuket. The Philippines is really looking attractive , they have great beaches and diving.

Posted by anon nanai on September 16, 2009 23:38


At Anon.. The 'gun' you claim is a BB gun is actually a .22 live round rifle. Commonly used here as a 'squirrel gun' and after the fact JJ and the police downplayed it by making it seem like a BB gun or airgun.

Its a .22 live round rifle 100%. I have seen it before.

Posted by Local resident on September 17, 2009 07:58


Local Resident- I'm sorry, but you're incorrect.

The forearm on the gun is a lever pump to charge the air tube, and the tube running underneath the barrel is too large to be an ammo tube for .22 bullets (and is obviously an air tube).

BBs are .177 caliber air-driven projectiles (and, as I previously stated, I wouldn't want to get shot in the eye with one)- there are also .22 pellet versions (still air-driven), but the cheap air-gun JJ brandished is not one of them.

There are much better pics of the rifle on a different article on this site which (if you know guns) will make it very clear to you.

The .22 rifle you are referring to is indeed very popular in Thailand- most are lever-operated and have the shell-discharge opening on the right side (which the gun pictured does not), along with a much smaller tube under the barrel to hold bullets rather than air.

I don't want to get all "CSI" over this, but it's a BB gun.;-)

Posted by Anonymous on September 18, 2009 00:13

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