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Protesters call for Army intervention in a Patong street rally today

Call in the Army, Patong Protesters Plead

Friday, May 30, 2014
PHUKET: Protesting copy shop vendors took to the streets today to call for Army coup command intervention in Patong to end the corruption that makes Phuket an economic basket case.

The protest came as Patong's new mayor, elected on an anti-corruption platform, found herself unable to begin her tenure and likely to face hostile council opposition for some time to come.

Government organisations continue to demand an increasing share of corrupt bribes even when tourism is not flourishing - and the whole tuk-tuk and taxi system is structured to earn maximum income with minimum work.

The copy vendors can see disaster ahead as they are squeezed by property owners applying higher rents and government agencies demanding larger bribes.

''We need the Army's help,'' one of the protesters said today. ''If fixing tourism is a priority for the coup command, then they need to clean up Phuket. The Army sorted out the rice farmers. Now we need them to sort out Patong.''

The bottom line for all corruption in Patong is that ultimately, it's the tourists who pay. If the number of tourists reduces then the capacity for graft decreases proportionately, creating the potential for social discord on a massive scale.

Copy shop vendors protested in Patong's beach road today, carrying signs saying ''[Expletive!] Eating too much!'' ''We are not drug sellers or criminals, why are you beating us!'' ''We can't make enough money to pay bribes.'' ''Working and nearly dead, but we have to pay bribes.''

It is well known that bribes are paid to more than 14 key government agencies by virtually all illegal businesses in Patong.

It is believed the vendors endorsed a change in mayors at the April by-election. The Army coup command has said it will make maintaining Thailand's tourism a priority.

Into the vibrant world of money and politics in Patong today stepped new mayor Chalermlak Kebsub, 50, who was unable to declare her anti-corruption policy in the local council chambers because of lack of a quorum.

Her two newly elected Blue Sky Patong supporters were there, along with two Love Patong supporters of former mayor, Pian Keesin.

But she needed the presence of nine council members, half of the total of 18, to declare a quorum and make her policy speech.

Forced to remain officially silent on corruption and other issues today, Mayor Chalermlak will return next month to try again. If that fails, she will need to seek the approval of Phuket Governor Maitree Intrusud to post her policy to all of the council members.

Unfortunately the poll at which Mayor Chalermlak swept to power last month was a byelection, forced by the Electoral Commission's decision to red-card two councillors from the previous full election and to yellow card former mayor Pian Keeson and two councillors.

Thus the new mayor won the support of Patong voters but has just two councillors on her side and faces a hostile chamber.

''These people are not children, they are adults,'' she said. ''They are being paid by the people of Patong. If they do not respond, they will be wasting the money of the people.

''I feel sorry that we've lost this opportunity to begin solving the problems of Patong and its people.''

With the rains about to strike, Mayor Chalermlak said she had hoped to win approval for a plan to unblock Patong's canals and prevent flooding in the west coast tourist hub.

Her other key plans are to attack the people who deliver bad water into Patong Bay. As a beginning, she plans to put a stop to food fairs and festivals being held along the Patong foreshore.

Corruption? Well, that's the big one. She may need an Army to help her beat it.

Comments

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Corruption, bribery & key money need to be consigned to history.

A new infrastructure established by the new mayor should be backed from highest authority in Bangkok.

Get Phuket back to what it once was, an attractive place where people could come to relax & businesses make enough to live comfortably.

Stop the uncontrolled building when so many new premises are lying idle & old properties now empty & derelict due to high demands for key money & exorbitant rents.

Give the ordinary people a chance. They elected the new mayor; now she needs support to be able to function.

Posted by Logic on May 30, 2014 21:18

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BELIEVE IT OR NOT!
Thieves complaining to law-enforcers that they need to eat for survival... UNBELIEVABLE but TRUE STORY

Posted by Whistle-Blower on May 30, 2014 21:21

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Bring on General Prayuth, corruption is killing Phuket tourism, from the beaches to the streets. Time to clean house all the way.

Posted by Anon on May 30, 2014 22:10

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"We are not criminals !"

Well, excuse me but you are breaking copyright laws and trade in illegal goods. Thailand is getting a lot of flak for not curbing down on sales people like you and now you cry foul ?

If the army does come and clean up Patong, you can be sure you will be among those eradicated.

I have zero sympathy for your "plight" You are criminals squeezed by other criminals. Boo Hoo hoo...

Posted by ThaiMike on May 30, 2014 23:10

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@WhistleBlower
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I am just curious, you are in Phuket for so many years, didn't it happen for you buy T-Shirt "SAMSUNG" "AIG" or alike, or whether your wife have some accessories with famous print from France, but which are provisioned through very local channels , not through Louis Vuiton shops in Mandarin / Emporium/Gaysorn/Paragon? And where do you buy casual sunglasses frames for you or your family members, not any single instance of getting such staff from vendors?

If answer is really NO, then I'd be a bit surprised, but will congratulate you.

Still, I meant to avoid a filth if you are surrounded by it, is difficult.

Posted by Sue on May 31, 2014 00:25

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well..I agree but bring in the army to clean it ALL up

Posted by sky on May 31, 2014 06:46

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Just in case of successfully removing the parasites from any business, don't forget to decrease the prices! ;-)

Posted by Nong on May 31, 2014 07:16

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As a foreigner, I do not have to talk about corruption, it does not concern me.
I can however ask me:
In Patong, why does one find one supermarket, Big C,
One fuel pump,
The most expensive McDonalds throughout Thailand, etc ...
How these monopolies are they tolerated and tolerable?
There is no competition that would revise the prices constantly increasing, decreasing.
These are findings that can challenge ...

Posted by philou on May 31, 2014 08:41

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@ Sue
Before posting a false comment, you should know the facts.
I wear only HHH T-shirts done by our association.
I never buy copies of T-shirt as they do not last long.
My children are doing their shopping at Central Festival as they need big sizes for clothes or shoes
They weight more than 100 kg and the younger boy is over 1,96 meter tall.
Even our underpants are from reputable brand names.
Is it enough for you?

Posted by Whistle-Blower on May 31, 2014 09:23

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Ahh, the proverbial what came first the chicken or the egg? The same is true of copyright infringement, which is based on supply and demand. Without the demand there is no supply. Unfortunately the demand will always be there, whether from tourists, expats or the local population. Therefore you have to stop the supply and with China being one of the biggest suppliers of copied goods it's going to be difficult, especially in any country with such rampant and institutionalised corruption.
Therefore you have to start at the very top and work your way down. Any person who holds senior management positions in government departments should be barred from having any involvement whatsoever in commercial enterprises and each branch of government should have an independent investigative branch, with a remit to investigate anyone. Those in high ranking positions should be investigated fully and those found to be living beyond their means (income compared to expenditure) investigated further and removed from post and prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Once the senior positions have been cleaned of corruption, so the process continues downwards. This takes time but is achievable if there is a will.
There should also be accountability for those in management positions, so if they don't clean up their subordinates, they take the responsibility. It's called neglect of duty or gross negligence, for which they should be sacked and again, where evidence exists of collusion or conspiracy they should go to jail, along with the subordinates.

Customs are at the front line of preventing the import of copy goods and they should be at the forefront of a cleanup, after all it is them that allow these goods into the country.

I have seen this achieved first hand in Brunei. When I first lived and worked there you could not find a single original music cd or DVD for sale. Copyright organisation RIM came in and within months all counterfeit music disappeared from the several hundred copy stores, replaced by originals. Next came the dvd's and within 12 months all copyrighted material was gone from the high streets (I am sure there were 'underground' sellers and those caught ended up in Prison). Okay, before you comment, yes Brunei is an Absolute Monarchy, completely different to Thailand, however under the General, now is the opportune time to correct this, along with the other multitude of problems and criminal behaviour that is so endemic.

As to the protestors, well I have no sympathy and if they go out of business, good. The fact that they can protest about making corrupt payments from their criminal enterprise is truly staggering.

And make no mistake, it's not 'tea money' or any other such euphemism, it's corruption. Even as a police officer, accepting a free cup of coffee can be viewed as a corrupt payment.

Finally, I am sorry but copyright infringement is not just confined to clothing. It includes everything from electronics to watches and certainly includes the music and DVD's, software and console games that are for sale everywhere.

So for anyone to claim that in all their time in Thailand they have not bought one single copyrighted item, well I say you are either delusional or just a plain liar. So if the shirt fits, wear it!

Posted by Lord Melchett on May 31, 2014 12:36

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@Whistleblower

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Then surely, you have a full moral ground to press copyrights thieves!! That's good.

In respect of T-shirts, I am doing the same, except HHH T-shirt.

I've bought in Thailand the only and last one copycat T-Shirt ***BOSS Armani International*** on my very first to Thailand, at Chatuchak market.

Posted by Sue on May 31, 2014 12:56

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5555 yup.moi never buy knock offs, always pay 50 bucks for a "label" T shirt..NAAAH! Think the knock off vendors should either name and shame or pay "them" in knock off baht. Thought the BIB no longer ran the show? I guess all the governance software is all "genuine" now? What a lot of hypocritical sanctimonious waffle!! ..entertaining news as always....

Posted by david on May 31, 2014 14:05

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Generally speaking I am principally against coups, but perhaps in the case of Phuket, this could serve as an prime example as to why things need to change. Certainly corruption is the no.1 issue. The problem is how to address this ? Do you announce beforehand with your intentions of reform, or just steam ahead into those that are principally the perpetrators of corruption and make radical changes in the hope that will solve the issue?

These are indeed difficult times ahead, but the general consensus is that things must change for the better.

I'm not convinced that Thailand is truly ready for such change in a short space of time, or can it be that the time is now ripe for such reforms to take place?

Either way, it will be interesting to see how such events will unfold.

Posted by reader on May 31, 2014 16:13

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The most shocking statement was "It is well known that bribes are paid to more than 14 key government agencies by virtually all illegal businesses in Patong."
The criminals working in the agencies are all known so why can't some form of law enforcement group, police/army?, go in and arrest them and put a stop to this practice once and for all?

Posted by Tony on June 1, 2014 13:40


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