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Governor Wichai Praisa-nob with the gun involved in the tv episode

China Anger: Jet-Ski Scammers Told to Behave

Thursday, September 10, 2009
CHINA has called on Phuket to protect its tourists, the most important criticism yet in the war of words about the island's jet-ski scams and other rip-offs.

The criticism came directly to Phuket's governor in a visit yesterday from the Director General of Foreign Affairs, Office of Hunan, Xiao Xiang Qing, his equivalent in Guizhou, Yao Shoulun, the deputy Director-General; Reform and Development Commission of Guangzhao, and his equivalent in Yunnan, Diao Dianwei.

They were in a party of nine dignitaries who told the governor in no uncertain terms that cheating of Chinese tourists would not be tolerated.

They also asked for signage and brochures in Chinese.

One Chinese tourist recently faced down a jet-ski scammer and called in China's honorary consul to help.

AN EXTRAORDINARY meeting today over jet-skis in Patong resolved to fix the problems of scams, excessive numbers, zone intrusions, insurance and registration.

The meeting comes as a climax to a number of developments, including the dramatic arrest of one jet-ski operator over a television show that screened half a world away in Britain on Monday night.

The meeting was scheduled to take place before the arrest and the visit of the dignitaries from China, but both events certainly concentrated attention more thoroughly at Tessaban Kathu this afternoon.

More than 100 people turned out, with jet-ski owners from all over the island there in large numbers behind a congregation of officials.

The Mayor of Patong, Pian Keesin, was there, along with Deputy Mayor, Chairat Sukkaban, Kathu Police Superintendent Colonel Grissak Songmoonnark, along with four other police station chiefs, Rear Admiral Amornchot Sujirat, the local deputy in charge of the Army's Internal Security Operations Command, representatives from the Phuket Insurance, Revenue and Tarrif Departments, the Tourism Authority of Thailand, the director of the registry of tourist guides, Marine Police, Marine Transport department, plus the mayors of Karon, Rawai, Kamala, Cherng Talay and Saku, Mai Khao, all island administrations and the lifeguards.

Using a video camera to fight fire with fire, Governor Wichai Praisa-nob ordered that the tape of the gathering be sent to Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban in Bangkok.

The Deputy PM has been fielding complaints from ambassadors, including those from Australia and Britain, about jet-ski scams. He may have already heard from China, too.

The meeting was told by Khun Chairat that the number of jet-skis in Patong had risen to 167 registered vehicles, with a total of 219 for the entire island.

There were another 27 in Patong in use that had not been registered.

''If they come to the beach, police will arrest them, from tomorrow,'' the governor said. ''If there's a breakdown among the 167 registered vehicles, then there can be one replacement.

''Police will be checking documentation. Everybody on a jet-ski must be properly licensed.''

Operators are now also prohibited from taking passports from tourists who go for rides.

If there is any kind of accident requiring an additional payment from the user, the jet-ski involved must be brought to a police station, the governor said.

The Marine Department now has one week to check every jet-ski's registration and ownership, and licensed driver before reporting back, the governor said.

Addressing the operators, he said: ''You have broken the law many times. Now you must be aware that the image of Phuket, which you have damaged so badly, must be repaired.

''I don't care about the past. But we must get it right from now on. If you do not live up to the standards people expect when they come here, I will ban the jet-skis.

''They were intended for use here as a sporting activity, not as this kind of business.''

Signs are to be placed by Patong police along the foreshore warning tourists that they should call police if they have a problem and providing a number.

''If you don't have money, I will pay for the signs,'' he said.

Addressing the Marine 5 staff, responsible for registration, he said: ''You people should do your jobs, not just take your salary and do nothing. How much do you get from the mafia?''

Burmese workers involved with jet-skis are to be banned. It is not a job they are licensed to perform.

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Comments

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The current arrest, persecution, and probable prosecution, of 'JJ' is just a continuation of the face saving farce.

The reality is theres an army of Jetski Jimmys, Tuktuk Tommys, Mocy Mickeys and most importantly Police Peters, all more or less guilty of exactly the same thing. Its not about one person, its a whole system, routinely backed up by the police acting as paid enforcers. This results in a system that locals, with local connections, can do as they please due to the fact that there are very few registered locals, who can vote for the Mayor of Patong, and other positions of influence. So to keep those families happy a system of patronage exists allowing beach road to be clogged with bike rentals, Jetski gangs, and parked tuktuks. The fact is the Thai police, and all of asian society, does not exist on the basis that 'all men are equal' it exists within a framework of superior and subordinate, with patronage and corruption controlling who is guilty and who must pay not the evidence of guilt or not.

Rather than actually solve the problem, rather than enforce laws equally, rather than confront the fact that the police themselves financially benefit day in day out from these scams, they will just send Jimmy to the monkey house for a bit and claim they did their duty.

Thailand needs to take a long hard look in the mirror and ask what is it JJ did that other Thais do not do day in day out on Patong beach yet thats considered perfectly acceptable. Try parking in front of Jungceylon on the public road, or on beach road in the public spaces divided up into petty gangs little turfs and fifedoms. Making one JJ a scapegoat and going back to business tomorrow is not solving the problem, its continuing the problem. If Phuket wants to save its rapidly deteriorating image it needs to start acting like a modern society, with rules for all people enforced equally, not those that suit it, when it wants.

Posted by LivinLOS on September 10, 2009 18:48

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''Police will be checking documentation. Everybody on a jet-ski MUST BE PROPERLY LICENSED.''

That's it bottom line, end of story, the saga has come to a close, hope he means what he says.

Being a powered vessel one must have the appropriate THAI captains license to drive such a vessel. I stand to be corrected but I'm also led to believe that under the Thai marine regulations a certified engineer must also be on board. If this is in fact the correct interpretation of the law, very few people would be able to rent / ride jet skis in Thailand. This would apply to most of the owners as well.

Much more could be said but I'll leave it at that for now.

Posted by innocent bystander on September 11, 2009 00:59

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Scammers are like cheaters, only sorry when they are caught. The only reason Thailand is pretending to do something now is because of video proof. Give it a month, things will die down and be forgotten, the scams will go on. I have no faith.

Posted by Laura on September 11, 2009 01:41

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Well lets hope they keep this up!

Posted by Sean on September 11, 2009 21:27

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Bootnick bootnick can't catch me!

It was interesting to watch the inability of the sergeant to intimidate JJ.
The close confrontational, intimidating, dominative and authoritive manner was like water off a duck's back to JJ.

It was rude of the sergeant to conduct himself in such a way. He is a guest in Thailand.

He was on his own so it seemed, he should have been with several marines.

His officers seemingly had not informed him of how to conduct himself in Thailand and what to do in that situation.

When the sergeant realized that JJ was not impressed by his manner he very quickly agreed that the lad should pay up as the lad had already agreed to pay, which was an opt out by the sergeant.

JJ was clever at getting the lad to say and write how much he could pay. This is not agreeing to pay but it was seen as an agreement which JJ had manipulated out of the lad and then with more manipulation made it seem to the sergeant that the lad had agreed to pay 30000.

The discussion went on and on wearing down the opposition to JJ's demands.

What JJ did was typical of what all the Thais who scam do when scamming.

There was no way the cost of repairs could come to that amount.

So JJ was in for a big profit and he beat the Royals and won it.

The captain and first officer should be caned on their bare asses in front of the ships company and local Thais for allowing the sergeant to act impolitely and for not giving him the support and advice/ training he needed.

The sergeant needed to remove the lad from the situation with politeness and deviation as well as several marines back up he may have achieved that.

The sergeant was obviously not aware that his parochialism and use of the vernacular and colloquialisms were not suitable for communicating with a none native English speaker or one that had some English learnt without instruction.

I think the lad was covering for his oppos his so called mates.
It is not uncommon for English type city / townie types to use one of their peers to get what ever they want, in malicious fun they are happy to let another carry the can.

How come they did not stay with him when the problem of accusation became apparent?

Why didn't they leg it together, how come the lad was left on his own?

There probably was a bump from one or more of the jet skis which may have caused a fracture in the hull to break. The lad fooling around may not have noticed the bump. Even on the film it can be seen that part of the crack was old.

Tourists to Phuket and the authorities have not controlled the jet skis, paragliding or the long tail boats all of which cause dangerous situations for swimmers.

Not since the late 1980s has anything positive been done, however the attempts that have been made have not lasted long.

To operate a jet ski it was necessary to have a Thai small boat skippers licence.

So the lad could not have a licence to operate a jet ski.
JJ probably didn't have one.

When in Rome.

The film demonstrates the wrong attitude that most of the English people have towards foreigners.

The English expect everyone else to understand their language, manner and understanding of what is right and wrong.
The lack of response by JJ to the sergeant's righteous authoritive manner highlighted the sergeant's wrong way of going about solving such a situation in Thailand.

Where I live there is a large English population most of whom are pretentious and authoritive. Their arrogance is often remarked upon by the few remaining locals who generally do not like them.

The sergeant needed to know and respect Thai ways.

His officers should have supported him prior to and during the period of the visit.

There needed to be a Thai person in the rented patrol van who could have smoothed the way of such situations.

After all the RMs expected some problems.

Seems like the English government and armed forces never learn from the past.

The Yanks, Australians and British as well as other nationalities during the 60s and 70s were out there doing much the same thing.
In those days one of the scams was to get the ID card of the sailor or soldier for communistic use.

I can remember in the late 60s renting a step through Honda in Onky fid. I put that in as it just popped into my mind, and why not, eh?

Anyone remember the visit of the Queen Elizabeth liner to Patong?

Posted by Frank on September 14, 2009 05:46


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