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Control Phuket Tuk-Tuk Thugs or Lose European Tourists, Ambassador Warns

Wednesday, August 31, 2011
PHUKET: Austria's ambassador told Phuket officials today that travel warnings could be issued across Europe, specifically mentioning that Phuket's tuk-tuks should be avoided, unless action is taken quickly to solve Phuket's law and order issues.

The comments by Ambassador Dr Johannes Peterlik, who grew up in Thailand and has been a visitor to Phuket for more than 30 years, came at the climax of the most intense summit between Phuket's honorary consuls and Phuket's administrators to date.

Honorary consuls and officials at the quarterly meeting listened as Dr Peterlik made it plain that a sizeable number of European ambassadors had been waiting to see change on Phuket for some time and would act in concert to warn tourists if necessary.

''If the situation does not change, we will be forced to publish specific Phuket-related alerts in order to protect our citizens,'' Dr Peterlik said.

His comments, following some surprising reports from honorary consuls in the previous two hours, made it plain to everyone at Provincial Hall in Phuket City this afternoon that speedy action is required, whether from Phuket administrators or from Bangkok.

The bashing of a German expat resident of Phuket on Thursday night in Patong, plus the failure of police to report the matter to Germany's honorary consul until today, further spotlighted the need for the rule of law and commonsense to be restored rapidly.

While several honorary consuls made strong criticisms revolving around present concerns regarding tuk-tuks and jet-skis on Phuket, there was no acrimony at the meeting. The point was made several times that Thais or expats could just as easily become victims.

In a series of developments to the growing concerns about thuggery by tuk-tuk drivers and jet-ski scammers on Phuket:

.. British honorary consul Martin Carpenter said that tuk-tuk fares needed to be renegotiated downwards before the next high season;

.. Dutch honorary consul Seven Smulders warned that tourists now faced new scams when hiring motorcycles;

.. German honorary consul Dirk Naumann said he had been reliably informed that a television show highlighting polluted water on Phuket had resulted in 1000 cancellations of trips to Phuket in Germany alone;

.. Australian honorary consul Larry Cunningham said he had been told by Tourist Police that there had been '' a lot more'' assaults by tuk-tuk drivers than the ones reported in recent months in the media.

The problem, he said, was ''more and more about power. The jet-ski operators and the tuk-tuk drivers have power in Patong.''

At the start of the meeting, the honorary consul expressed dismay that the minutes of the meetings, introduced in February last year, had been doctored to remove criticisms, conveying false impressions to government officials and embassies in Bangkok.

Look for more Phuketwan reports about today's honorary consuls meeting with Phuket administrators, coming soon.

Comments

Comments have been disabled for this article.

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Action not words please, gentlemen.

Posted by lord jim on August 31, 2011 21:23

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Any chance Phuket Wan can send the original minutes to the right people in Bangkok?
Also is this the first time they have been doctored?
I am pleased the Consuls have finally had enough. Will anything be done and if so is there a deadline?
What was the name of the German Program, I would like to see if its on youtube as well to watch it.

Posted by Tbs on August 31, 2011 22:31

Editor Comment:

Minutes of the latest meeting would probably be sufficient to bring embassy and government officials up to date with the consuls' concerns. I don't think they've ''had enough.'' But they are keen to make Phuket a safer place with the help of Phuket police and officials.
The program is 'Wir Retten Ihren Urlaub!'' (We Save Your Holiday!)

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I have Tour and Travel co here on Phuket and I have been warning people on my Face book site for jet skis and tuk tuks for a long time already. I will continue to do so. How can a trip in Phuket with a light motorbike with open space cabin cost the same as with a brand new high class Taxi in Finland. I mean, here the minimum wage is 221 Baht or so, right?

Posted by Hockey on September 1, 2011 00:29

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I have also been posting links about these problems for some time on all the expat and travel websites here in Hong Kong warning travelers about the dangers of Phuket.

Judging by the feedback I am getting many people are absolutely horrified by what is going on, and are choosing alternative destinations.

Posted by Hker on September 1, 2011 08:47

Editor Comment:

It would be a shame to overstate the scale of the problem. The vast majority of people have a wonderful time on holiday on Phuket. But while there is a lawless element among the tuk-tuk drivers and jet-ski operators - and now, apparently, motorcycle hirers - Phuket will suffer. Incidents of intimidation, violence and fraud should not happen on Phuket.

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Find out who "doctored" those minutes and who ordered or organised it and send them to jail.

Posted by David on November 8, 2011 18:40

Editor Comment:

It comes as a surprise to most of us that there are laws against editing minutes.


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