PHUKET: The Crime Crisis Centre at Phuket International Airport will be formally opened on Friday with a second centre likely to be opened in Phuket City soon after.
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra is expected on Phuket for the opening ceremony of the second centre, officials told Phuketwan today.
Bangkok police who speak good English will be manning both crisis centres, along with the Department of Special Investigations, officials from the Tourism and Sport department and local Phuket police.
Telephone lines have yet to be announced.
At the weekend the Commander of Phuket Police, Major General Chawanwiwat, joined other officers in looking at premises at Phuket City Police Station, where the second Crime Crisis Centre could be based.
The building, behind better-known quarters for daily operations, could be a logical choice after a search in Patong and Karon failed to find a suitable site.
A top-level planning meeting was held in Bangkok on Friday to progress the plan to deal with a series of issues that have tarnished Thai tourism.
Lessons learned in the campaign that's about to begin on Phuket will be rolled into a ''Phuket model'' and used in Pattaya and other tourist destinations in Thailand.
The killing of an American tourist outside the Long Horn Saloon in Ao Nang, the neighboring resort province of Krabi last week raised once more the issue of the prevalence of weapons in places of entertainment.
After a savage hack attack at an after-hours in Phuket City last year, police resolved to remove weapons from entertainment premises and take them out of the hands of street gangs.
The Australian Ambassador to Thailand, James Wise, followed the knife-murder of Australian Michelle Smith in June last year with a call for a campaign to obliterate all weapons on Phuket and in other tourist destinations.
The main focus of the Tourism and Sport/DSI campaign, however, is expected to be on taxi and tuk-tuk drivers.
The drivers are presently threatening to take over from tour guides because their monopoly on public transport on Phuket's holiday west coast has been allowed to grow.
The main complaint from tourists is about excessive tuk-tuk and taxi fares.
Because of Phuket's primitive driver-controlled system, passengers pay a high fare for the trip they take and are also obliged to pay for the return trip the taxi or tuk-tuk makes while empty.
Illegal foreign ownership of tourism-related businesses on Phuket is another target of the campaign.
National and Phuket dignitaries are expected to turn out when the first Phuket Crime Crisis Centre opens at the airport at 2pm on Friday.