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Winai ''JJ'' Naiman among the audience at last week's jet-ski meeting

Jet-Ski JJ Case Delayed as Scam Plot Thickens

Wednesday, September 23, 2009
PATONG JET-SKI operator Winai ''JJ'' Naiman went to court in Phuket City today and found his case has been rescheduled for October 5.

The island's jet-ski operators and local authorities are to meet on Wednesday afternoon to try to find a solution that will restore Phuket's reputation as a hospitable tourist haven.

Mr Naiman, central figure in the fuss that made the scamming of tourists a cause for international concern, has been seen on British television and the YouTube Internet site demanding large sums of money for ''damage'' to jet-skis.

The footage was obtained in the making of an eight-part British television series, entitled 'Big Trouble in Tourist Thailand.'

Under the working title of 'Thai Cops,' the original concept was to highlight the work of the volunteer Tourist Police in Thailand.

Having by chance obtained footage of Mr Naiman in confrontations with British marines and US marines over jet-ski ''damage,'' in one case armed with a gun, the series concept was modified to 'Big Trouble.'

This raised concerns at the Thailand Film Office, which was not informed about the happenstance change and is now pursuing claims that the production company ''intentionally damaged Thailand's tourist image.''

The film's British producer-director Gavin Hill has left Thailand but insisted when the controversy first broke that he had no intention of damaging Thailand's image and loves the country.

The behavior of ''JJ'' simply became a compelling ingredient for viewers that any reality documentary maker would have found impossible to ignore.

Some Thais have been persuaded through sympathetic television appearances by Mr Naiman that, far from being reality, the show must have been a ''set up.''

It would be hard to see the need to set up scams and extortionist confrontations. They have been visible on Patong beach almost every day in high season for years.

Diplomats from Australia, Britain, China and Japan frequently field complaints from ripped-off tourists, and those complaints have reached such a crescendo that the Australian Ambassador lifted the ante by complaining directly to the Deputy Prime Minister.

As a result, Phuket Governor Wichai Praisa-nob has been attempting to reform the jet-ski industry, at one stage threatening to ban jet-skis entirely unless the proprietors stop the scamming themselves.

Episode Three of 'Big Trouble in Tourist Thailand' screened on British television on Monday night, apparently free of any more Phuket scam incidents.

Episode Three of the jet-ski operators' own version of their real life crisis takes place this afternoon at Provincial Hall.

It is not known whether Mr Naiman, who faces a count of extortion with menace, is planning to attend. He owns four jet-skis and has charge of a total of 28 vehicles.

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Comments have been disabled for this article.


The production did not damage Thailand's image, JJ DID.

Posted by Anonymous on October 5, 2009 07:23

Thursday June 20, 2024
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa


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