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Patong beach and jet-skis under a cloud this week on Phuket

'Jet-Ski JJ' Turns Up at Phuket Rip-Offs Meeting

Wednesday, September 16, 2009
UPDATE

WINAI ''JJ'' Naiman, the jet-ski proprietor accused of ripping off US and British marines, was among the audiience this afternoon when Phuket's jet-ski operators met in Patong. He was filmed in a yellow shirt and was in a yellow shirt when he was arrested. But today, he wore white.

Original Report

TALKS are underway among Phuket jet-ski operators to change their methods and eliminate scams from their businesses.

Insurance is not possible because under Thai law, the jet-skis are for sport only and cannot be rented to others, the president of the Bang Tao Jet-Ski Association, Anusorn Sale, told Phuketwan today.

The operators were given a week by the Governor, Wichai Praisa-nob, to reach their own agreement on how to operate legitimately and to put suggestions to him.

Key players and authorities met last week after the full extent of the jet-ski crisis was exposed by a television documentary and internet footage. They will reconvene on Friday to assess what happens next.

Khun Anusorn said the Bang Tao beach model, where scams had never been a problem, should also be applied in Patong, where operators were frequently accused of scams.

''I don't understand how Patong lets this happen,'' he said. ''We have had jet-skis in Bang Tao for 10 years and never had this kind of confrontation.''

Patong jet-ski owner Winai ''JJ'' Naiman was arrested and held for three nights at Patong's Kathu jail after being seen on the British television series 'Big Trouble in Tourist Thailand.'

He demanded a large sum for ''damage'' allegedly caused by a British marine, then was shown in footage posted on the internet taking a similar sum for ''damage'' from an American marine just days later.

Locals in Patong say ''JJ'' figures regularly in disputes of this kind with tourists on Phuket.

He has since claimed on television in Thailand that he was set up, a charge the producer of the series vigorously denies. ''JJ'' signed a release document enabling his performance to be shown.

''These scams are a bad thing for us and for tourism,'' Khun Anusorn told Phuketwan today, ''not just for Phuket but for Thailand.''

If there is a mishap, jet-ski riders from Bang Tao are asked to pay 300 baht per square inch of damage. For damage of 10 square inches or more, the set amount is 200 baht per square inch, he said.

A jet-ski has a replacement value of 300,000 baht, he said.

''JJ'' told a television audience this week that if he was not able to use his jet-ski while it was repaired, he would also demand 5000 baht a day for the period it was out of action.

Assuming that the jet-ski is in use every day, that puts a value of 150,000 baht on ''JJ's'' earnings each month. His tax bill must be high.

Extortion? ''JJ'' told the television interviewer that the 44,000 baht he demanded from the British marine was only fair because the jet-ski could have been out of action for as many as four days.

The minimum wage in Phuket rose recently to 206 baht a day. That's 6180 baht a month. Clearly, ''JJ'' places an extremely high value on his time and his jet-ski.

Governor Wichai, who wants to see corruption stamped out on the island, has been in Bangkok but is expected to return to Phuket in time for Friday's meeting.

It's likely that visitors' passports will no longer be taken as collateral for jet-ski hire.

The going rate is 1500 baht for 30 minutes on a jet-ski but it's a business that really only flourishes in Phuket's November-April high season.

Safety factors, pollution and the large number of unregistered operators have also proved to be a concern.

One suggestion is that a pontoon should be set up 500 metres or more offshore in Patong Bay. Would-be jet-ski riders could be ferried to the pontoon and rides given to the first jet-ski in a rank of waiting jet-skis.

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Comments

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"Insurance is not possible because under Thai law, the jet-skis are for sport only and cannot be rented to others, the president of the Bang Tao Jet-Ski Association, Anusorn Sale, told Phuketwan today." end of quote

So if renting them out is against the law, why are they being rented out? What are the penalties against not obeying this law?

Posted by Guenter Bellach on September 16, 2009 15:50

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Do not forget that there are two ways to talk business in Thailand:
1/- Lawyers, accounting offices and civil servants talking with business investors (Thais or foreigners alike): By the law, YOU CAN NOT DO IT, but in that case we will help you......blablabla....
2/- Lawyers, accounting offices and civil servants talking with business investors (Thais or foreigners alike): By the law YOU CAN DO IT, but, in that case it will be difficult and it will take time, but do not worry, we will help you......blablabla......
It is why law and regulations do not work in Thailand as any investor with money and using bribes will go through and win....
Best sample is Taksin's businesses and in Phuket fake companies with proxy Thai nominees and so on...

Posted by Whistle-Blower on September 17, 2009 10:09

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Bravo Guenter, I wonder how much tax JJ pays every month, me as a Farang, i have to pay my tax at the first of every month, or they would close down my company down and revoke my visa and deport me, but i am not Thai am i?

Posted by michael hynes on September 17, 2009 12:28

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Wow, JJ was wearing a WHITE shirt! But when he was filmed and arrested, he was in a YELLOW shirt. What could it mean?

Editor: It's possible he has taken a shower. We should have explained. One of JJ's claims is that he was in front of Gavih Hill's cameras not once or twice but on many occasions, and always donned a yellow shirt to ensure continuity. It's part of his claim that it was set up, not real.

Posted by Anonymous on September 18, 2009 14:30

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[Quote]
Wow, JJ was wearing a WHITE shirt! But when he was filmed and arrested, he was in a YELLOW shirt. What could it mean?

Yes it was probably to signify he has had a shower but more likely to appear pure and innocent to his peers. Same as a link to virginity or as is the tradition during the vegetarian festival here in Phuket. The 3 accused of the murder of Dale Henry in Ranong all wore white at their trial in an effort to sway the judge who thankfully didn't buy the act. Gave them all life.

Posted by innocent bystander on September 18, 2009 14:56

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And while they now have crisis meetings, and at the same time try to prosecute the production company etc etc etc..

The Patong police license the gogo touts !! They have given them union vests (so they know whose paying the tea money) and allowing them to rip off tourists night after night.

They only want to appear like they are cleaning anything up, its far too profitable to keep on scamming.

Posted by LivinLOS on September 18, 2009 14:58

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I bet JJ never explained that bit about including damages for everyday the jet ski is out of action - people generally assume that they would be paying for the repairs ONLY, if there's an accident. I think if people knew about the out of action damages, they would be so scared of potential accidents that they give the jet skis a miss. JJ's cunning is sickening, but the gullibility of tourist is pretty amazing too, not to mention irresponsible ones who try to run away like guilty children breaking a vase.

Ah well, I guess wealth parts from fools sooner than one can say sawasdee khrap. Thailand punishes fools harshly and I think many farang will agree on this point.

Posted by Mr.Nice on September 18, 2009 15:10

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Any sane business man would not allow the person who has damaged them to attend ant meetings so why was he allowed in?

Posted by billy dale on September 19, 2009 01:34

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The taxes are th one for me I know many companies with farangs involved and they are hunted down for there tax and pay above the norm according to JJ himself his Jetski is worth 150,000 baht a month so times that by the 28 jetski's he is involved in brings a total of 4,200,000 baht a month or 50,400,000 baht a year and that is just normal renting not including any extra from scams. I do hope he is paying tax on all of this

Posted by Michael on September 22, 2009 07:52

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You quote 'Insurance is not possible because under Thai law, the jet-skis are for sport only and cannot be rented to others, the president of the Bang Tao Jet-Ski Association, Anusorn Sale, told Phuketwan today.
Simple solution - Renting Jet Skis is ILLEGAL - Ban them and impound the Jet Skis!

Posted by CR on September 29, 2009 13:26


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