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Patong beach nightmare: Jetski operator and tourists look at the damage

Jet-skis Action: Governor Orders Photo Gallery

Sunday, August 9, 2009
JET-SKI operators and motorcyle renters on Phuket are to have their photographs and fingerprints taken for a new computer data base, the Governor, Wichai Praisa-nob, has told Phuketwan.

Creation of the gallery appears to be a sign that Phuket is joining Bangkok in an attempt to clean up its image among tourists.

The decision to build a new data base on the island followed a meeting in Bangkok on Thursday between Governor Wichai and the Deputy Prime Minister, Suthep Teuksuban.

''Khun Suthep said he had been warned by leading diplomats that Phuket continues to have major problems with scams and overcharging by jetski operators and motorcycle renters,'' Governor Wichai said.

''The Deputy PM was told that unless action is taken, tourists who come to Phuket now will start going to Bali,'' he said.

Governor Wichai said photographs and fingerprints for the new gallery would be taken from September onwards.

Having a data base will enable tourists caught in arguments with jetski operators or motorcycle renters to rapidly to identify the people involved.

The number of complaints about high prices and extortion scams on Phuket has been growing in recent years to the point where diplomats have now become as concerned as resort managements.

Phuket's reputation mirrors that of Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi International Airport, where diplomatic alarm about arrests of tourists in the duty free zone and the large sums of money they then have to pay to leave Thailand have prompted action.

''Black'' taxis and guides at the capital's airport and thefts from baggage are also being subjected to a crackdown by authorities.

With the BBC and international news agencies reporting the problems of tourists at Suvarnabhumi Airport, official action has become essential. Now, it seems, Phuket could be next.

With the Asean Plus Six summit of 16 national leaders set for Phuket in October, the island is ripe for an end to scams, rip-offs and corruption.

''Phuket is a great place for tourists to come and relax,'' the governor told Phuketwan. ''Why do these people want to spoil it for everyone?

''We can't let just a few extortionists get away with these kinds of damaging schemes. The next thing you know, resort brands will want to build in Phang Nga or Krabi instead.''

He also suggested that police should explain to tourists the common sense in solving complaints in a straightforward fashion, if possible.

''Once the procedure moves to official court action, everything goes more slowly. Cases can delay tourists from going home on schedule.

''The police can be a big help in making sure problems are dealth with speedily,'' he said.

The governor made his comments on Friday after a visit from the Australian Ambassador, Paul Grigson.

Scams involving jet-skis and rented motorcycles usually involve the operators claiming large sums for ''damage'' that the vehicles already had before being rented.

Often when police are called in, officers take the side of the operators.

Another concern is the lack of insurance on most rented jet-skis and motorcycles. People who suffer injuries or their families have sometimes had to pay large, unexpected hospital bills.

Moves by a previous governor to have jet-skis phased out appear to have come to nought, with permit holders having been allowed to replace worn-out machines with new ones.

Jet-ski scams rate second to tuk-tuks as a source of complaint among visitors, who are often surprised at the lack of an adequate public transport system on the island.

Tourists who are ripped off seldom return to Phuket. Phang Nga and Krabi, Phuket's neighboring Andaman coast provinces, have banned jet-skis and beach vendors, and there are a minimal number of tuk-tuks.

Governor Wichai said that in any event, steady growth was best for the tourism industry on Phuket.

''It's like a balloon,'' he said. ''Fill it with too much air too fast, and it is likely to burst.''

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Comments

Comments have been disabled for this article.

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Chuffing hell-fire, Ha ha ha ha about bl**dy time hey? Let's not hold our breaths tho'?

Posted by Mouse on August 9, 2009 06:58

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too late, people around the world who got ripped off or scammed before have already chosen another destination, and they tell their friends what happened and svared them off too....

Posted by no name on August 19, 2009 14:32

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Its too late for me, I am already headed for Bali next spring. Good luck Thailand. I am glad to see an effort being put forth, but when the police by the beach are in on the jet ski scam I hardly would think this program is going to help. Who are we to report to when the police even turn their backs on us?

Posted by Laura on September 4, 2009 06:10

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Thailand's corrupt image would take the next 25 years to repair.The more ridiculous the laws and of policing those laws become, the wider the jaws of corruption open?

Posted by Graham on September 4, 2009 08:13

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It is the same in Pattaya especially after the group from the Sun Princess got scammed in August.This is happening 3 or 4 times a day at Pattaya.

Posted by Richard on October 24, 2009 12:25


Tuesday October 27, 2020
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