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Patong Tuk-Tuk Driver 'Punches Phuket Tourist Over 500 Baht Fare'

Patong Tuk-Tuk Driver 'Punches Phuket Tourist Over 500 Baht Fare'

Friday, April 6, 2012
PHUKET: An Australian tourist visiting Phuket was punched in the face by a tuk-tuk driver in a dispute over a high fare last night, Patong police said today.

The man and his Australian companions wanted to go back to the Merlin Beach Resort from the Jungceylon shopping mall, said Lieutenant Tanakrit Keawyai of Kathu Police Station, which oversees Patong.

''The tuk-tuk driver wanted 500 baht for the trip,'' Lieutenant Tanakrit said. ''The Australian offered 250 baht.

''They tried to negotiated the price down for a while, but the tuk-tuk driver became frustrated and punched the tourist in the face.''

After punching the tourist, the tuk-tuk driver drove off, Lieutenant Tanakrit said.

''The tourist's eye glasses were broken but the injury to his face was small,'' the lieutenant said.

''The tourist came to the police station so he could make a claim to have the glasses replaced. He said they were quite expensive.''

From Jungceylon to the Merlin Beach Resort at night takes five or perhaps 10 minutes, depending on traffic.

The President of the Patong Entertainment Association, Weerawit Kuressombut, who is also a Patong councillor, told a meeting of Patong Municipal Council yesterday that it was time tourist rip-offs were brought under control.

''We can get everything else perfect but if the rip-offs continue, eventually nobody will come,'' he said. ''The rip-offs are a threat to the future of Patong and Phuket.''

Weerawit said he had some knowledge of the topic - he was often the person called to resorts or guesthouses when there were violent incidents associated with tuk-tuks or illegal taxis.

''Mayor Pian (Keesin) really must act on this issue.''

Another councillor, Prasan Nuket, said that he felt uncomfortable at night in Patong because of the tourism robbberies and the intimidation and figthing among tuk-tuk drivers.

''Nobody takes action,'' he said. ''The police are quick to fine people caught not wearing helmets on their bikes. If they got serious about crime, they would check what's in tuk-tuks and taxis.

''If police did search tuk-tuks and taxis thoroughly, they'd fill a big basket full of knives and guns every night,'' Khun Prasan said.

*Phuketwan has since been told by a reliable source that the incident involving the tuk-tuk driver took place about 10.30pm. Two children were among the party of seven tourists. After the punch, the group walked 100 metres and caught another tuk-tuk without problems for 300 baht.

Comments

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''If police did search tuk-tuks and taxis thoroughly, they'd fill a big basket full of knives and guns every night,'' Khun Prasan said.

Wow finally someone with authority has said it, but what will the Police response be?

Posted by Tbs on April 6, 2012 12:39

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Just wondering if the authorities really are going to put to an end this. Internationally speaking, Phuket is now being given a wide berth by a lot of potential tourists as a lot of press is now available on international forums based outside Thailand that warn people of the dangers of going to Phuket. Is this really the message Thailand can afford to be sending at the moment ? Tuk-Tuk's and the problems arrising from this issue must be seriously addressed otherwise I can only see less and less tourists going there.

Posted by reader on April 6, 2012 13:56

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Wow. Scary. So it's not just foreign consuls that daren't go to Patong at night, councillors too. And inter-tuk tuk fighting ? Wasn't aware of that. Having said that, most British taxi drivers carry an iron bar or something. I don't know how it is in America where gun controls are more like Thailand. It should be acknowledged though that as soon as the drivers are away from their colleagues they are very isolated and Phuket's tourists are not always angels (not advocating violence here) ! But punching a tourist in the face while negotiating ? That shows a clear problem with attitudes. If the police daren't deal with the problem and the mayor ... won't (?) .... you'd expect the people that own Jungceylon would be able to pull some strings ?

Posted by James on April 6, 2012 14:12

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''Mayor Pian (Keesin) really must act on this issue."

Yeah right!....

Posted by zig on April 6, 2012 14:31

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One day SOMEONE will say WHY didn't SOMEBODY do something about this in time???
I hear more and more tourists saying that the feel threatened by the taxi/tuk tuk drivers.
The predicted end is getting closer and closer everyday... Sad but true..

Posted by Nick on April 6, 2012 16:29

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Theres one answer really dont use tuk tuks,you all know the reputation of these tuk tuks but still use them, then when something goes wrong you moan, like the jet skis everone knows they rip tourists off but people still use them...i have been coming to patong for 7 years i have never used a tuk tuk or rented a jet ski and have never had a problem in patong. i feel more safe in thailand than in most western countries where violence is rife.

Posted by darren walker on April 6, 2012 18:10

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Someone said that Patong Municipality is going to hire "a night Sheriff,'' in the Old Far West style!?!

Posted by Mario on April 6, 2012 19:00

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Makes me laugh....all of the complaints, all of the media coverage, hasn't made one iota of difference to the thousands of tourists arriving in dozens of planes every day.

Posted by Pete on April 6, 2012 19:12

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Nick's right. You would hope that people would just completely stop riding in them. Unfortunately, in most parts of phuket, they are the taxi service. Take it or leave it. It's a good thing that this gets into the news, the more people aware of it the better. Hope that there can be some real change like the proposed railway.

Posted by Ty on April 6, 2012 20:29

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Sadly this is only going to end in "tears". There is a "limit" that "foreigners" will tolerate before they take action and retaliate. Sadly [again] this is human nature. Fortunately Phuket is only a very small part of Amazing Thailand.

Posted by Amazed in Thailand on April 6, 2012 21:00

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Punched even though they did not use the tuktuk?

I wonder what the story would have been if the tourists' companions had joined in the incident?

Posted by mikey on April 6, 2012 22:05

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No doubt it was the tourist's fault, because he was trying to make the driver lose face by accepting a smaller fare.

Posted by fw on April 7, 2012 03:41

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My experience yesterday with a tuk tuk driver and taxi driver is they are arrogant and their fees are ridiculous.

The Taxi 'stand' next to Kamala Tsunami park has a gaggle of guys sitting playing cards all day. Why not lower the fee for the ride and have more clients? The taxi driver would not budge on a 300baht fare to go less than a mile. His car was fantastic with drop down entertainment screens. How can he afford this type of car?

What is the option for tourists? Are the Police paid off to look the other way?

Posted by EWren on April 7, 2012 04:12

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It must be the tourist's fault... If he wasn't in Thailand, his face wouldn't have been in the way of the tuk tuk driver's fist when he threw the punch!

Posted by Kel on April 7, 2012 07:32

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Yes! Start with checking all tuk tuk in a check point. Look for drugs and weapons plus driving licence and tax mark. Continue that action for at least 3-4 months. Then they understand police are watching. Have a special team in patong, called the tuk-tuk-police, give them double salary so they don't take bribes. Merlin to jungceylon should cost 100 baht.

Posted by Paul on April 7, 2012 09:57

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I just took a holiday from Phuket to Saigon, and was sitting in a coffee shop next to an Australian and British girl who were discussing why they wound up in Saigon - it was in large part because they had heard so much bad about Phuket in particular and Thailand in general, that they had given it a miss in favour of Vietnam.

Posted by Traveler on April 7, 2012 11:42

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When will tourists finally get it, Patong only looks cheap.

Posted by Lena on April 7, 2012 16:06

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Tourists not coming looks to me there is more coming all the time maybe some of the regular ones but they are well outnumbered by new tourists who don't no know all the problems and what to avoid.
Not many eastern Europeans or Russian read forums i would have thought.

Posted by hopeful on April 7, 2012 16:17

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I read all the expected comments to this type of incident, but it isn't going to make a scrap of difference what anyone says or does. Tourists will continue to flock here, be scammed, robbed, or beaten. Just know what to expect before arriving.

Posted by agogohome on April 7, 2012 17:53

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Just came back from a week in Patong. I have visited several times over the past 20 years, but what happened to this place over the years is beyond my understanding. Rude and intimidating taxi drivers, rip off prices, shops that sell nothing but illegal junk and annoying bar hostesses. The beach is destroyed and looks more like an amusement park than a relaxing beach with touts and hundreds of misbehaving punks offering rip of jet ski and parachuting services. needless to say it was my last trip to this once a paradise, but now a scene out of hell with no regards for its guests. Shame !

Posted by Brian Thornton on April 7, 2012 17:58

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The President of the Patong Entertainment Association, Weerawit Kuressombut is correct in saying that if they don't put an end to it no one will come. I am one who has never and probably will never visit Phuket. The snowball effect has already started. That tuk tuk driver should be made pay for the mans glasses and never allowed to work in any form of public transport again.

Posted by David on April 8, 2012 20:14

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The police used to carry out drug tests on bar girls. It would make more sense to subject tuk tuk drivers to drug and alcohol tests. People's lives are in their hands when getting into the back of a tuk tuk. I suspect that drugs may help explain some of the behavior of tuk tuk drivers.

Posted by Jack on April 8, 2012 20:36

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A 15-20 minute ride in a new modern air conditioned taxi in Bangkok costs 50 Baht. That's ten times cheaper than sitting on a bench on the back of an open-aired truck in Phuket.

Posted by Anonymous on April 9, 2012 01:44

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In Nakhon Si Thammarat a songthaew is 10 baht anywhere in the greater city area or every 6km. They are full all day, everyday. The problems in Patong have become worse and worse on Mayor Pian's watch.

Posted by logbags on April 9, 2012 14:46

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easy solution!! Dont go to Phuket!!

Posted by rwpsundco on April 9, 2012 23:24

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Somebody is definitely gunna get killed and we won't find a Mayor, Governor or Police Honcho in sight.
These people with their pack mentality need to be dismantled or Phuket will perish.
I want K. Chuvit to take this one on, as it seems everyone else is dancing around the fringes.

Posted by Junior on April 10, 2012 11:48

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It's time that they take some actions here in Phuket.

Posted by kikki on April 10, 2012 11:54

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I have been to Thailand over 30 times in the last ten years. Not once have I had the desire to visit Phuket due to these kind of incidents. And I have no plans ever setting foot on the island.

Posted by Bri on April 10, 2012 12:24

Editor Comment:

Hello Bri, That's a shame. While there are incidents of this kind occasionally, the vast majority of people have a great time and enjoy their holidays on Phuket.

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I was with my family in Phuket for 5 days .The taxi drivers at Patong dictated very high fares.Tourist have no choice but to use them.If you want to keep tourism alive in Phuket then the industry should be regulated and stricter control measures put in place

Posted by Desmond on April 11, 2012 18:47

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tomorrow I m traveling to phuket I want to know if it s safe place or still dangerous

Posted by mourad on April 12, 2012 09:51

Editor Comment:

Dangerous? No.

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Just had exactly the same experience as Traveller but in Hanoi, with two Australians and three Dutch guys.
Same story, Phuket is getting such a bad reputation that no one wanted to visit.

Posted by Bill on April 12, 2012 15:34

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why they cannot have the system in place like they have in pattaya..pretty much you pay 10 baht and hop on and hop off. Interesting to see the statistics regarding tuk tuk violence there. Pattaya has its own issues, so i know that..but i like the transport system all the same.

Posted by expatinasia on April 12, 2012 16:38

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"tomorrow I m traveling to phuket I want to know if it s safe place or still dangerous"

@mourad:
Don't start negotiating, say yes or no, or even better: ignore the TukTuk Gang.
Should be ok, then ;-]

Posted by C. on April 13, 2012 00:25

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We have been coming to Phuket for about 20 years, once or twice a year. We have now started to go to Bali again and last trip discovered Boracay. It is a bit of a chore to get there, but once you are there it is like Phuket was before greed absolutely ruined it!

Posted by Terry on April 13, 2012 07:22

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I went to Phuket last October for the fourth time and had a pretty frightening experience. Walking along the beach road at 9 am to go to chemist, a bike pulled up behind me. The pillion passenger jumped off and jostled me. He put his hand in my pocket trying to steal my wallet. I raced into the shop and held the door closed but he tried to push his way in. He eventually gave up. I was worried that he had some sort of weapon. This all happened 100 metres from the police station. Has this happened to anyone else?

Posted by Dan Frogan on April 14, 2012 11:21

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(moderated)

Posted by irish kev on April 19, 2012 10:54

Editor Comment:

When you have some evidence to support your comment, please let us know.

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I have been to phuket several times, Patong has no redeeming features at all to be honest, and i agree with most of the comments i read on here if you substitute the word "Phuket" with patong.
Kata beach is great however and i have always found the locals there to be friendly and honest enough.
friends spend time in other quieter parts of phuket and speak well of it.
Places like Patong, Pattaya, Kuta Beach (Bali) or even the Gold Coast in oz just seem to attract the wrong sort of people.

Posted by JL on May 16, 2012 20:25

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i think only a military intervent perhaps from bkk can resolve this story with tuk tuk,police here too much involved with this people of tuk tuk and generally in thailand police always scare about this story,but very strong to fine farang no helmets or drive license.No way for resolve this problem, only military

Posted by giu on May 16, 2012 22:24

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obviously the tourist assaulted the tuk tuk driver by slamming his face into his fist.

Posted by traveller on May 17, 2012 14:23

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I love phuket, agree to a price first and if a problem starts whats a few hundred baht anyway. Most thais are the nicest people I know.

P floody, aussie tourist

Posted by Anonymous on June 26, 2012 14:28

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Interesting this article should appear in the "you might like" section of PW today. Seems like not much has changed in nearly 3 years .... The comments could all have come from today.

Happy days in Phuket

Had a wonderful day at the beach today, no vendors selling their tourist tat, no parasails trying to be head me, no jet skis trying to run me over in the water. No "tonight, tonight" trucks, no taxi drivers shouting "you, you" and clapping their hands at me all day. I thought I was dreaming for a while then I remembered I was in Krabi ! The difference is unbelievable and reminds me what phuket is now.

Posted by Amazing Thailand on January 5, 2015 17:49

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Tuktuk?

Posted by Chauffeur on January 5, 2015 20:02

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@amazing thailand: yes, phuket has problems...like many other tourist destinations...but phuket bashing does not help and saying in krabi all is perfect does not accurately describe the situation. as a matter of fact, i do not think that you can actually (and currently) compare krabi with phuket. give krabi another 10 years and then compare again.

Posted by Jose on January 5, 2015 20:30

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2007 the Tuk Tuk was reasonable priced and you could negotiate the price... since then gangsters took over and they have become rip off, we do not use tuk tuk anymore in patong

Posted by Fender1963 on January 12, 2015 16:05

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Sit together and make a standard fee for every zone, Patong to Kamala.

Posted by Khun Philippe on January 22, 2015 23:05


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