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Colonel Arayapan Pukbuakao: planning to remake Patong peacefully

Patong's New Police Chief Lays Down the Law

Friday, March 12, 2010
THE NEW chief of police in Patong plans to discard the system of touting for bar business in Soi Bangla, established by his predecessor.

Colonel Arayapan Pukbuakao plans a whole lot of sweeping changes. Not much of what the old chief, Colonel Grissak Sommoonnark, set up is likely to be continued under the new colonel.

The touts, organised into mauve shirts with a number on the back, are among the first to go. We couldn't see one in uniform in Patong last night.

''It's more important to provide good service and not rip off tourists than it is to wear a uniform,'' he told Phuketwan.

The colonel said his staff of 165 officers will be expected to work harder and to a higher standard than previously.

''Every case involving expats, big or small, we will inform the honorary consuls or the embassies,'' he said.

Some, but not all, diplomatic representatives had problems with the speed of information being relayed to them from Kathu police station in the past.

''If we had CCTV cameras that worked, it would be fantastic,'' Colonel Arayapan said. ''But now we have 10 cameras supported by the tessaban and 16 supported by the orborjor, and none of them work,'' he said.

''If you have cameras, they can produce excellent evidence.''

Phuketwan understands that in some cases, although not necessarily in Patong, cheap cameras are purchased but all the billing is done at the price of quality cameras, and the difference is pocketed.

On parking in Patong, a chronic problem, Colonel Arayapan said he would invite the tuk-tuk driver groups to negotiate a more effective arrangement along beach road especially.

''We will call a meeting and invite everyone to talk towards a solution. We will have to try to achieve this bit by bit. It can't be achieved overnight.''

On entertainment, he said: ''Phuket is a tourist city and we can't close at 1am. People are not used to going home at that hour.

''Bars already stay open later than that. Tourists often do not come out on Soi Bangla until 11am, so it's difficult for bars to make money unless hours are longer.''

Fire exits were a problem, he said, with no serious checks being made on premises, except for a brief burst of activity after the deadly Santika blaze in Bangkok on New Years' Eve 2008.

''I don't want Phuket to have an incident like that,'' he said. ''Many clubs in Patong are just as crowded as Santika was that night.

''Every club will have to have safety approval and security cameras.''

Colonel Arayapan also does not like the idea of tourists being trapped on Phuket for long periods over petty offences.

''We will establish a mediation room at the Kathu police station before the end of the month,'' he said.

''Mediation is already working well on the island. It will save a lot of problems in cases such as the Beer Mat Bandit, which produced bad publicity for Phuket.''

Information for tourists would be available from the police station, and local and international media would be invited there regularly so that accurate information could be passed on swiftly to tourists.

On illegal drugs and guns, he said: ''I won't let drug-taking happen. Tourists must not think they can take drugs here. Guns are also something we will do out best to remove from Patong.

''Too much damage can be done by stories involving drugs and guns,'' he said.
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Comments

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Fair and active actions. Let's see if he does the walk as the talk. Its about time the parasites were weeded out, then you might, just might, get tourists back

Posted by billy Dale on March 12, 2010 17:44

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Removing the go-go touts' uniforms will only make it look like the police aren't sanctioning what they do when the touts all pay a monthly "fee" to them...and they are still there on Bangla as before, ripping unsuspecting tourists off with their 700 baht drinks.

Posted by Rex on March 12, 2010 18:46

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Interesting comments about 'cleaning up' Patong. I'm curious as to whose pocket the white envelope I saw handed over to two thugs in a bar I was in the other night was headed.Interesting that russian ladies can openly tout for business at their go-go. I didn't realise foreigners could get work permits for this type of activity. That must be a REALLY big envelope!

Posted by Mister Ree on March 12, 2010 19:51

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Woohaa! There's a new Sheriff in town! Wait a min.? Didn't I just say that a few weeks ago, or...???

Posted by BOM on March 12, 2010 21:42

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Lots of farang touts around Patong now too touting for the nightclubs and Rock City. Plus all the annoying farang Absolute crowd touting their timeshare...sorry I mean "fractional ownership" as they like to call it. Getting more like the Costa Brava every day.

Posted by Rex on March 12, 2010 22:47

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New Brush sweeps clean?
LETS HOPE SO... Are they all trying to copy the governor.... remember this is copyland....,Once again, Only Time Will Tell..wait and see, maybe another 10 years......

Posted by barka on March 13, 2010 07:03

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I do wish the new police chief a lot of success and courage . It won't be easy to change all the bad ways of Patong. I have often wondered how it is that Russian ladies are allowed to work the bars, any answers ?

Why aren't the CCT cameras in working order, is there no one to man them ?

As for the Tuc Tucs, maybe the new chief can manage to take Patong out of their greedy hands, and hand Patong back to the people .

Posted by elizabeth on March 13, 2010 14:04

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CCTV down, I guess it was the rain, that killed them. If you buy cheap, you get cheap. But the Benz had to be paid also.

Posted by Lena on March 13, 2010 16:05


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