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Prab Keesin (dark shirt) at Wednesday's media conference

Payments 'in Support of Good Government'

Friday, October 18, 2013
PHUKET: Patong businessman Prab Keesin has met with Phuket journalists to reassure them that Patong will continue to ''support the government.''

He said that any payments made to police and government officials represented cash paid in support from Patong, not corruption.

Three other Patong businesspeople were with Khun Prab at the media conference on Wednesday evening, held at the shorefront Patong Bay Garden Resort.

Khun Prab called the media conference in response to claims by another Phuket figure, Chart Jindapol, who alleged on Tuesday that a special branch policeman collected bribes each month from Patong businesspeople.

Khun Chart said his influence with Thaksin Shinawatra led to the former PM of Thailand recently posting on his Facebook page a call for Thai police to ''clean up'' Pattaya and Phuket.

Khun Chart met Phuket journalists at the Public Complaints Centre of the Andaman, a new office in Phuket City he has opened to direct comments from the public to senior officials.

On Wednesday night, however, Khun Prab said that Khun Chart was in conflict with some authorities and a letter had made Khun Chart angry.

The system under which Patong businesses compensated police and government officials for their help had been in place for ''hundreds of years,'' Khun Prab said.

''Government people come and ask for our support and we support them,'' Khun Prab said. ''We don't have any conflicts with police or any other authorities.''

Khun Chart is an adviser to Thailand's trade representative. With him at Tuesday's meeting with journalists was Weerawit Kuresombut, President of the Entertainment Association of Patong.

Khun Weerawit said that payments to authorities had increased by 100 to 120 percent in the space of two years and ''nobody can afford this.''

The extra costs are passed on to all tourists to Phuket in higher prices, a process that reduces the island's competitiveness with rival destinations.

When Phuketwan interviewed Khun Prab in 2010, he said about corruption: ''Every country has it the same. Between business and the law, they work together. There is give and take.

''Patong is Patong. Police do not accept drugs. The thing is 50-50 between business and government. They do not allow bad things.

''I think it is bad, but sometimes we have to understand. The city is changing, but the law is very old.

''We need to have income for education, good health, and generally, corruption is not too bad. But we do not want more. We should change the law to avoid corruption.

''It's like a secret. Nobody knows who takes the money. Nobody knows the exact number.

''It has happened for 200 years already. The corruption in Patong is like a ghost: never seen, but we know it's there.''

Earlier this week, Khun Prab rejected claims that the family's Pisona business, which owns and runs the Patong Bay Garden Resort, had encroached on public beach on the Patong shorefront.

He spoke out after a visit to the resort on Monday by Tourism and Sports Minister Somsak Pureesrisak, with Department of Special Investigation officers.

Khun Somsak had hoped to talk to Khun Prab, but Khun Prab was away from the resort on business.

It's believed DSI officers have since asked how journalists came to know about the minister's visit to the resort, which was supposed to be private but instead attracted a large number of media.

Later in the week, Khun Prab denied that any encroachment had taken place, saying that the resort had been buttressed with a wall to protect against erosion.

He said he was a community minded businessman who continued to allow members of the public access to Patong beach through the resort, built on land originally owned by his grandfather.

Khun Prab said he had always had the best interests of the Patong community at heart and led reforms that had made Patong's taxis and tuk-tuks more efficient and tourist-friendly.

Although he ran a nightclub, a resort and restaurants in Patong, he had never personally been asked for or paid a bribe, he said on Wednesday.

Comments

Comments have been disabled for this article.

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Gotta give him that, a good sense of humour ;-)

Posted by Sailor on October 18, 2013 01:04

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He must feel really treated unfair to come out like this. Looks like there is some traction in Patong. No easy job for the DSI.

Posted by Lena on October 18, 2013 02:38

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He can argue black is white as he knows there will be no comeback or consequenses. Nor will he be held to account by a tame administration, press, and populace.

Posted by phonus balonus on October 18, 2013 08:36

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Payments in support of good governance or protection or mutual agreements started centuries ago. In Asia for example, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand etc the common people paid a tribute as a cost for using a landlord's land and protection from marauding tribes.Malaysian Sultans paid the King of Thailand Flowers every year made from gold and other riches to keep the Thais from attacking them. After the British arrived in Malaysia a deal was made between the Thais and Brits and the gift making was stopped. The Chinese that settled in Indonesia who introduced wage labour and trade stores paid tribute to the ruling elite in order to stay there. There are many other examples. You scratch my back and I'll scratch yours in a manner of speaking. Is it a bit of a stretch to think that the habit of paying for something in kind is still on going?

Posted by seht1912 on October 18, 2013 09:29

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Quote "I think it is bad, but sometimes we have to understand. The city is changing, but the law is very old."
Can somebody entertain me and tell me what "law" says?

I have to pay under the table to get anything done?

Posted by Jacgem on October 18, 2013 10:04

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What a bunch of a**holes!, sorry ed no other word can describe them.

Posted by jean-paul patrick on October 18, 2013 10:19

Editor Comment:

Why do you say that, jean-paul?

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"any encroachment had taken place, saying that the resort had been buttressed with a wall to protect against erosion" Fantastic: so tomorrow I will built, on public land, new terrace and roof for my house, cause the raina are erosing the paint on the wall..

Posted by richard on October 18, 2013 12:25

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" Khun Prab rejected claims that the family's Pisona business, which owns and runs the Patong Bay Garden Resort, had encroached on public beach on the Patong shorefront."

--i am not well versed in the issue of land rights and boundary law for the island of Phuket and would be quite interested to hear the view of someone that is.

As a Licensed Geodesist in another part of the world, I would be interested in hearing an expert in Thai Law speak on this matter.

It is apparent to anyone on the beach that the erosion control extends further into the beach than any other property and it would not be difficult to measure whether encroachment issues exist. The rea l questions would seem to be when the laws defining public beach came into effect and whether "grandfather" rights exist.

Interestingly enough, none oft his might be an issue ina nother 20 years since the beach is receding and a couple hundred sandbags are not going to stop its progression for long.

Ofcourse, one bit of warning to anyone headed down that way to take a gander--be prepared for a god-awful stench coming from the sea. Thes mell of human waste is quite pungent...perhaps its time to increase capacity of existing shore-based treatment facilities.

Cheers

Posted by Concerned & Saddened on October 18, 2013 14:53

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Part II

Spoke a bit too quick. I had not considered how the Tsunami has effected that beach and its high water boundary. Also, no experience on how deeds are written here. Would the description include an actual measurement from the front (streetside) of property?

Glanced at another thread on this matter and a few suggested using GPS. Actually, that would not be necessary. Better to use the type of instruments used in the original survey--assuming one had been performed.

Lastly, forgot to warn you to watch your step as well as your nose--its full moon and the tides are low and exposing a tremendous amount of plastic garbage washed up on shore. Doesn't appear to concern the local lads in the least who spend all day kicking a football rather than keeping their beach clean. But then it doesn't seem to bother the tourists either--guess the beach is still cleaner than Russian or Indian beaches?

Oh yeah, when you hear a whistle, duck and run or a parasail line might lop off your head ;-)

Cheers

Posted by Concerned & Saddened on October 18, 2013 15:27


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