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Suprarinya Jampada at her destroyed shop near Bang Tao beach

Phuket Beach Rumbles Grow: Taxi Driver Alarms Judge

Thursday, January 13, 2011
A TAXI driver who confronted a judge over a parking space at a Phuket beach ignited interest in Bangkok and drew a warning from Phuket's Police Commander last night.

Concerns are mounting about the activities of thugs and intimidation at Surin beach and nearby Bang Tao beach, with locals questioning their safety and the destruction of at least one beachside shop.

The young female judge, who does not wish to be named, parked her car in the public park at Surn beach last night. As she walked to the restaurant with her family, a taxi driver said: ''You can't park here. This is for taxi parking.''

She responded: ''Sorry, this is a public place.'' Before walking on to the restaurant, she took the precaution of noting the ''black'' taxi's number plate.

The taxi driver pursued her, and not knowing she was a judge, said: ''Over there is the police station, if you have the power.'' She walked on.

The taxi driver went back and mounted a motorcycle, then pursued the judge right to the steps of the beach restaurant.

To her rescue came a shopkeeper, one of a family who have already claimed that thugs on Surin beat up a sister in the family.

She was standing with the judge when the taxi driver said: ''My boss is Mayor Manot. [Manot Phanchalad is the Mayor of Cherng Talay.]

The judge, in a third face-off with the taxi-driver, placed a mobile telephone call to her father, a senior judge in Bangkok.

Within five minutes, the Surin beachfront was swarming with police who arrived in two cars. As a result of last night's confrontation, Phuket Police Commander Pekad Tantipong said he planned to take further action.

Last night's confrontation followed an extraordinary meeting on the Surin beachfront on Tuesday when the sisters and a brother of a fruit vendor who was beaten up on the beach last week faced off with two of the men accused of the assault.

After the meeting, Phuketwan talked to Suprarinya Jampada, 35, at neighboring Bang Tao beach, near the Babylon Beach Club. Khun Supraniya says her shop was destroyed by the local council.

She questioned why some local people were not allowed to run businesses on the beach while other businesses had illegally built structures on the sand, both at Bang Tao and Surin.

''There are many businesses much bigger than mine much closer to the beach,'' she said. ''Why are some people allowed to run these operations, while others are not?

''I know why. I don't pay money to the Orbortor [the local council]. I am sure these places also do not pay tax. I am happy to pay tax.''

She said her thatch and bamboo shop had been damaged three times before it was flattened, and each time she went to the local police. ''I had a call from the Superintendent of Cherng Talay police to say, 'Please cancel your case, because there isn't enough evidence to say who damaged your shop.' That makes me sad.''

Earlier at the meeting on Surin beachfront, the Director of Thalang District, Narunat Supattharapateep, heard members of the family of the fruit vendor who was beaten up last week on Surin beach accuse the proprietor of Dab Restaurant of leading the attack.

''Can we still walk on the beach selling our fruit?'' one family member asked. The conversation became quite heated.

Khun Pradab said: ''You have to ask the orbortor because I have to pay tax to the orbortor.''

A family member: ''Where is the tax bill? Please show us how much you pay. You can't show us, because it's under the table.''

Another of the family said: ''Who will guarantee our protection on the beach? Tourists and Thais are attacked almost every day, but no-one can help.''

Director Narunat said the 101 rai of the old golf course behind Surin beach remained public space.

''All buildings alongside here are outside the law,'' he said. ''The law says it is my role and the role of the Cherng Talay orbortor to manage the beach. We cannot make the law work 100 percent, and it's public land, so everybody is entitled to sell on the beach.''

At the end of the meeting, Khun Pradab invited the director and his entourage to stay for dinner.

Officials who joined the meeting and stayed for dinner also looked at smelly, garbage-strewn parts of the area immediately behind Surin beach.

A recently-published report by Thailand's Pollution Control Department surveyed 14 Phuket beaches and found that local authorities were not adequately protecting against encroachment or environmental hazards.
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Comments

Comments have been disabled for this article.

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I will just never eat in this restaurant, disgusting.

Posted by Jean-Paul Patrick on January 13, 2011 13:15

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So the police can't control the mfs. Well wait until they all get replaced by the police from Bangkok, they will clean up Phuket. This is election year and votes count. The west coast is trash and trash needs to be taken away.

Posted by Robin on January 13, 2011 13:16

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And if you're not a bangkok judge who can put in a phone call to bangkok power who sends car loads of police..

What do we do ??

Posted by LivinLOS on January 13, 2011 13:20

Editor Comment:

A Phuket judge, with a father who is also a judge.

Call your honorary consul.

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Excellent piece

Posted by Anonymous on January 13, 2011 13:24

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'My boss is Mayor Manot'.

Set up the high-jump on the beach please.

Posted by Pete on January 13, 2011 13:43

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Phuket Beach Thugs rule!
I got a Leo Beer bottle thrown at me by beach bar owner in May last year for complaining about the noise. I called Pu Yai, his phone was turned off. I took photos, picked up the broken bottle, put it in a ziplock bag and with it went to the police station to file a report; they said they 'can't do anything'. Do we have to wait until something deadly happens before someone in BKK takes notice?

Posted by h2odragonfly on January 13, 2011 14:29

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This is really getting out of hand.

Personally, vendors carrying their ware and selling as they stroll along the beach is fine since they do not put up permanent structures, and do provide a kind of service to the public.

But vendors who set up stalls illegally should not be allowed. They build such eyesores on the beach and create such mess, it's equivalent to squatting.

And taxi drivers get such nerve because they pay "protection fee" to the somebody somewhere, and guess what, the Mayor of Cherngtalay now has to answer what side business he has with the taxi drivers and what additional income he has been receiving.

I do hope they come down hard on him, as an example to the rest of these self-important people on the island who impose their own rules and regulations as they like.

Despite the seriousness of the situation, the thought of the taxi thug mistakenly harassing a judge just puts a smile on my face.

Posted by May on January 13, 2011 14:33

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Editor Comment:

A Phuket judge, with a father who is also a judge.

Call your honorary consul.


Are you joking??????????

Posted by claudio on January 13, 2011 14:36

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My ex country deems Phuket so insignificant, it does not have an honorary consul here. SO who do I call then?

Posted by Robin on January 13, 2011 15:03

Editor Comment:

The commander of an aircraft carrier might be of some use.

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No that won't help, south africa does not have an aircraft carrier.
Maybe time to unleash the boys from Nakon Sri Tammarat, They like cleaning out the garbage and they do it well.
Oh dear such a pity that this type of news gets read around the world and not only by a select few here on pukey island.
There's another nail in the tourism coffin.
So sad.

Posted by Robin on January 13, 2011 15:24

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Rawai beach is becoming the same way now, local thugs, taxi drivers are taking over parking spaces and telling everyone else it is their space. Please do not use them.

Posted by lord Jim on January 13, 2011 17:00

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"Maybe time to unleash the boys from Nakon Sri Tammarat, They like cleaning out the garbage and they do it well."

I was told the family that this current scene revolves around come from NST anyway.

Posted by LivinLOS on January 13, 2011 18:24

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I had to smile reading this. It is like poetic justice. Can you please follow this case, and find out what happened to this taxi driver who thought he was high and mighty and of course his "boss," who seems to be the Mayor?

Posted by Tbs on January 13, 2011 19:18

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I guarantee you there is about a 2 year lifespan to any such problems continuing to happen on Surin Beach. This beach is set to become the golden mile and if done correctly the locals who reside there and do business legally will reap the rewards. Those who continue to behave like common criminals will soon suffer the same wrath that the local gangs did in Lan Kwai Fong in Hong Kong years ago when the cashed up western business owners were having trouble with the triads. Guess who won? lets put it this way, it wasn't the triads and that's why Lan Kwai Fong is the most popular tourist destination in Hong Kong. It is only a matter of time before these small minded individuals end up in jail and the ones that are left will soon go running with their tails between their legs! There is too much money at stake by these major corporations in the area for them to put up with this trash, they will get what is coming to them soon enough and won't even know it is coming. Surin Beach 2015 will be a world away from what you see now..... Good luck gangsters, you are going to need it!

Posted by Passionate About Phuket on January 13, 2011 21:17

Editor Comment:

And what about the rest of the island, Passionate About Phuket? Will only Surin get the triad treatment?

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Great story by the way.... Good on the local judge. You just never do know who you are talking to, do you. It seems these guys think they own the place. Boy, are they going to get a shock very soon!

Posted by Passionate About Phuket on January 13, 2011 21:19

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Nothing's going change, 15 to 20 years ago Phuket was a great place to live with a village like atmosphere but all the dross from around Thailand have taken up residence now. I used to tell my friends and colleagues it was a great place to holiday or live but over the past few years it's turned into cheap nasty hole not worth the money or the hassle.The Russians and time share crooks have turned up in their hordes like they did in Pattaya to dumb down a once beautiful tourist spot. It's Penang for me and mine. I await the editor's tirade.

Posted by Steve on January 14, 2011 02:02

Editor Comment:

Bon voyage, Steve

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@ Passionate About Phuket, What makes you think things will be different in Surin? There's a lot of money invested all over Phuket by major corporations who don't do anything to stop these 'gangsters'. I hope your right and they follow suite around all of the beaches.....somehow I can't see it, though!

Posted by Chalongian on January 14, 2011 10:02

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Dear Editor,

I can only speak of Surin as this is where i live do business. I Know many other business owners in the area and they are all very tired of these problems happening here. Within five years I predict Surin to develop into a very nice village atmosphere where tourists and locals alike will mix well together and the locals will hopefully do very well from the premium tourist dollar that will frequent this area of Phuket. If the environment and social problems can be addressed quickly and a plan put in place to manage them this area of Phuket will lead the way in the clean up. Luckily we do not have the Beer Bars and sleaze streets that other parts of the Island are full of which is a big step ahead when it comes to trying to eradicate any type of criminal elements. And to correct your comment on my last post, I did not say that the gangs or criminals are like the triads, they are certainly not any where near as sophisticated or experienced in any type of organized crime as those gangs are. They will surely move to easier pickings when Surin is cleaned up, unfortunately for the other parts of the Island they will most likely move somewhere else until these areas also get sick and tired of what is happening. Surin is a very small community and there is not many places for these criminals to hide in this area without being noticed. I wish the other business owners on the Island luck in cleaning up their areas, unfortunately the crime there is far more intrenched and many people have their hands out. The one that have their hands out in Surin are already making mistakes and getting their knuckles wrapped as their "employees" can't keep their mouths shut!

Posted by Passionate About Phuket on January 14, 2011 10:19

Editor Comment:

You mentioned the triads. I merely added: ''Will only Surin get the triad treatment?'' Business owners all over the island have resigned themselves to living with despoiled beaches. Are you Passionate about Phuket, or just Self-interested of Surin?

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@ Passionate About Phuket , well unless you have some inside information you don't know, I doubt anything will changes, except to whom the m**** reports to.

From what I know, most major corporations, whether by foreign investors or by Thai investors, are all under a Thai ownership. Most likely these owners knows someone up there currently in power. Similarly, these m**** here know someone up there in power as well. Who gets to rule Surin will all depend on who gets voted into power and if you supported the right person in the beginning.

The thuggish behavior, I'm afraid, will continue as long as these people believe they are protected by someone up there.

Posted by May on January 14, 2011 10:34

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Editor I was asked three times to be honorary consul in Phuket and I can tell you even I after living here 30 years I can't get the police to respond to threats of violence.

One month ago I called the local Thai police over a local hothead incident and then the tourist police. Both were useless. What are we locals to do ? Things have been this way since I came here 30 years ago. I was at a funeral for English Barry owner of European bar a few years ago and the local head of the police also came to the funeral as Barry was well liked. At the traditional Thai party after a funeral after the burning off of the body one of the party brushed a group of Kata hoodlums having a pushing argument in the street with his car while leaving the party.

The hoodlums then attacked the funeral party breaking the place and stabbing one of the local Thais who tried to stop the violent rampage. I witnessed everything and when the local Kata police finally came it took forever for them to get there.

I explained what had happened and pointed out the guy who had knifed the local Thai restaurant owner and also mentioned the head of the police at Chalong was a business partner of mine. Do you know what they did to help? NOTHING !

So what do we do, buy guns ? If you get in a jam you are on your own. So be careful, people: we have no rights here, and who is going to help you if you're in a jam ?

Posted by Capt Canada on January 14, 2011 11:16

Editor Comment:

Honorary consuls have more clout now, and it's a pity there aren't more of them on Phuket. Changes will only be won by those who persevere. Increasingly, the situation on Phuket is coming to the notice of those with real power. Even some of the local people who once benefitted from the strongarm aspects of the old way now realise that greater international transparency means Phuket has to clean up its act, or face the wrong kind of future. Buying a gun is never a solution.

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Dear Editor....

Yes very passionate about Phuket and certainly "Interested" in Surin as it is on my doorstep, not only "Self" as you put it. With any clean up you have to start somewhere and if I can have any influence at all in uncovering scams, crime or similar in my area then I certainly hope it will make is a safer, happier and more prosperous place for locals and expats alike. I am not saying that I want the gentry to take over but hope that there will be more legitimate jobs for locals and rewards for local business owners. With a focus put on safety and environmental concerns perhaps Surin can become a showcase for other beaches. Phuket in general has a long way to go, luckily Surin has not gone as far down as some others therefore should not take as long to recover......

Posted by Passionate About Phuket on January 14, 2011 13:53

Editor Comment:

Sounds good . . . best of luck with your reforms. It would be great if a few more expats and locals found the courage to speak out and do something.

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Not much change at Patong either - the so called 30/70 split definitely appears to be the other way around. Quelle surprise as well - as soon as someone pulled into one of the three vacant slots along the beach (yes I did count them for research purposes) a little man with a book of tickets popped out.

Posted by Mister Ree on January 14, 2011 15:09

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same at Nai Harn. Went to park where I have been for the last ten years to unload my Kayak only to be told this is Taxi area only, but to be fair Nai Harn does have ample parking for now

Posted by Michael on January 14, 2011 21:33

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Hi my name is Alex Schenk. I just got back from Phuket. A month ago I got savagely beaten up by Patong tuk tuk drivers after having attempted to negotiate a fair fare. Spent 36 hrs in Pukhet Hospital after a near death experience.

Posted by Alexandre E. Schenk on January 27, 2011 12:39


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