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Chart Jindapon says the ''Big Collector'' takes 60 million baht a month

Phuket Corruption: Accused Patong Man Says 'Big Collector' Takes 60 Million Baht a Month

Thursday, August 22, 2013
PHUKET: A Patong businessman accused of being the bag man for 17 government organisations and branches involved in corruption said today that he was being set up by the real '' Big Collector.''

''The guy in uniform who takes the money for 17 organisations rakes in 60 million baht a month and keeps three million baht for himself,'' local figure Chart Jindapon told the media at a press conference he called at the Patong Council offices today.

Khun Chart went public in dramatic fashion following circulation of an anonymous letter naming him at the head of a Patong extortion gang.

It's well known that 14 government groups and agencies - now apparently expanded to 17 - cream off a take from the bribes and graft in Patong.

These payments, Khun Chart said today, are usually made by bars and restaurants that want to stay open after hours, by people selling copy goods, and by illegal workers in retail outlets from Burma, Nepal and Vietnam.

The extra costs involved in corrupt payments are ultimately paid for by Phuket tourists.

Khun Chart said today that he was not the person who collected the money on behalf of the government agencies, and he believed the person may have ordered the letter written in an attempt to avoid detection.

The letter accused Khun Chart of being head of ''an extortion gang.'' It was signed ''Sincerely, Association of trustworthy entrepreneurs, Patong Beach.'' But there were no names at the bottom.

Khun Chart said the ''Big Collector'' took in 60 million baht a month for the 17 agencies and kept three million of it for himself.

''Now the guy is being investigated by his own boss,'' Khun Chart said. His explosive comments come amid an anti-corruption campaign by the Department of Special Investigation, Phuket police, the Phuket administration and the Ministry of Tourism and Sport.

Khun Chart's media conference today ups the ante for investigators who initially began by aiming to fix Phuket's public transport. Action to tame taxi and tuk-tuk drivers is expected before the end of the month.

The letter that sparked today's media revelation reads as follows:

Request to check the behaviors of government officers

To: The chairman of Phuket Media Association

Now we, trustworthy entrepreneurs, who work honestly at Patong beach, are having a difficulty from a man named Chart Jindapon who is intimidating and persecuting us for money. He claims that he's an advisor of Thailand Trade Representative. We did not know that there is such a position. He asks for benefits and he said he can solve things because he knows important person(s) in the government and he will apply for a candidate as a member of House of Representatives from Phuket. And he also claims that government officers, police officers and journalists are in his hand (under his power). If anyone doesn't co-operate, they'll be in trouble.

Therefore, we would like the journalists to check because he behaves as an extorting gang. We, trustworthy entrepreneurs, are really having difficulty. His behavior is intimidating, boasting about the power and saying he'll get the DSI to come and check about the copied goods and expats.

Sincerely,

Association of trustworthy entrepreneurs, Patong Beach

The DSI team arrived on Phuket on August 9 and released a ''Phuket target 11'' list of individuals and taxi-related organisations they said they would investigate.

Three of the men nasmed have begun defamation action.

The Mayor of Patong, Pian Keesin, and his son, Prab, have questioned whether the people who pay the bribes or the people who take them are Phuket's real ''mafia.''

Yesterday the investigation team met at Phuket Provincial Police headquarters and assured journalists that the campaign was not a short, abrupt crackdown.

The impetus had come from the PM's office. The bosses behind the taxi groups and people involved in illegal currency exchanges were specific targets.

Comments

Comments have been disabled for this article.

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Incredible story. Who has the rights to the movie? I have always thought there had to be more to it regarding the reluctance of the Phuket Thai media to report the true situation here. Now I know.

Posted by Mike on August 22, 2013 19:33

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Advantage Doomsayers. Ed - Is it so yet?

Posted by eddy on August 22, 2013 19:33

Editor Comment:

I have no idea what you are on about, eddy. Other readers are probably also scratching their heads. The Doomsayers are - wisely for once - saying nothing.

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Dig deep Ed, you can do it, whereas the other media can't.

Posted by Pete on August 22, 2013 20:01

Editor Comment:

There are signs that the era of timidity is drawing to a close, Pete.

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@EDDY What on earth are you rubbishing on about. Advantage doomsayers - did you even bother what you wrote ? I feel sorry for you ED at times having to respond to such rubbish. Where do these guys come from !!!!

Posted by Ciaran on August 22, 2013 20:28

Editor Comment:

Where these guys come from is not the problem. It's where they're going next, and whether it will be soon enough.

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No doubt that there is corruption, but 60 million collected monthly by one collector, sorry don't believe it. Many people have problems with numbers in Thailand and this is probably one those cases.

Posted by Sailor on August 22, 2013 20:44

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Has he been arrested?

Posted by gee on August 22, 2013 21:28

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Why don't someone ask the people who pay the money (which is everyone in Bangla) who collects it, how they collect it and how much they pay.
Really, not that hard to get answers is it.

Posted by Tbs on August 22, 2013 23:11

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Good luck to him, you only get one chance in life but I don't believe that amount of money

Posted by Robert. on August 22, 2013 23:28

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Money flows uphill in this schemes. So yes, most people with knowledge can point to someone bigger. 60 Mill. Baht for Sin City is really not too much. Should be more. Just think of how many involved, how big the tourist cake is.

Posted by Lena on August 23, 2013 02:09

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I am saying this is a problem that will never go away.

I am saying that Ed's article on "Phuket Doomsayers Crushed as Dreams Come True for a Bright Phuket Future" is beginning to look even more foolish than it already did.

Posted by eddy on August 23, 2013 05:56

Editor Comment:

You are entitled to your opinion, eddy. If you wish to continue your support for the taxi drivers and the corrupt, (''Nothing is going to change, this problem will never go away'') readers can make up their own minds quite easily, I believe, about what's foolish.

The truth is, Phuket's future has never looked brighter. You and those you support may not have got the message yet. But you will.

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This is getting better and better. I really had not expected results like this. I hope the momentum continues.

Posted by fw on August 23, 2013 07:34

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As pleasing as it is to read this, everyman for himself & point the finger first tactic, I do find it hard to believe the numbers being quoted! That aside, things looker slightly rosier

Posted by paul on August 23, 2013 09:17

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Sorry Eddy - but its you are looking more foolish with your nonsensical posts. Each and everyday things are happening on Phuket that have not happened before. People are being named and shamed - arrests will come - it wont all happen over night but it will happen. I would much prefer to have a positive attitude about this than running around with doom and gloom all over my face and projecting this negativity that has kept Phuket in the state it finds itself.

Posted by Ciaran on August 23, 2013 09:53

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I don't think bribes is the correct terminology for these payments. Surely a more apt description would be protection money.

Posted by Sudo Nim on August 23, 2013 09:55

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Nice Panerai...

Posted by christian on August 23, 2013 10:09

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Ed, why do you equate the people that think things are not going to change (the doomsayers) as supporters of the tip-offs and scams? It just isn't so. All of us wish things would change, but, judging on past performance, nothing will. You are being dishonest putting us in a supporters camp.

Posted by sir burr on August 23, 2013 10:31

Editor Comment:

If you share the views of the tuk-tuk and taxi drivers (''nothing is going to change'') then you are their supporters. Everybody else understands that it's a law of nature that everything changes, sooner or later. Self-defeatists have a problem. (''We want change. But nothing is going to change.'') The distinction between ''We want change. But nothing is going to change'' and ''We don't want change. And nothing is going to change'' still leaves you supporting the wrong side.

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@fw - What results are you referring to, exactly?

Posted by eddy on August 23, 2013 10:39

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Nothing is gonna change ? Do not think so. It is just a matter of time and generation change. New culture will defeat old corrupt culture.

Posted by cekipa on August 23, 2013 11:26

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I stay here for 3 years. When just come I liked Phuket a lot. But the longer I was staying the more I felt disappointed. It almost became hatred. In near future I will have only choice to accept or to leave forever. All the time I feel that I should act. But I didn't know how, because I'm not rich, and don't have influential friends here. But now I have at least one feasible idea. I want to set up a coordination center for all expats interested. I call on all of you to start patrolling streets and beaches of Phuket, when we have free time. Pretend to be an inquisitive tourist, take your camera or just look from distance. The more of us on the streets the more chances we have to be witness of some scam, ripping off or accident. Send information you got to coordination mailbox. I will send reports to 3 main (English-speaking) Phuket news media centers. And we will get more trustful and correct coverage of events. We can make schedule of patrolling different areas on the island. I hope I won't be alone in this. Stop complaints! Start action!

Posted by Stranger on August 23, 2013 13:26

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Would like to see some competition forced on these people when ASEAN finally arrives here. Then maybe there could be less corruption...but it still won't go away fully in my opinion.

Posted by Anonymous on August 23, 2013 13:30

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What is the DSI doing exactly? I am a bit confused after reading a story in another online magazine where a high ranking officer of the DSI says they are solely concentrating on illegal taxis? Which in all practicality means they are protecting all legal tuk-tuks and taxis.

Posted by Remarkable on August 23, 2013 13:52

Editor Comment:

There were seven points on the European Union ambassador's list of problems that need to be addressed on Phuket and the DSI campaign will be focusing on some of those points. The seven points are;

.. An efficient and fairly priced public transport system in Phuket which is available to foreign tourists and residents alike.

.. An end to intimidatory and violent behavior by an element of tuk-tuk and taxi drivers.

.. Strict enforcement of marine safety standards, including flags on beaches to indicate when it is safe to swim.

.. Strict enforcement of standards of behavior for public officials, including police and Immigration, to ensure that foreign visitors and residents feel protected, treated in a fair way and never at risk of extortion.

.. An end to scams involving hiring of equipment such as jet skis or motorbikes.

.. Strict enforcement of road safety regulations.

.. Promotion of environmental issues, including monitoring of water quality.

Over the past two weeks, we've seen the DSI investigation begin, heard a promise of 700 more police for Phuket, been told a water safety summit is planned for October, had Immigration at the airport stop ''taxing'' Chinese early morning arrivals, had regular water testing at Phuket's beaches announced, and heard that seashores will be better protected from encroachment. Whether endemic corruption will be tackled remains to be seen.

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So this association call out for help from the media because:

"His behavior is intimidating, boasting about the power and saying he'll get the DSI to come and check about the copied goods and expats."

But if they don't have nothing to hide why be worry of the DSI and why pay this bad guy, for what ?? IMHO seems like they would like someone just less greedy when it comes to close 2 eyes on them business, that's all.

Posted by Kwai Mai Sabai on August 23, 2013 14:24

Editor Comment:

In most cases, it appears to be a regular payment to prevent the law being enforced. In Singapore, a guilty finding would bring a life sentence. In China, you'd be executed. We hope that Thailand will now follow Singapore's example.

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I can well believe the 60 million number, seeing as EVERYBODY pays something to operate in Patong.
As one of the payers myself, but too scared to blow the whistle, i hope the "crackdown" proceeds quickly.
So far i'm just reading a lot of words and not seeing any action.

I counted 7 slow lorises on Bangla last night, with no sign of any police in the vicinity. Dozens of thuggish looking touts all flapping their laminated sheets in front of tourists, hoping to drag them into the pingpong shows, and the usual "heated" discussions between tuk-tuk drivers and potential passengers.

So far NOTHING has changed!

Posted by jimbo on August 23, 2013 17:03

Editor Comment:

Been along to the Crime Crisis Centre, jimbo?

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Ed - I counted 7 slow lorises on Bangla last night, with no sign of any police in the vicinity. Dozens of thuggish looking touts all flapping their laminated sheets in front of tourists, hoping to drag them into the pingpong shows, and the usual "heated" discussions between tuk-tuk drivers and potential passengers.

So far NOTHING has changed!


Ed QED - Q. There you have it. It is not doomsaying, it is observational reality at first hand. In this respect what will change? A: Nothing.

Posted by eddy on August 23, 2013 21:49

Editor Comment:

You must have been one of those kids who was always asking ''Are we there yet?'' ''Are we there yet?''

Another person recently received the response: ''The Chief Commissioner of Thailand has promised an extra 700 officers, more controls on the professionalism of the force, improved equipment and larger police stations, and said the funding is already allocated in next year's budget.''

Don't fret, eddy, when we are there, you will be among the first to be unbuckled.

The fate of lorises is a concern and it will be dealt with eventually - just as an answer was found to the problem with gibbons. But to see it as the test for progress is quite peculiar, eddy.

*Until it's time for you to unbuckle, no more of your carping, unhelpful comments will be published.

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@Ed: inside the crime crisis centre, is one can find it, there are people who are: 1) not able to speak English, or pretending to speak and understand English, but do not care. And 2) are absolutely way too busy talking on, and playing with their mobiles, even when they told you: sukruu,na kaa, and then when you report a problem, not writing anything down, recording anything , or even paying the slightest bit of interest. Been there, done it twice now, got enough of it. The idea is there, but unfortunately, the people are way too slow, dumb, lazy, uninterested, and last but not least, always ready to give the foreigner the impression, that we are not important enough. Where can we complain about the complain office? Or is this the last stop? And if it is, then i feel, there will be more then one generation needed to sort out this mess.

Posted by Charles on August 23, 2013 22:44

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Hope that PW will stick to this allegation with update follow ups. Well done so far. Nevertheless, how hilarious is that, among the DSI commitment, lies a 'strict enforcement of public behavior for policemen' when in BBK 4 of them just got involved in ATM scam, kidnapping and extortion towards 2 Italian tourists.

Posted by paul on August 25, 2013 11:04

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New South Wales once had the best police force money could buy, they even arranged a hit on one of there own.
Queensland had a police force whose commissioner was the chief crook.
They solved it all by going after the bag man for each force and making them talk.
I hope this crackdown works.

Posted by Arthur on August 27, 2013 14:46

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[quote]Editor Comment:

If you share the views of the tuk-tuk and taxi drivers (''nothing is going to change'') then you are their supporters. [/quote]

Total rubbish and you know it.

Posted by Buster on September 10, 2013 17:19

Editor Comment:

Logic and persuasive arguments seem to still be a struggle for you to master, Buster.


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