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Chalermlak Kebsub, 50, who will be running for Patong Mayor

Corruption, Mafia Targets in Patong Poll

Wednesday, March 19, 2014
PHUKET: On the eve of nominating for the role of Patong's mayor, a notable businesswoman has made it plain that she'll be campaigning to end corruption and wipe out the ''Mafia.''

Her candidacy is likely to produce a clash of the heavyweights with powerful Pian Keesin for Patong and all that's associated with the west coast tourist hub of Phuket.

Khun Pian is on record as saying: ''The sky belongs to the birds, but the mayorship of Patong belongs to Pian.''

Widely experienced, Chalermlak Kebsub, 50, has been out of politics for years but she believes the time is right for change.

''I believe everybody wants change,'' she told Phuketwan, where change is already a priority.

''I have a list of five issues that will form the key to my campaign,'' said Khun Chalermlak, who plans to nominate for the mayor's job at 8.30am tomorrow.

Khun Chalermlak says her five key issues are, with Phuketwan providing the explanations :

.. Public areas being used for private interests - the hills are alive with the sounds of construction.

.. Environmental destruction - Patong water is considered too risky for a triathlon.

.. Floods - Patong remains subject to floods because of construction over canals and on hillsides.

.. Traffic congestion - Parking and no parking zones have been taken over by tuk-tuks and taxis.

.. Mafia - in the Thai definition, groups of officials who feed off corrupt payments to break the law.

''Jump in,'' is Khun Chalermlak's message. ''If you want change, vote for me. I don't believe anyone wants these problems to continue.

''Patong deserves a brighter future.''

Khun Chalermlak was the leader of Patong Council and a national MP before Patong's mayoral system came into being.

Her main opponent is expected to be Pian Keesin, who has said he will run again for the job, but possibly at the age of 70 for the last time.

Although he has previously been challenged, few alternative candidates have been as well-credentialled as Khun Chalermlak.

Khun Pian, a force in local politics since 1994, won the poll in early September 2012 with 4352 votes but the election was later declared invalid.

Rival candidate Kittisan Kuru and his Patong Kawna (Patong Development) group attracted 3154 votes.

The new election is scheduled for April 26.

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Obviously, she hasn't met ED yet. According to him, there is no such thing as mafia here.

Posted by Charles on March 19, 2014 13:03

Editor Comment:

Oh no, Charles. Not again, please. Note the words from the article, please: ''Mafia - in the Thai definition, groups of officials who feed off corrupt payments to break the law.''
Please try to read the articles BEFORE you comment.

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good luck to you...it would be a nice change

Posted by sky on March 19, 2014 13:09

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All Thais should get behind this lady - they want change - here it is.

Posted by Ciaran on March 19, 2014 13:14

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At last, come this be the single ray of hope?

Posted by PAul on March 19, 2014 13:35

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Sounds great. Not that we didn't hear similar statements from other candidates or police chiefs before but a spark of hope remains. Now about the Thai definition of "Mafia" I am curious who exactly she might want to target as the definition is very fuzzy. My Thai-colleagues are however don't share my optimism for this lady. In their opinion anybody going for politics in Phuket does it for one reason only.

Posted by Jakub on March 19, 2014 14:46

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Fantastic,- We really need a change. I really hope she will win. Good Luck Khun Chalermlak

Posted by Mj on March 19, 2014 17:47

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Not wanting to get too deep into definitions, but what I will say is one persons definition does not make it "the" Thai definition, if someone can prove me wrong then please do. What we have seen from many other Thais is the word used to describe the tuk tuk/taxi drivers and the jet ski operators, which begs the question, just which definition is right, personally I go for the Merriam-Webster def. " a group of people likened to the Mafia; especially : a group of people of similar interests or backgrounds prominent in a particular field or enterprise" which seems to fit perfectly with what we have in Phuket.

Posted by Laurie Howells on March 19, 2014 19:47

Editor Comment:

We've been through this all before, Laurie. The word ''mafia'' can be applied to a knitting circle or a Wednesday afternoon tennis group. Or it can mean The Mafia. It's not appropriate because it's not accurate. Phuket's problem is with ''groups of officials who feed off corrupt payments to break the law.'' The tuk-tuk drivers are just uppity street gangs. I don't have time to waste and you won't be posted on this topic again. The only reason we continue to use the word is because it continues to be misused, so for the sake of accuracy, we have no choice.

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Just because a term has its root in a foreign language, doesn't make it wrong
I agree mafia is an apt term for the taxi and Tuk Tuk groups, and any group that operates for profits, outside the law is a mafia.

Posted by The Night Mare on March 19, 2014 20:10

Editor Comment:

No, it's a cartel or a gang. The Mafia is ''a hierarchically structured secret organization allegedly engaged in smuggling, racketeering, trafficking in narcotics, and other criminal activities in the U.S., Italy, and elsewhere.'' Or a knitting circle, or a tennis group. It's a term used inaccurately too often. Not worth wasting time on this.

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ED is right about the wrong use of the word maffia.. maffia is a well structured business organization not a bunch of thugs.... even tho the Thugs also do similar things but yet is a wrong used word for them.. if they where a Maffia phuket would work smooth as silk... so please stop waste ED.s time..

Posted by frog on March 19, 2014 21:48


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