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Two of the illegal guides among 14 nabbed on Phuket in 24 hours.

Phuket Crackdown Nets 14 Illegal Guides - But All of Them Are Phuket Thais, Not Chinese

Friday, May 3, 2013
PHUKET: Fourteen Thai guides for Chinese tour groups have been arrested in the past 24 hours, seven yesterday and seven more today.

The 14 guides have all failed to to produce documentation enabling them to act as guides. Two of them were also busted for possession of drugs.

There is some irony to the inquiries by Tourist Police, which are continuing.

This week, Phuket guides and would-be guides protested at Phuket Provincial Hall in Phuket City about unqualified Chinese tour guides being allowed to operate.

The protest also made the point that, despite the growing number of Chinese tourists, only 80 Thais can qualify to be guides on Phuket each year.

Hundreds of other Thais based on Phuket who speak Chinese would quickly qualify if educational standards were lower and more guide cards could be gained each year, protest leaders said.

Tourist Police Captain Uramporn Kundetsamrit told Phuketwan today that it was pure coincidence that only illegal Thai guides had been busted over the past two days.

''We don't discriminate, nor have we been asked to target guides from a particular country,'' he said. ''It just so happens that the people we asked to produce their credentials were all Thais.''

Arrests were made at Rassada pier, at the Phuket City fruit market, and at Rang Hill in Phuket City.

Guides Aka Saejung, 24, and Laeng Mungmee, 26, were also alleged to have small quantities of ya bah.

Protest organisers were disappointed that Thais appeared to have been the only ones arrested. Tourist police took the 14 to Phuket City Police Station where they were charged and later bailed.

Following this week's protest and a petition from about 200 disgruntled guides and would-be guides, Phuket Governor Maitree Intusut has organised a meeting to discuss the matter. It's scheduled for Thursday.


Comments have been disabled for this article.


There kidding lower the educational standards, we have seen the results of uneducated bus drivers taxi drivers masters of vessels,and rapid river excursions disasterous in some cases fatal,im sure these guides would gladly take you to such people for a shifty commission they get the money you play the odds.

Posted by slickmelb on May 3, 2013 21:45


The protesters should be happy. 14 illegal guides caught and 2 of them even in possession of narcotics.

Unless of course their protest was not really about illegal guides after all but something quite different.

I don't know about you but I sure would not want my guide to be a drug user.

Posted by Stephen on May 3, 2013 21:48


Do read the following article and comments, phuket tourist drowns on day trip to Racha Island, (a guided tour for chinese) what more needs to be said
Lower the education standard they have to be joking the body count just went up by one on a guided tour!

Posted by slickmelb on May 3, 2013 22:01


What goes around comes around - be careful what you ask for!

Posted by Mister Ree on May 3, 2013 23:21


The arrest is not connected to a nationality of the guide but in fact about the job which is autorized to Thai people only with diploma in tourism as guides for international tourists.
Thai police would arrest any any doctor, lawyer or accounting auditor working without official diploma as well closing any businesses which do not have qualified people to do it.
We may applaud the arrest as they did it according to Thai law and it is looking that something is changing in Thailand.

Posted by Whistle-Blower on May 3, 2013 23:43


lower the standards no way if they can speak another language they must be reasonably intelligent
and not sure where the 80 figure comes from anyone who passes the exam can be an official TAT guide and does not matter what provice you pass in you can be a guide for the whole of Thailand

Posted by Michael on May 4, 2013 03:51


@Michael, speaking two languages doesn't make one intelligent. A Thai guide who can speak chinese (probably due to a chinese background) would qualify as intelligent if he /she had first aid skills, the will to take care of their customers. I have been on countless day trips to islands/safaris etc, i never encountered an intelligent guide. All their motivation is to get you in and out of the boat (no safety required) and pay a tip. They don't smile all day, play with their iPhones while customers snorkel at their own risks. But when the tips come, now they're smiling, and of course they tell you exactly how much is considered to be a tip, only 100 up are accepted. 100x40guests. . .Mmm nice daily work for some. Intelligents? No. Part of the Phuket system, yes.

Posted by danny on May 4, 2013 09:31


The statement about only "80 guides" is misleading. That's the maximum number of CHINESE speaking guides that Phuket can produce, due to limited educational facilities on the island. There is no general limit, regardless of which language we are talking about.

Posted by christian on May 4, 2013 10:05

Editor Comment:

As both recent reports have pointed out, 80 additional Thai guides a year can qualify as Chinese-speaking interpreters. The articles are all about Thai-nationality Chinese tour guides, not guides with other skills and markets among Phuket's millions of tourists.


"Protest organisers were disappointed that Thais appeared to have been the only ones arrested."

Yes I can see their deflated faces, they obviously wanted to target someone else, or their news were wrong about illegal chinese guides. I'm glad there is a crackdown though, time to make the travel agents wake up and be alert in putting good quality guides on the job.

Being a guide is a responsibility, especially to a group of guests who do not speak the language and are literally sheeps to the shepherd.

Posted by May on May 4, 2013 11:34


In most Countries normally is the work provider that get troubles in case of employment of illegal workers.

We always read about the charges against the illegal workers but nothing or little we know about the consequences for the employers, if any ...

Posted by Saparot on May 4, 2013 15:07


But maybe they looked Chinese ;-) Xenophobia is never far away in LoS ,,,, Russians, Chinese who is next ?

Posted by Sailor on May 4, 2013 15:30

Editor Comment:

As the article makes plain, the officials were arresting all illegals, regardless of background. Precisely the opposite of xenophobia . . . .


Yes, but they are targeting Russians and in this case they were looking for Chinese illegal guides but came up short, with some Thais instead . There are not many places in the world where specific nationalities are targeted publicly, here government agencies are very vocal about going after Russian business, Chinese guides ... sorry Ed this is Xenophobic . And who is next ?

Posted by Sailor on May 4, 2013 16:05

Editor Comment:

Sorry, Sailor, ''And who is next?'' is paranoia. The Tourist Police our reporters spoke to were very clear that they were targetting all illegal guides, not those of one particular nationality. It's true the Russians have been nominated, but better to be specific rather than use code or pretend nothing is wrong. What it all comes back to is lack of enforcement. and the need to uphold the law effectively, all the time. One law for all is as it should be - non-xenophobic.


The thais simply approach the issue of foreign investment, workers and guests in the wrong way. The thais could make so much more out of the true foreign interest into their country and people. Dont misunderstand, Thailand does not owe anything to foreigners, however, it is in the best interest of thailand to learn and see the potential business opportunities and benefits which foreign investment and visitors has. As long as thais see in foreigners only atm machines rather than a valuable good you must take care well of, huge parts of the potential in terms of learning and business opportunities are wasted. Properly educate and train your people then there is no need to fear foreign work force. Be confident and try to be different or simply better than your foreign competitors. Do not see in questionable crackdowns an approproriate means to protect your monopolies. Self reflection and analysis of your own strenghts and weknesses is required.

Posted by joss on May 4, 2013 16:24

Editor Comment:

Thailand views foreign investment as a positive but no country needs people bending laws for their own ends. Foreigners are not viewed as a problem, just those with no desire to obey the laws.


Ed, will be interesting if one day, an English speaking Thai journalist wants your job, he/she could make things very uncomfortable for you. I wonder how you would approach the situation, being put in the same situation as some LEGAL foreign owned businesses are now.

Posted by Phuket_IOC on May 4, 2013 17:20

Editor Comment:

If I thought like you do, Phuket_IOC, I'd be both paranoid AND xenophobic.


ED, I am happy you do not feel paranoid or xenophobic, but even IF you were, you would be telling everyone. So, if NOT paranoid, why do we not see more in depth reporting, asking the HARD questions, putting pressure on those who need to be pressured. Unveiling the TRUTH behind the scams and corruption, at a levels. Oh, I guess the FEAR of REPERCUSSIONS isn't the same as paranoid. Remember, it is your comments that lead to these replies, if you don't like them, then don't comment. Guess this email account will be banned soon.

Posted by Phuket_IOC on May 5, 2013 09:05

Editor Comment:

Fear of repercussions may be the prime concern that prevents you from putting your real name to your spurious opinions, Phuket_IOC. However, along with paranoia and xenophobia, fear is not something that has ever troubled us. The point is that unlike you, we are not free to deal with the truth loosely or form judgements in our imagination that have no basis in fact. Just as anonymous comments have reduced value - as well as defining the courage of the author - I should tell you that capital letters hold NO FEAR for us, either.
Rather than take mindless potshots, PIOC, why waste this opportunity? Shrug off your pessimism and find SOMETHING WORTHWHILE to add.


Maybe you should all learn to say and understand what "People who live in glass house shouldn't throw stones" means? Now say it in Chinese.

Posted by Ineptocrascy on May 5, 2013 16:15


Ed, what an idiotic thing to say, about not using our "really" names, in my case I WOULD, but in your usual pathetic childish way, you have already banned me, a few times lol. Do it again, I don't care, I'll only get another "anonymous" email account. I was going to say something nasty, but decided to bite my tongue.

Posted by Phuket_IOC on May 5, 2013 17:39

Editor Comment:

I hope you like the taste, Phuket_IOC. Keep biting your tongue, please. ''Pathetic'' and ''childish'' apply to most of your comments. Courage? You clearly haven't got any.


What a cowardly thing to say, questioning a persons "Courage" from behind your desk, with I might add, no evidence to substantiate your claim. It is damn lucky I can not, because of you, use my name, otherwise I would be taking legal action base on your slanderous comment. In fact, there is a good chance I will seek legal advise. Remember, it is YOU that banned my name, not me.

Posted by Phuket_IOC on May 5, 2013 20:28

Editor Comment:

Threatening legal action? An anonymous commenter? Very courageous, a world first.

I have no idea who you really are. Please tell us all.

Thursday May 23, 2024
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