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Phuket Crackdown on Taxis Needs Victims to Come Forward, Says Deputy Commander

Friday, January 10, 2014
PHUKET: Victims of taxi drivers and ''mafia'' on Phuket needed to report incidents to police in person or little could be done to fix Phuket's problems, the Island's Deputy Police Commander, Colonel Sakchai Limjalern, said yesterday.

Police were dealing with problems issue by issue, he told the Senate Standing Committee on Transport at Phuket Provincial Hall in Phuket City.

The Department of Special Investigation had established Crime Crisis Centres on Phuket but there had been difficulties in resolving some of Phuket's problems, the colonel said. ''The DSI came up with a list of mafia targets but in some cases, the list was wrong,'' he said.

''People on Phuket need to understand what's happening and why,'' he added. ''We did not have a conflict with the people from Bangkok but some parts of the operation have not been clear.''

There was also a need for victims to be prepared to go to police and make reports when there were problems with taxi drivers, he said. ''Once people have gone back to their own countries, it's too late,'' he said.

Phuket police were continuing to check every taxi rank on the island and conducted searches for weapons, he said. Region 8 policy was to crackdown on ''black'' illegal taxis and people who behaved badly, he said.


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The day, taxi and tuk-tuk drivers will accept fair competition with other modes of mass-transport such as public buses and metered taxis, tourists and Phuket residents will respect them straight away.
By the way, today, they look like gangs preying on powerless Phuket residents and tourists ready to use force to protect their illegal businesses.
All Phuketians, Thais and foreigners alike, want a modern air-conditioned bus transport system and all taxis and tuk-tuks equipped with meters which records the route and indicates the rate charged and the amount payable.

Posted by Whistle-Blower on January 10, 2014 18:39


Phuket you really do have a seriously inflated opinion about how grand you are. I have to tell you, you look like a tramp soup kitchen offering slop. Yes even your so called 5 star hotels. Quality tourists aint coming to your toilet bowl "paradise". In Chiang Mai the contrast is chalk and cheese. Loose the attitude Phuket or become known as worse than Pattays sewers. Dream on "M"people, your high life is over.

Posted by Robin on January 10, 2014 19:38


There is a perfectly good island wide bus system in Phuket. Locals and tourists use it every day. It's the uninformed that are ripe for being ripped off. Look at all the people paying hundreds of dollars for a $10 mobile phone.

Posted by gee on January 10, 2014 20:17


It would be interesting to see their reaction if a load of tourists began going to the police station complaining about over-pricing, unprofessional behaviour including rude comments being shouted to hotel guests and the gang-like mentality of these groups that camp outside of hotels on public land I assume waiting to take advantage of unsuspecting tourists. These are the issues that are driving away the sought after 'quality tourist' while the intimidation and violent behavior is usually directed at other taxi drivers who would not go to police for fear of retaliation. Don't expect tourist to bring their problems to you, they will just choose another destination next time because of how they have been treated here.

Posted by Jon on January 10, 2014 20:27


Dear DSI, you are pointing the finger at tourists, shame on you. You yourselves have, only a few days ago, managed two "sting" operations, I suggest you do more of them, but I also suggest you actually charge the offenders. You, as well as many expats, know that tourists are discouraged, by the police, to report any wrong/illegal activities. Stop being impotent and stop using excuses as to why you can not DO YOUR DUTY, as your country expects you to.

Posted by Laurie Howells on January 10, 2014 21:21


You have got to be kidding me! The Taxi groups pay (I've heard,!) the police for protection. I would like to be safe here, if I report then I've got problems!

Posted by Hotgem on January 10, 2014 21:48

Editor Comment:

We've heard that shadows are dangerous too, Hotgem. Please be careful where you step at night. And whatever happens, make sure continue to believe all laughable rumors. Otherwise you might become bold and perhaps even courageous.



So, I want to go from Rawai to Kata, about a twenty minute journey in a car.

Please tell people the route you would have to take on the public bus and the approximate time it would take.

Posted by sir burr on January 10, 2014 23:28


Good for you Whistleblower, I'm sure we all agree!

Posted by Elizabeth on January 11, 2014 06:53


There is a perfectly good island wide bus system in Phuket

Living here for 12 years - that's news to me!

AFAIK, there are 4 public bus services:

1 - Airport to Phuket Town (orange buses, stopping in Thalang and on the bypass). A good service, but infrequent.

2 - Airport to Patong. Very infrequent, new service that only stops at one destination in Patong. A 'token' public service to appease the taxi/tuk-tuk 'mafia'

3 - Pink buses. Operating from Phuket town to Patong (and probably other locations). Used by locals and tourists, BUT hardly promoted to tourists at all (I think all signage is in Thai language only).

4 - Blue buses. These are the old wooden buses where the school kids sit on the top. Signage is only in Thai, schedules unknown.....

So... there are public buses, but the services and routes are totally inadequate for the numbers of tourists (and locals).

As many other posters have said countless times, the whole public (buses) and private (taxis, tuk-tuks) transport system in Phuket needs a total overhaul and investment.

As we all also know - this is unlikely to happen.


Posted by Simon Luttrell on January 11, 2014 08:30


Sir Burr you would have to take a public bus to Chalong Cirle then change. Kamala to Patong consists of a bus from Kamala to Phuket Town via Cherng Talay and Heroines then a bus to Patong- total cost B65 but its going to take you at least 90 minutes; more likely 2 hours for a 10km trip.

Lets remember that the local Thais suffer the same- they are the ones that need to voice an opinion other than just accept the situation. Until they are heard and their complaints actioned the status quo will remain. Proportionally they get ripped off far worse but just seem to accept their fate.

Posted by Mister Ree on January 11, 2014 08:46


The Police again pass the buck - people have to report problems or they can do nothing. Err... wrong. The police could enforce traffic laws as a start as most taxis I have used break laws continuously. That would be a start... plenty more that could be done. Clearly the statements from Police in this article there is no desire to ever fix the taxi issue. And the merry-go-round continues.

Posted by Duncan on January 11, 2014 10:23


Simon- the Pink Buses only operate within Phuket Town- not to Patong. IIRC there are two main routes.

Posted by Mister Ree on January 11, 2014 12:46


So what is the complaint number on the side of taxis for, then?

Posted by Sam Wilko on January 11, 2014 14:59


FAO: Mr Luttrell
"Living here for 12 years - that's news to me!" ... really .....
For someone that has been living here for that period of time you have made both misleading and incorrect statements:
1 - Both Airport Bus Services will pick up and drop off anywhere on route ... I have used both services and would say that they reliable in the morning and reasonably reliable in the afternoon/evening ... They both appear to now operate a sensible timetable [they are after all a business not a charity]
2 - Some of the Blue Buses have signage in English and will again stop anywhere on route

Posted by Amazed in Thailand on January 11, 2014 17:51


Both Airport Bus Services will pick up and drop off anywhere on route .

Note that I did precis my comments with AFAIK.

Are you sure that the Airport - Patong service drops off and picks up from anywhere on route? That seems to conflict with the various news reports which indicated only a single pick-up and drop-off location in Patong.

I have no personal experience of using these various bus services. Like many expats, I rely on my own private transport because the public transport is inadequate to meet my needs.

Posted by Simon Luttrell on January 11, 2014 19:41


FAO: Mr Luttrell [2]
My item 1 read again should clarify matters
As for my own transport ... yes I did use it many years ago when I could find somewhere to park
I also travel abroad many times during the course of the year and never for less than a week at a time so as an expat leaving my own push bike at the airport for a long period of time would not be sensible
I came back from a 3 week trip yesterday and can confirm that I was dropped off within 5 metres of where I asked the driver to stop using the Airport-Patong hop-on hop-off service
As for "I have no personal experience..." ... no comment [it won't get printed]!

Posted by Amazed in Thailand on January 11, 2014 21:19

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