PHUKET: A tourist court on Phuket is likely impose double penalties for crimes committed against tourists, a meeting heard yesterday.
Vice Governor Jamleran Tipayapongtada, who attended a key planning meeting in Bangkok on Friday, told Phuket council leaders that the court was likely to be ''a very special 100 percent promotion.''
''If you beat a tourist it would normally cost you 500 baht,'' he said. ''But if you beat a tourist and go to the tourist court, the price will be double,'' he said.
The vice governor and Phuket Governor Maitree Intrusud attended Friday's strategy meeting with Department of Special Investigation leaders and Ministry of Tourism and Sport officials.
From this coming Friday, the first Crime Crisis Centre will open on Phuket at the airport with a second coming soon, probably in Phuket City. Both will be open 24 hours.
Police from Bangkok will be on Phuket to carry out several campaigns, including one against illegal ''black'' taxis.
No time limit has been set and the action that begins on Friday is a campaign, not a short, sharp crackdown.
Vice Governor Jamleran told the meeting at Phuket Provincial Hall in Phuket City yesterday that the ''100 percent extra'' penalty for a crime against a tourist has yet to be confirmed but it was greeted enthusiastically by people at the meeting.
Tourist courts are likely to speed the process of justice for visitors who need to return home on schedule.
It's also hoped that local police and Tourist Police, who sometimes try to dissuade tourists from filing complaints, will be made more aware of the need for justice to be fully applied.
Earlier this year, a Chinese tourist who said she was kidnapped by a taxi driver at Phuket International Airport got little help from Tourist Police in Phuket City.
Two local Phuket women helped the tourist to pursue the case.
Phuket is likely to be the place where the tourist court is first introduced, then the ''Phuket model'' will be transported to Pattaya, Chiang Mai other destinations in Thailand.
It wasn't made clear at yesterday's meeting whether tourists convicted of crimes would also face double penalties, and whether expat residents would be categorised as tourists or treated the same as Thai citizens.
Phuketwan was the only Phuket news outlet with a reporter at yesterday's meeting.