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DSI Campaign Targets Expats, Taxis
Saturday, September 21, 2013
PHUKET: An Irishman was arrested for overstaying as he ate a meal on Phuket yesterday with more expats also likely to become the target of action in the Department of Special Investigation's anti-corruption campaign.
Alex Good, 27, could not produce his passport yesterday when questioned at a restaurant in Phuket's Cherng Talay district. Two Britons had been nabbed for overstaying the previous day.
Mr Good was taken to Immigration HQ in Phuket City where officers learned that he obtained a visa in Ranong on May 4 and was due out of the country on September 18, three days ago.
Meanwhile,Colonel Somboon Sarasiti, Commander of the DSI's Bureau of Special Crime Section 3, told Phuketwan
that expats and taxi drivers would be central to the cleanup campaign now underway on Phuket.
''I cannot tell you which taxi rank we are going to tackle next,'' he said. The Central Festival Phuket rank was the first target and informed sources say the ranks at Jungceylon mall in Patong will be next.
''We will definitely continue to sort out the illegal taxis but our No. 1 target is expats - overstayers and people without work permits, or connections to illegal businesses.''
It appears as though Phuket residents have complained to the two Crime Crisis Centres about illegal expats, although the doors are open to expats and tourists to complain as well about all of Phuket's problems.
Colonel Somboon said he was not at liberty to talk about the content of any contributions made by members of the public.
But he did say there had been declarations made about Phuket shorefront beach properties, about nominee companies with illegal documentation, and about ''powerful local people.''
When a Phuketwan
reporter asked, ''Do you mean the 'mafia,''' he responded: ''Yes.''
It's understood talks are still taking place about whether the DSI presence on Phuket can be ramped up sufficiently to deal with Phuket's problems faster.
Since August 9, the DSI have been on Phuket, working with the Phuket Land Transport Department, the island's administration, local police and the Ministry of Tourism and Sport.
Overstayer Mr Good was still being questioned by Immigration officers today.
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Who cares about beach encroachment, national park encroachment, intimidation by taxi thugs, jet ski and other scams - lets arrest someone for over staying for 3 days! Not saying that laws should not be inforced, but I would suggest that priorities might not be quite right ....
September 21, 2013 10:50
The more i read the more i believe this cleanup is only being focused on expats and foreigners - the rest is window dressing.
Taxi problem at airport continues - central festival have same people involved - Governor wants more tuk tuks - Dark future ahead for Phuket
September 21, 2013 10:50
If you believe the Governor wants more tuk-tuks, then you believe in fairies. Phuketwan's reporters have never heard him say that. It's pure imagination. What he wants is the current tuk-tuks blocking Patong streets picking up passengers all over the island, as Phuketwan accurately reported.
When a Phuketwan reporter asked, ''Do you mean the 'mafia,''' he responded: ''Yes.'' - Ed, admirable that you print this, perhaps now you will also use the word.
September 21, 2013 10:54
We use the word when it comes from other people in context, FF. We always have, and we always will. That's called ''accurate reporting.'' But we avoid its use ourselves because the meaning of the word is so open to misinterpretation. Phuket does not have any ''Mafia.'' We prefer words that can be applied more accurately to Phuket's gangs, corrupt officials and expat criminals.
Your reader's comments above I agree with, if there are overstayers as long as they do not work there are so many more serious problems to be sorted out. They are once again sending out a xenophobic message and maybe "real" tourists will be scared away by spot check on the road on their motorbike etc. Thailand should realise that they are competing for tourists, with SE Asia and the world (I don't think they care to many attitudes within the government) I never carry my Passport as if I lose it or if it is stolen it means a long expensive trip to Bangkok. I do carry a colour copy with my Visa stamp, a trip to the local Police station is better than going to Bangkok. Long live the farang in Thailand, Viva La farang!!
September 21, 2013 11:38
I well remember when PW referred to all foreigners , resident or tourist, as expats and even used racist slang -farang. So, give them a break and let them evolve/or learn without harassment, please?
September 21, 2013 11:58
Several name changes ago, when you were ''mediawatcher,'' you constantly spouted the falsehood that ''farang'' is racist. Of course it's not. But bigots will be bigots.
"Governor wants more tuk tuks"
That was the headline of the aerticle in another Phuket magazine. In the content however he said no such thing, the headline was just an attention grabber. But of course all posters reacted to the headline, so were reacting to something that was never said or intended.
September 21, 2013 12:23
farang is a term that denotes Caucasian, so how one can argue it is not racist?
I guess by PW ED satnadard neither is chink,wop, spik or gringo? And PW no longer uses the term in reports on Caucasians, so why would that be if it is now acceptable?
I was not aware the commentator must use the same name. If PW wishes to know the identity or keep some kind of record on its commentators, (which really are the reason the site gets repeat hits, )make users register.
September 21, 2013 12:24
You're plainly ignoring lengthy academic debates free from bias and bigotry that have concluded ''farang'' is not racist. One of my black British friends was even content to call himself a farang. Only a bigot would pursue this foolish argument so assiduously - whoever you are.
"Phuket does not have any ''Mafia.'' "
Are you for real? Who do you think controls the illegal drug trade in Phuket? A gang of teenagers?? A couple of random junkies?? You have got to be kidding!
Ed, I know you will argue this to your grave, but come on, it is downright silly to say there is no mafia in Phuket..lol.
September 21, 2013 12:24
You are clearly using the word without having a clue what it means . . .lol. Your ignorance is no laughing matter.
In fact, South-East-Asia is flooded by many youth students, economic refugees from the recession and lack of jobs in Europe and around the world.
Also foreign criminals know that in Thailand with little money and bribes to civil servants (Police, Labour Department, etc...) with the help of rogue lawyers or accounting offices, it is possible to hide from police in their home countries by setting up a Ltd Part with Thai nominees to get a valid work-permit and a VISA valid for one year.
Many are working in bars, restaurants, guest-houses, yachting industry, dive centers, language schools, boxing training centers as well as time-share touts.
September 21, 2013 12:33
Arresting an overstayer - good work DSI!
Of course that is much easier to tackle than corruption.
It is looking more and more as business as usual.
September 21, 2013 12:41
It was Immigration who made the latest arrests.
amazing thailand,all over in phuket many illegal people works in tailors shops,restaurants and readymade shops,they pay to local m**** to work illegal,immigration know every thing they just catch europeans,when DSI start this work
September 21, 2013 13:06
I cannot, simply cannot believe that DSI has nothing better to do with its precious time than target over-stayers!
That is the domain of immigration & perhaps police. DSI should be targeting them to ensure they do their jobs properly.
I strongly believe it is a stupid practice to carry your passport. It can too easily be stolen, especially for people on the beach, on boat trips, dive trips, etc. Then you have a serious problem with considerable expense getting to Bangkok to obtain a new passport. Maybe carrying a color photo copy would be acceptable?
September 21, 2013 13:49
Really? you put the photo of a poor guy who has overstayed his visa by 3 days on you website."Overstayer Mr Good was still being questioned by Immigration officers today." What info are they hoping to achieve. Bad news day huh?
September 21, 2013 15:00
That's why it's news, tomas. if it was three months or three years, would that make you happier?
A bit off topic, but Farang is not a racist slur at all. Not more so than Asian or Latino gor example. France as a country is still known as "farang-set" in thai, meaning "farang country". Farang simply means white european
September 21, 2013 16:02
Well, one can argue whether this arrest contributes to Phukets safety and sustainability. But how about some raids on worker-camps or just inspecting some of the trucks that are driving people in absolutely inhumane conditions to construction sites? Or how about inspecting some piers and fishing boats?
September 21, 2013 16:47
Well as the comments have already stated, what a complete waste of time. While people are committing more serious crimes, people who overstay are doing what exactly?
Spending their money in Thai shops buying Thai products that also have Thai Tax which goes to the Thai Government.
Overstayers have always been the number 1 problem in Thailand, I hear it all the time from the many Consulates who constantly complain about them. I am sure they said ripoffs, murders, rapes, gang related crimes are petty compared to the real dangers of Phuket. Overstayers!
September 21, 2013 19:22
"it is possible to hide from police in their home countries by setting up a Ltd Part with Thai nominees to get a valid work-permit and a VISA valid for one year"
well, when its so easy to get a visa, WHY IN HELL its full of overstayers?
September 21, 2013 19:36
Readers PW gives us very emotional news sometimes which they have to take care how they report it (libel etc) I value most of their news and sometimes criticise it myself. However I feel that both Ed raises to the verbal bait and some readers are just out to make trouble. But let's consider if PW did not bring us this news - I would be worse off and others. So please readers can we try and keep the Ed bashing down. (I have no connection to PW and have never knowingly met anyone from PW)
September 21, 2013 21:22
Wow it has just struck me whats going on here on Phuket. We are living on a real life island, acting out the novel, The Lord of the Flies by William Golding.
September 21, 2013 23:09
Well, so this is the agenda by the DSI: Go after Farang! Not surprised,it IS a special Thai treat, it's Farang who make them problems, if no Farang, no problems, so therefore in the mighty wisdom of the DSI we will hunt down them dangerous Farang overstayers! Anyone here feel like they participate in some stupid Thai lakorn?
September 21, 2013 23:57
DSI coming to Phuket for a clean up and use their resources to hunt a tiny per cent of foreign over stayers, hallelujah.
September 22, 2013 01:21
can anyone provide the official contact details for the DSI ? all i get told is the airport is where they are based.
September 22, 2013 05:45
If the no 1 issue in Phuket is dodgy expats, why isn't phuket prison overcrowded with them? Over 2000 Thais and 40 expats. 2% What a sham.
September 22, 2013 08:25
Three people in the same area caught for overstay. Coincidence? Could be that an individual has a problem with them and has found a way to make the problem disappear.
Why all the talk about DSI. They are not involved.
September 22, 2013 10:08
Ed, YOU are an idiot!! DSI 1st priority: Expats! YOU are an idiot... (moderated)
October 6, 2013 02:11
Phuket Airport meter taxi,
another scam business.
Actually I don't want to spend my time on writing comments about scam business in Thailand, its's to heavy work.
Anyhow, transportation on Phuket is a very special issue, all knows who have visited this Island. So real (!) metered Taxis are very welcome.
Landing October 7, I passed all scam business inside terminal and all outside. Just ignore them, saying no thanks.
Was on my way to the metered Taxi stand, rigth hand side outside the terminal.
Used it for years, even if called meterd by that time, price was fixed, around 550 Bath to Patong, including all.
But now is new time, DSI have been here, all business is looked after with very sharp eyes.
So, asked price for my standard trip.
I was answered, we only go by meter.
So far so good. I accepted this, just adding I would like to go over Surin Kamala instaed of Kathu and that dangerous mountin way. Also I would like to see Kamala changes. I have my personal reasons for this.
They told me that it will be more exspensive in the end going over Surin, but I accepted.
First I have to pay 100 Bath, called surcharge and a stamped receipt was given, 100 Bath.
This surcharge have been used for years, legal or not, I don't know.
Inside the Taxi, meter was already on 50 Bath. I asked why, no answer.
So already leaving the airport, price was more then 150 Bath.
OK, no problem, I can afford this.
Telling my Hotel name in Patong, it was of course totally unknown to the driver. I told him, I can show you the way, I know, because probably living longer on Phuket then you :-)
Still, he preferred to stop at his office (close to airport) to ask about the way. One lady comes and ask me hotel name, told her and at same time, no problem I will show him, just take me to Patong.
Pointing at the still running meter, I told them, lets leave. Then the Boss (?) comes. Asked about the hotel again. Told him meter is running, lets go now!
You are a crazy man, was his only reply, you are a crazy man, he told me several times. If you not stop calling me a crazy man, I will report this to tourist police. You are a crazy man he added and left.
On the way again.
As I am quite familiar to Phuket roads, I told the driver, that we passed the Surin Junction, kilometers ago. Where you go?
I go Kathu way he answer.
No, no we agreed on Surin way, I told him.
No, we go Kathu he answered with a dangerous look.
I tell you what, I am the customer and pays for this taxi ride, please go Surin way.
OK, can I call your boss?
He calls, argue a lot in Thai and then made a uturn, maybe another 5 km from the junction. Very angry, by this time and I realised the threat. Argueing about these extra 7-10 km, was not the best idea. Just kept calm, thinking of all stabbed taxi customers in Thailand.
Arriwing at the hotel after assisting him, its actually very close to Jungceylon, but he seems very unfamiliar to that area of Patong.
Jumped out of the taxi and asked for a receipt. He just shook his head, no have.
I need a receipt!
End of discussion!
Trip was 635 Bath on the meter, I took a photo (at own risk) and gave him 65 Bath in TIP. This only to be shure I could walk out from hotel later that day, without a bunch of drivers, trying to beat me up. I know Phuket to well.
Conclusion. Meterd taxis seems a good idea. All if they drive shortest way (actually the Surin way to Patong) to destination and dont mess it all up with wrong directions and stopping at their office etc.
And no receipt, just sounds like an tax scam. How many trips are registred and paid tax for, anyone dear to ask ;-)
October 15, 2013 22:26
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