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Tuk-tuks outside Patong's Jungceylon, said to be next in line for reform

Phuket Expat Tries to Pick Up Tourist Mate And Sparks Taxi Standoff

Tuesday, October 1, 2013
PHUKET: An Australian tourist has flown home from Phuket after becoming embroiled in a standoff between a new resort and the taxi and tuk-tuk drivers grouped near the resort's entrance.

The drivers last week prevented a friend of the tourist, who lives on Phuket, from picking him up and taking him out of the resort.

The incident was the latest example of the power wielded by taxi and tuk-tuk drivers in imposing excessive fares and a monopoly over tourist transport along Phuket's west coast.

It's believed the Australian tourist at one stage was intending to write to the Department of Special Investigation Crime Crisis Centre about his experiences.

He left Phuket without confirming whether he had put the incident in writing so authorities could investigate.

The manager of the resort acknowledged there had been a dispute with drivers but told Phuketwan that he hopes the signing of an agreement due to begin from today would lead to ''a more normal and friendly'' relationship.

The resort, like many around Phuket, is in danger of being blockaded by drivers any time there is a dispute. Drivers grouped outside many resorts only allow buses and vans with authorisation vouchers to enter to pick up guests.

Since August 9 when a DSI-led team arrived on the island, efforts to reform Phuket's transport system have been slow-moving.

Having clarified the status of taxi drivers outside Central Festival Phuket as a registered cooperative that will shortly hold a secret ballot to elect its leaders, the DSI team is expected to reform the ranks at Patong's Jungceylon mall before moving on to Kata-Karon.

Comments

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can I still pick up my kids from school with my own car - or must I call a tuktuk??

Posted by wachida on October 1, 2013 10:45

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The groups of thugs (taxi drivers) currently out the front of every resort is a disgrace, when will the powers to be put a stop to this?

Posted by coxo on October 1, 2013 10:48

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am suprise that immigration is not cracking down on this too, if you can not paint your own boat, then you can not pick up friends and driving them from a to b..

Posted by vandu on October 1, 2013 11:13

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My motorbike is dirty now as I am too scared to clean it in case Immigration deport me if they accuse me of running a motorbike cleaning business. As in the movie Blood Diamonds there they use the expression "TIA" meaning This Is Africa - here we can say "TIT"

Posted by Fiesty Farang on October 1, 2013 11:36

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This place was not so bad 14 years ago, but now it's out of control. The DSI said they would clean it up, but it's getting worse. Last week the Tourist police came to my place saw me painting my house even though I have a work permit and wanted me to pay them 20,000B they got 5,000B, my wife paid them, I did not know until they had left, they hit the Burmese camp across the road which has 70 people and they had to pay 2000B, I thought their job was to help foreigners not shack them down for money. Thailand, the land of corruption.

Posted by Roger on October 1, 2013 11:41

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I would be very interested in a follow up with the Authorities on this by Phuket Wan...Are foreigners breaking the law picking up friends, working on ones own home etc. What exactly are the rules?

Posted by Richard on October 1, 2013 12:01

Editor Comment:

I don't think we need to, Richard. Driving a car is not defined as work, unless you charge a fare. Working on your own home really depends on whether what you're doing and is open to interpretation.

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I have a new slogan for TAT, "Hello welcome to Thailand, what is your PIN number.

Posted by Roger on October 1, 2013 12:03

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Someone was advocating expats club together and pick each other up from airport. This is OK until taxi drivers twig what is going on, then there will be bills to pay for hospital and panel beating. Take heed!

Posted by Sudo Nim on October 1, 2013 12:22

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This really does not suprise me, its a similar situation in the airport. Or at least is used to be, I will discover for myself if anything has changed when I collect my family this weekend.

As for making these people a coop, that only seeks to legitimise their rorts!

Posted by paul on October 1, 2013 12:24

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This is clearly a 'racket'.
Wiki says, "A racket is a service that is fraudulently offered to solve a problem that does not exist...Particularly the potential problem may be caused by the same party that has offered to solve it." i.e If you pay me I won't cause you harm.
A racket is a racket, no matter if it is dressed up as some benevolent association. What gives these associations the rights to control public roads and private access.
Where are you DSI? What's up with the 30 days?

Posted by Yojimbo on October 1, 2013 12:29

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A few years ago, I was told by the head of tourist police that if I wanted to pick up my parents from their hotel, I needed to report this first to them and then it would be okay. Picking them up without reporting it could me have arrested for working illegally. I'm sure he wasn't joking.

Posted by sam on October 1, 2013 12:35

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Phuket is way, way out of control. The DSI is a complete sham.

As much as I dislike the idea of Google Glasses, I am really looking forward to the near future when they will be widely used in Thailand. Then the $#@% will really hit the fan. The corruption culture is incompatible with the digital future.

Posted by BigP on October 1, 2013 12:51

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Feisty farang FYI - 'TiT' (This is Thailand) - is an acronym that was first popularised by the American journalist/social commentator Bernard Trink in his regular weekly column in the (long defunct) Bangkok World in the early 70s before he moved on to the Bangkok Post. To use another slightly different reference from the 1970s (who out there remembers Carlos Castenada?) the Kingdom may also be thought of as 'a separate reality'.

Posted by Kaen Phet on October 1, 2013 13:15

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Not to intervene in this make authorities equally responsible... The Thai with all rights talking about loosing face.. this is so bad and so loosing face to the thai Nation that cannot solve a problem like this! its 2013 not medieval.. The problem here is also that people in average do not separate this low life thugs to any other Thai so therefore they think they all the same. Wich of course is not true but the ones that arent need to run for action against this , if not today,, yesterday..disgraceful ...... awful.. loosing face not able to fix it..

Posted by Frog on October 1, 2013 13:50

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No wanting to frighten anyone, but to put a cat amongst the pigeons, according to the "Alien or Foreign Employment, working Act 1978," work is defined as "engaging in work by exerting energy or using knowledge whether or not in consideration of wages or other benefit," so it comes down to whether some authority needs "tea" money or not.

Richard, as silly as it is, working on your own home could be considered work, same as building your own boat, in your own yard.

Posted by DSI Watcher on October 1, 2013 15:08

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well, we can do mutch about then spread the word, DONT use taxi in phuket, rent car,motorbike or use the local buss..

write in travelforums,talk with people you meet etc etc..

Posted by vandu on October 1, 2013 19:24

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My wife (thai) say's I shouldn't help anybody in trouble here anymore. If I see a person in an accident she says don't stop try to help them (as I did before) as I might be charged with working at saving somebody's life!! Better to watch them bleed to death - because that's what the M**ia is doing to Phuket.

Posted by Jacgem on October 1, 2013 19:27

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Here is a question? What if someone wants to pick up his/her parents from the hotel, because on the way to the airport, they would like to enjoy a last meal, or drink , before they goodbye. Would it really be possible, in 2013, that this could cause trouble? A fight, with perhaps wounds inflicted, or worse? All because someone wants to take care about somebody they care for? And we are still not allowed to call these groups m****? DSI stands for delivery of stupid ideas.

Posted by Charles on October 1, 2013 19:29

Editor Comment:

Lots of idle speculation there, Charles. No useful information.

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Now I'm in trouble!! Told my Thai wife I couldn't wash the dishes anymore as my work permit didn't define that. She said I'd better buy her a dishwashing machine then, but if the machine isn't made in Thailand do I have to get a work permit to turn it on?

Posted by Jacgem on October 1, 2013 19:59

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@Jacgem
You are in bigger trouble, as you expext!
Beeing the supposed wealthy husband of a probably pretty and minimum now wealthy thai wife: Isn't that a job for a thai man? Be careful, even to hold a atm card in your name, to a bulging bankaccount, is usually a job for a local.

Posted by dingdong on October 2, 2013 11:15

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This is the least of phukets problems.... There's people overstaying their visas by 1 or 2 days....

Posted by Constipated on October 3, 2013 09:23

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So now if one of my Thai friends decides to take me to Jungceylon, he's looking at a kicking.

But it's OK - I gave up on Phuket a long time ago. It will take more than a few token "reforms" to entice me back.

Posted by Harry Barracuda on October 6, 2013 17:36

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Someone should tell Tourist Police that there are a lot of Home Depots on Phuket. These are the modern age dealers for criminal expats. Shut them down immediately if they sell to expats, the work stealing bunch of home repair junkies.

Posted by Lena on October 6, 2013 21:46

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But it's still allowed to drive in your own private car? Its' absolutly ridiculous that this problem still has not been solved.

Posted by Dominik on October 11, 2013 15:47


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