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A tuk-tuk in Patong: DSI investigators are targetting taxi bosses

Phuket Expats, Resorts, Motorcycle Hirers Targetted: DSI Aims at Tuk-Tuk, Taxi Bosses

Wednesday, August 21, 2013
PHUKET: Resorts and expats living and working on Phuket face much more intense scrutiny with the campaign to end scams, rip-offs and corruption on the island.

Closer scrutiny will be applied to all tourists and expat residents as details emerged of aspects of the campaign at a key meeting of investigators today.

At the same time, a new policy is being developed to prevent motorcycle and car hirers holding the passports of their customers, said the Tourism and Sport Minister, Somsak Pureesrisak.

''Legally, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs tells us, the passports remain the property of the tourists' national governments,'' he said. ''It's illegal to use them as a guarantee in this way.''

Another proposal being looked at is the idea of fitting all jet-skis with a gps so their location can be determined at all times.

Khun Somsak chaired the meeting at Phuket Provincial Police Headquarters in Phuket City that brought together the four groups involved in the campaign - the Department of Special Investigation, the Tourism and Sport Ministry, Phuket police and Phuket administrators.

As well as declaring that there would be more thorough checks made on people from other countries who wish to live and work on Phuket, some details were revealed about the present campaign.

Investigators are gathering evidence about the people behind the taxi and tuk-tuk groups that monopolise transport on Phuket, the meeting heard.

''We are not going to target the drivers by making arrests,'' he said. ''We are targetting the people who run the groups.''

The DSI released a list of 11 names of individuals and organisations on August 9 but all five men named in the list have denied being involved in illegal activities.

One of the taxi stands named in the list, outside the Dalar Hotel in Cherng Talay, dissolved when the hotel closed earlier this year.

The DSI has promised one person on the list will be arrested and charged within 30 days.

So far 30 days is the length of time of the operation, the meeting heard, although more time could be needed to fully ''clean up'' Phuket.

Khun Somsak said that the move to make resident expats and resorts more accountable was in line with the plan to take Phuket upmarket in terms of ''quality'' tourism.

The campaign involving the DSI was promoted by ambassadors from the European Union and China after years of neglect that left Phuket without a proper public transport system and no alternative to the extravagant fares demanded by tuk-tuk and taxi drivers.

Comments

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It would be good that DSI crackdown other nearby provinces such as Ranong, Phang-Nga, Krabi, Trang and Satun Provinces as many of those illegal fraudsters will move quick to these provinces to avoid tax audits, arrests, prosecutions, fines and get seize of their assets for laundering money.

Posted by Whistle-Blower on August 21, 2013 14:40

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The tide is high in Phang Nga, the taxi gang in Khao Lak is already as powerful as in Phuket :-(

Posted by Resident on August 21, 2013 19:03

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What a sham. More hot air without substance. Sorry Ed but doomsayers are now thirty - love. Say it isn't so.

Posted by gee on August 21, 2013 20:44

Editor Comment:

It isn't so.


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