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Smiles and big promises for Phuket by  General Adul Saengsingkaew

Phuket to Gain 700 Police and Smiles

Saturday, August 10, 2013
PHUKET: Hundreds of extra police will be posted to Phuket in a remarkable change in approach that will create an efficient ''Phuket model'' and set new standards among Immigration officials, too.

''If you are in Immigration and you don't know how to smile, you will be out,'' Thailand's top cop told a Phuket City meeting today.

The national police budget for 2014 would guarantee Phuket the extra police it has been seeking for years, Thailand's Chief Commissioner, General Adul Saengsingkaew, said today.

Increased numbers, a uniform upgrade, English language skills and a service mentality would all become part of the new Phuket police force, he said.

''Phuket will be the first place in Thailand to set up an organised system where Royal Thai Police, immigration officers, Tourist Police and Marine Police all function in a coordinated fashion,'' Commissioner Adul said.

''The whole police organisation will be operating together with the same standards across the entire force.''

The move of Region 8 Police Headquarters from Surat Thani to Phuket would give Phuket hundreds of extra police, he said.

Phuket currently operates with about 1100 officers - 350 per shift. The additional numbers will for the first time give Phuket the capacity to cope not just with 320,000 registered residents but with hundreds of thousands of other residents, immigrant workers and tourists.

''Security and safety will be achievable aims on Phuket,'' he added, promising to assign a Deputy Commissioner of Police to oversee the Phuket upgrade.

With the additional manpower will come replacement vehicles, equipment and technology to modernise the Phuket force and expand its 10 cramped police stations.

''I will come down here often,'' said the chief commissioner, speaking to officers from across all law enforcement divisions on Phuket.

An annual evaluation of all officers - beginning in October - would mean that police who did not behave professionally would be tranferred out, he said.

That included Immigration officers who could not smile, he said.

''Phuket police numbers will be boosted as a matter of course with the arrival of Region 8 headquarters,'' he said.

Today's new police deal capped a week of surprises. Phuket administrators, the Department of Special Investigation, the Ministry of Tourism and Sport and police appeared to have finally developed the muscle to deal with Phuket scams, rip-offs, extortion and tuk-tuk and taxi issues.

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"''If you are in Immigration and you don't know how to smile, you will be out,'' Thailand's top cop told a Phuket City meeting today"

Someone should tell Phuket Town Immigration about this quote :)

Posted by miklas on August 10, 2013 17:36

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You are generalizing and I think unfairly. I know and see plenty of smiling officers there and if you have a problem there are senior officers there to report it to. Please remember that immigration staff deal with people from all over the world speaking all different languages and accents. How do you think you would cope? Some of the visitors are not so nice too. :)

Posted by seht1912 on August 10, 2013 19:04

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Good, hopefully all the words and promises will be followed up by the adequate action ... obviously this is all initiated and run by the Thai government, they should have praise for finally doing something although some may see it is a politically motivated as Phuket is a Dem stronghold. This government has already managed to remove some illegal resorts from Khao Yai and now this...a very courageous move to which they are probably not going to receive much local help. So keep up the pressure and let's see ... one thing is for sure and that is in the moment the pressure disappears then the progress will stop and everything will be rolled back to what it was before.

Posted by Sailor on August 10, 2013 20:57

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Under 14 years I have never had probleme with the immigration. They have Always been polite. Can depend I Always say hello and thanks.

Posted by Karl on August 10, 2013 21:08

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I can't believe what i hear!!!!It will be fantastic if all this things happen really,i hope i hope i hope...........but im scare will be only words......really phuket need a big change inside police,im fell very unsafe and not sure too to continue to living here.......i hope really anything can change because i love thailand!

Posted by alexino on August 10, 2013 22:25

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Sure there's the odd one who smiles and might even be friendly but in most cases they do not respond to your hello, take one look at you, work the system and toss your passport back on the desk without uttering a single word, never mind a smile.

God forbid you step too close to the counter.

Compare that to Singapore immigration who are consistently friendly (over 10y of multiple visits per year) and hand out candy to everyone too.

Australian Immigration has struck me as very friendly and professional but the US is not. Entered the US odd 70 times too but rarely ran into a friendly INS agent. Customs was always ok. EWR was worst, HNL nicest.

Fly to Cebu and you'll see a staff member every 10m along the way from gate to immigration welcoming you in Philippines and despite long queues, immigration has also always been friendly.

Immigration work is boring and monotonous around the world so that's no excuse. At the end of the day the behavior of those vested with powers to control foreigners entering their country pretty much tells you what they think of you.

Trace back your trip from landing at Phuket airport all the way to your hotel or home and tell me is it a pleasant and positive one ?

Posted by ThaiMike on August 10, 2013 23:48

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When I first came to Asia in 1994, it was to work in Vietnam. At that time their immigration officials were appalling, bossing tourists around like they were sergeant majors. Many complaints & a couple of years later, they were changed completely to smiling welcoming ambassadors for their country.

This must happen here in the LOS. It has to as the general attitude for too long has been that they are doing you a favor even bothering to stamp you into this country. They forget visitors have traveled a long way to spend money in this country & to make it prosper. Some have even had to purchase their visa in advance for that privilege. Courtesy comes cheap.

Posted by Logic on August 11, 2013 00:19

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I forgot to add that much could be learned from Schipol Airport (Amsterdam) where I had 40 minutes between flights.

There were staff members at every key location who guided me from one landing gate to the other & helped me fast track through a passport check.

I was last checked onto the plane but amazed that I had made it. Every single member of staff was smiling, courteous, well informed, had good English & keen to ensure I made my flight.

Compare to LOS airports. Enough said!

Posted by Logic on August 11, 2013 11:13

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@Logic. I had one of my most unpleasant airport experiences in Amsterdam! Had a brief layover there on a visit home a few years ago, and the officer was anything but polite. She clearly didn't like the fact that I was coming from Thailand, and acted very disbelieving when I politely explained to her that I worked there, and was travelling home to visit my family. However, this was just a single officer, and I'm sure there are more polite ones that work there.

Posted by concerned in karon on August 11, 2013 13:09

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WOW is the first things that comes to my mind.. the 2nd is... can i buy General Adul Saengsingkaew and all his family a nice dinner with lobster , champagne and strawberries?? please if anyone talk to him pass it on.. u find me on Bangla :)

Posted by Frog on August 11, 2013 14:28


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