''The four were each sentenced to six months in jail and fined 20,000 baht,'' said the Chief of the Traffic Division at Kathu Police Station, Lieutenant Eakarat Plaidung.
''But the men pleaded guilty so the sentences were suspended, provided the drivers are of good behavior for two years. And because they pleaded guilty, the fines were also reduced by half to 10,000 baht.''
The penalty for being caught driving an illegal taxi is a fine of up to 100,000 baht and a maximum of five years in jail.
The drivers will also have to report regularly to the court.
News of the penalties is likely to put more illegal taxis off the road without the need for police to intervene.
''We are concentrating on the so-called 'black' taxis for now,'' Lieutenant Eakarat said. ''Getting the green-plate taxis under control, with the help of the military, will follow.''
He added that plans to reverse the one-way system on Patong would first be put to residents at a public meeting.
Taxi drivers have mostly opposed the system, but with a holding bay being established at Tritrang, south of Patong, some may now prefer the traffic flow being reversed.
Cases involving mass arrests of scores of drivers in Kata-Karon and Patong are a separate matter and have not been scheduled in court yet.