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All in the past, perhaps: a jet-ski dispute builds on Patong beach

Update: Phuket's Jet-Ski Owners All Aboard

Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Phuketwan Friday Update

THE RELUCTANT 17 jet-ski owners have now signed up to the insurance scheme, a meeting at Provincial Hall was told today.

Original Report

PATONG'S Winai ''JJ'' Naiman has registered and insured the four jet-skis he owns, plus 24 others he manages, under the new system introduced by Phuket Governor Wichai Praisa-ngob.

But the man who sparked a review of the island's whole jet-ski business when he was depicted demanding money from British and US marines by the maker of a reality television series has yet to have his day in court.

Sources have told Phuketwan that Phuket's public prosecutors are still assessing evidence to support a charge that Mr Naiman demanded money with menace when he confronted the British marines, with a gun in hand.

Screening in Britain of the first episode in the series 'Big Trouble in Tourist Thailand' caused an uproar on Phuket, where for years accusations have been made that jet-ski scamsters have been shaking down tourists for large sums.

Tourists have often been forced to pay thousands of baht for preexisting ''damage'' to the jet-skis. Introduced by the governor after protests from several leading diplomats, the new registration and insurance scheme is designed to obliterate the scam.

However, there are still some quirks in the system. The governor was told at a meeting at Provincial Hall today that 204 jet-skis on the island have been registered and 185 of those have been insured. Others are damaged and not yet repaired or insured.

The owners of 17 jet-skis in Bang Tao, where 20 jet-skis are registered and insured and where there has never been scamming, are holding out.

They have declined to pay, even with a reduction in the insurance rate from the 9400 baht annual fee paid by the others, to 8600 baht.

Never having been involved in the scam, it appears this group of honest jet-ski hirers are reluctant to pay for the sins of others in Patong.

Another 36 ''black'' jet-skis are said to be operating illegally, outside the system and without registration or insurance.

Governor Wichai delegated police at today's meeting to first talk to the 17 Bang Tao jet-ski operators in the hope that they can be persuaded to join the insurance system. Then the ''black'' jet-ski owners will be targetted.

While the scams seem unlikely to reappear, the jet-ski associations are concerned at what will happen if an insured jet-ski happens to collide with an uninsured jet-ski.

Phuketwan has been told that the 'Big Trouble' series has been onsold to a leading free-to-air television network in Australia, where a screening of the JJ incident would be viewed by 20 times the audience of the initial cable tv showing in Britain.

More tourists visit Phuket from Australia than any other country.

The tv series, rightly or wrongly seen by some as damaging to Phuket's image, could be on-sold and screened in other countries . . . . perhaps even years after the problem has been solved.
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Comments

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And once this is sorted out, please take care of the motorbike rentals. It is exactly the same like the Jet-skis, just less water involved ...

Posted by Fritz Pinguin on November 19, 2009 00:34

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It wasn't the TV series which put Phuket in a bad light, it was the scamming jet ski renters. Perhaps series two will feature the scamming baht bus drivers?

Posted by Anonymous on November 19, 2009 07:41

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Insured or not, I will recommend to everyone i know who comes to keep well away from all jet-skis

Posted by Michael on November 19, 2009 07:56

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The Bang Tao operators that have never been involved in scamming?? Are these the same operators that illegally have jet-skis at Surin beach, a beach which is supposed to be free of Jet Skis?

And where many tourists have been ripped off in collaboration with the boys in brown? I think the author of the piece needs to do a little more investigation and not just take the word of the "trustworthy Jet Ski operators!"

Editor: We do plenty of investigating. We just don't have the luxury of being able to sit around on beaches. How do you know the jet-skis at Surin are from Bang Tao?

Posted by Jimmy on November 19, 2009 09:17

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Ed- you are at least misinformed, or at worst delusional.Re Bang Tao Beach situation, I have often seen the usual ganging-up against tourists by the local mafia there, in front of the Dusit Laguna/ Laguna Beach Hotels. Usually they pick on indian or asian tourists and I have seen the money changing hands. They are no different. You should check facts before reporting them as same. This is shoddy reportage.

Editor: Stu, we asked Laguna Phuket to confirm or reject your claim. Here's what the spokesperson said: ''We have not received any feedback from our guests that they have been threatened or ganged up on outside of our resorts. Laguna Phuket has a non-motorised water sport policy within its resort lagoons. For the assurance of safety and comfort to our guests we do not actively encourage jet skis.''

Posted by stu on November 19, 2009 11:29

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Yawn! Solution: Do like me: Stay away from this!

Posted by Jens on November 19, 2009 12:06

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On Saturday while I was on Kata Beach I noticed that most of the jet skis have clearly stated on the jetski "No Insurance". I was surprised to see this as I thought the good Governor had worked so hard to resolve this issue.

I am glad to see he is following up with it in Bang Tao and hope he continues down the coast.

Posted by VFaye on November 19, 2009 12:08

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i do commend the governor if his heart is really in it. just from this article still all talk. no consequences for those who do not abide.

i tell everyone i know that visits here, never use a jet ski or tuk tuk.

phuket has diseases in the jet ski operators, tuk tuks, and motorbike taxis, touts in the tourist areas of the island. eliminate these and the island is 100% better.

Posted by john west on November 19, 2009 12:34

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Fine, now some Jet ski have the insurance. What about the Sahm Looh (sidecar) that usually towing up to 5 or 6 trolleys? Sam Looh and towing trolleys that way is simply outlaw and dangerous as much as jet ski are, maybe more.

Posted by Malpelo on November 19, 2009 15:31

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Thank you editor to keep us posted. And thanks to the governor for setting up insurance, that theoretically should work. Now time will tell. Still work to do. But I am quite optimisitic. When the big money from ripp offs disappear, there will be bigger and more efficient rental companies. More value for the customer and the tourist industry.

Time for the jet ski operators to think about branding, special packages, driver lessons, clubs. Keeping the customers come back. Not for the one time rip off. But for the repeated one. :)

But what really strike me is - and I wonder no one else mentioned it - the insurance rates are soooo low! Only 10.000 Baht for a year? And the insurance think it also makes a profit. I am really astonished. That is the proof: The jetski rip offs were a real mafia method to extort money through fear. And the tourists paid for a lot of kids to go to private school.

Posted by Lena on November 19, 2009 16:12

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As long as the police can be bought, the problems will continue to exist!

End of story, so you people should take your hard earn money and go to another country/island.....

Posted by jojo on November 25, 2009 05:51


Wednesday October 21, 2020
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