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A holiday family on Phuket loses 160,000 baht at Patong beach

Phuket Jet-Ski Owners Told: Time to Talk a New Deal

Monday, May 30, 2011
PHUKET: PHUKET'S jet-ski operators are to be asked to negotiate a new deal if they wish to continue running their businesses on the island, Phuket Governor Tri Aukaradacha said today.

He was speaking to Phuketwan after telling representatives from local councils and some administrators that he plans to renegotiate a new deal in a meeting with jet-ski leaders within two weeks.

The arrangement implemented on March 1 2004 to phase out all jet-skis from the island - which clearly failed because it was never implemented - expired without action being taken on February 28 this year, the governor said.

Some 219 jet-skis operate on five Phuket beaches - Patong, Kamala, Kata, Karon and Bang Tao, the governor said. [Unauthorised jet-skis also operate without action being taken at Surin and Laem Sing beaches.]

Governor Tri said that strictly speaking, as from March 1 jet-skis could no longer be rented out, although the owners of the jet-skis could ride them for their own sport. Permission for the jet-ski businesses to operate on Phuket had expired, he said.

Reports of scams and hundreds of thousands of baht being extorted from tourists at Patong beach have continued, honorary consuls informed a meeting with the governor and other Phuket administrators last week.

Absent from that meeting was Phuripat Theerakulpisut, Chief of Phuket's Marine Office 5, who told today's meeting at Provincial Hall in Phuket City that there had only been one jet-ski crash since last year.

''We have been very successful, there has only been one accident since I returned to Phuket,'' said Khun Phuripat, choosing to remember a crash that killed two Chinese tourists but ignoring non-fatal crashes which usually lead to the scamming of tourists.

Khun Phuripat told Governor Tri today that the jet-ski operators needed more time before renegotiating was necessary.

In December in an interview with Phuketwan, Khun Phuripat said he was planning to write to the governor, to remind him that the previous seven-year deal was expiring, and leaving any decision on jet-skis to Phuket's administrative chief.

''When we work with people, sometimes we have to talk in gentle language to help each other,'' he told Phuketwan back then. ''If no problems, there will be no change.''

Rip-offs of tourists have continued unabated this year, with excessive amounts being demanded of those unfortunate enough to be involved in jet-ski crashes.

Other groups of tourists have reported to honorary consuls about continuing scams involving pre-existing damage to jet-skis.

Lack of action to control the jet-ski scams is one reason why Phuket's honorary consuls expressed their frustration at last week's meeting with the governor and other Phuket administrators. Khun Phuripat was not invited.

Governor Tri asked today to be provided with more information about jet-ski rip-offs and said he thought he could renegotiate a new deal without the need for the involvement of authorities from Bangkok.

Australian honorary consul Larry Cunningham told the governor last week: ''The jet-ski problem, it's the power these guys have now, and they know they have the protection of the police.

''The jet-ski story on the internet last time, 150 people replied to say 'I have been to Phuket and the jet-ski people stole 100,000 baht, 200,000 baht, 300,000 baht from me.

''We want the problem solved. I own a resort, I want people to come to Phuket. But when tourists come to Phuket and they have a problem with jet-skis or the tuk-tuks or the police, they don't come back, and they tell other people.

''We need to see some action happen. The jet-ski operators scare the tourists. They are scared for their safety.''

Mr Cunningham supports the concept of having police - or some other authority - on Patong beach.
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Comments

Comments have been disabled for this article.

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"Governor Tri said that strictly speaking, as from March 1 jet-skis could no longer be rented out, although the owners of the jet-skis could ride them for their own sport. Permission for the jet-ski businesses to operate on Phuket had expired, he said."

Strictly speaking, if the governor says they can't be rented out why are they still there? Who gave the permission? Strictly speaking, nobody in authority wants their income reduced so they still operate 'illegally' legally.

Posted by Pete on May 30, 2011 13:57

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We all know that nothing will change, tourists have to be aware before going to Phuket to not rent jet-ski and avoid tuk tuks if they don't want to see their holidays ruined.

Posted by Jean-Paul Patrick on May 30, 2011 14:22

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Sometimes part of the joy of following life on Phuket is to follow the leaps in logic, of which this article is full.

It's time to talk a new deal. But then everyone - jet-ski operators, police and tourists - ignored the old deal.

The police do nothing. The police, allegedly, are protecting the jet-ski scam merchants. Yet the Australian honorary consul wants police on the beach. Presumably to be there to turn a blind eye in person.

It all rather goes back to the recent 'Dear PM' article about Thai political corruption in general and Phuket pandemic corruption in particular. Until the police, politicians and civil servants enforce existing laws - on licensing, parking, blockading and intimidation - then new initiatives are pointless, bordering on risible.

I fear too many people are doing too well financially out of the current arrangements for things to change. As the 'Dear PM' letter points out, it needs a Bangkok Untouchable or two, not involved in the current Phuket way of things, to kick bottoms and take names.

Posted by Doug on May 30, 2011 16:46

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''jet-ski operators are to be asked to negotiate a new deal if they wish to continue running their businesses on the island, Phuket Governor Tri Aukaradacha said today."


Asked to negotiate??...how about just plain telling them what the new rules are...and if you don't like it then take a hike!

Posted by zig on May 30, 2011 19:27

Editor Comment:

Perhaps you should offer your services as a negotiator, zig.

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Bangkok needs to get involved here, no ifs or buts about it.

Posted by Scunner on May 31, 2011 00:42

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Ed...They've been "Asked" many times to negotiate fair deals and history has shown us that they are incapable of living up to their promises...so let the govt set the rules for them!

Posted by zig on May 31, 2011 04:46

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The best part of this news is that Khun Phuripat has been excluded from the meetings.

He has been (probably still is) a major obstacle in trying to solve these issues by going out of his way to protect the right of the locals to rip off foreigners.

It's good to see that some authorities have come to the same conclusion.

It is ultimately people who make and implement the policies and those unwilling to change the status quo need to be removed.

One down - how many others to go ?

Posted by Chris on May 31, 2011 09:58

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"Jet-ski leaders"... So "Jet-ski" is an organisation. Is it registered for tax purposes as a charity to help the monks? Isn't that what some of the Mafia organizations in Italy do? They set up a fake charity institution to collect fake donations. "Jet-ski leaders" = small-time m****.

Posted by Scott on June 13, 2011 12:02

Editor Comment:

Comparisons with the Mafia remain unfair because the Mafia were criminals involved in murder, extortion and torture. Guesswork really doesn't help much.


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