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Jet-skis for hire at Phuket's Bang Tao beach, north of Patong

Jet-Ski Gang Holds Tourists Hostage

Monday, February 9, 2015
PHUKET: Jet-ski operators held Chinese tourists captive, demanded 200,000 baht and ripped off a large sum from them at a Phuket beach, a jet-ski operator who wants the system reformed said yesterday.

''If tourists continue to be treated like this, it's bad for Thailand's reputation,'' said Anusorn Sale, the former president of the Bang Tao Jet-Ski Association. ''Phuket's Marine Office 5 and other authorities should do their jobs properly for a change.''

Khun Anusorn escorted one of the ripped-off Chinese tourists to Cherng Talay Police Station on the weekend to lodge a report about the extortion scam.

Scams involving jet-ski operators continue on Phuket but only a small number are ever made public so local authorities acquiesce and are able to pretend there is no problem.

The weekend incident began when six Chinese tourists hired four jet-skis at Bang Tao beach - further south, Patong beach has more jet-skis and more scams.

''Within five minutes, two of the jet-skis had crashed,'' Khun Anusorn said. ''The jet-ski operators immediately demanded 200,000 baht in compensation.

''By my reckoning, the damage to the fibreglass hulls would have cost 20,000 baht to repair. Insurance would cover that.''

Khun Anusorn said that jet-ski operators these days are obliged to have contracts in English, Chinese and Russian but the Chinese were made to sign a contract in the Thai language.

''The Chinese were told 'If you don't pay in cash immediately, we won't let you leave the beach.''' Khun Anusorn said.

''They then allowed one man to go to an ATM while intimidating the other five to stay on the beach.''

The man returned with 99,800 baht, which the jet-ski operators accepted as a down-payment, telling the Chinese they could go and pay the rest of the money later, Khun Anusorn said.

''I reckon damage to the fibreglass bodies of the jet-skis would take 20,000 baht to fix,'' he said.

It's not clear whether the operators also claimed on insurance, which covers each machine to a maximum of 50,000 baht.

Jet-ski operators often extort a ''time out of the water'' sum of 16,000 baht or 17,000 baht, calculated at 3000 baht for up to five days the machine might need repairs.

Often, having paid this sum, victims see the jet-ski back in the water the following day.

Khun Anusorn took one of the tourists to Cherng Talay Police Station yesterday but there was a problem with his Chinese being understood.

''When Phuket Marine 5 Office, which oversees Phuket's jet-skis, was contacted about this incident, an officer said: 'This case hasn't reached the embassy yet. Let the embassy complain, then we will check it out.'''

Khun Anusorn said he believed Marine Office 5 failed to properly oversee the jet-ski operators on Phuket.

Chinese authorities have previously warned that official action will be taken to warn their tourists about jet-skis and other dangerous rip-offs unless authorities on Phuket prevent scams and uphold the safety of tourists.

All of Phuket's jet-skis were supposed to be phased out over a period of seven years but compromises by a succession of governors leaves hundreds of them still operating today at most of Phuket's best swimming beaches.

The scammed Chinese tourists were due to fly out today, Khun Anusorn said.


Comments have been disabled for this article.


Once again more scams. Once again everyone sits around and talks the talk of how bad this is and what should and shouldn't be done. Once again it will all be swept under the rug and once again it will happen once again

Posted by sky on February 9, 2015 08:56


its never going to end till they ban the jet skis

Posted by bondi on February 9, 2015 09:34


I'm not sure which is scarier and more damaging to tourism, gangs threatening violence on the beaches or unlicensed beginners on holiday flying around at high speeds on the water in between swimming children's heads. To be honest id prefer the jet ski operators left the beach and follow through with their threats to turn to crime instead. At least then they can eventually be put in jail for something that is actually against the law. Apparently ripping off tourists is not.

Posted by Chris on February 9, 2015 09:36


Good news! Perhaps something happens now.

Posted by Sam on February 9, 2015 09:54


'This case hasn't reached the embassy yet. Let the embassy complain, then we will check it out.'

Says it all really.. Yes you can complain, but we are simply going to ignore that complaint, until an ebassys says so, it didnt happen.

Posted by LivinLOS on February 9, 2015 10:42


@Sam..the only thing that is going to happen is that the one thing keeping tourism afloat here, which is the Chinese, will eventually stop coming....And then what?

Posted by sky on February 9, 2015 10:59


Jet-skis are rented out in front of horrific-eye-sore Nikki Beach Club which directly adjacent to the national park.

What is the real danger is there is no designated swimming area. With all the income couldn't they at least but some buoys in and make a swimming area? We know there is no hope not having jet-skis there!

Posted by Vfaye on February 9, 2015 11:16

Editor Comment:

I thought jet-skis were banned at Layan beach. Best call Marine Office 5 and ask them to enforce the rules.


"Phuket's Marine Office 5 and other authorities should do their jobs properly for a change."

I didn't think you could use the words "Marine 5 office" and "do their jobs properly" in the same sentence. Good job!

Posted by Pinot on February 9, 2015 11:30


And again and again....

Its so good to see Marine 5 working hard to enforce the rules....

Pathetic, and bringing shame on Thailand. Again !

Posted by Amazing Thailand on February 9, 2015 12:16



Contact details best if you get pictures as well

Marine Office 5 Phuket Branch
Address: 88/5 Sukdidat Road
Wichit, Muang
Phuket 83000 Thailand
Tel: (66) 076.391.174
Fax: (66) 076.391.174
Cell: (66) 081.691.1619
Contact: Duty Officer

Governors office

?????????: 076-222886, 076-354875 |

would also help to send to media as many as possible, will get list up as I just saw some shocking stuff in Pattaya which once sorted photos out will be going to all and social media as well, best way to beat them

Posted by Michael on February 9, 2015 12:20


I'm glad to see the operators themselves being unhappy. The only chance of change comes from within.

Posted by stevenl on February 9, 2015 13:12


What was the Police's comment to this?
Was anyone taken to be interviewed?

Posted by Tbs on February 9, 2015 18:03


Signs in different languages must be put up telling tourists of the danger of jet ski and rent them at your own risk.

Posted by Harry on February 9, 2015 19:48

Editor Comment:

And who protects the signs, Harry?


"Phuket's Marine Office 5 and other authorities should do their jobs properly for a change."

Great to hear some comments coming from the Thai community. Let's hope we see a crescendo. With that change is much more likely to happen... and for the better.

Posted by Duncan on February 9, 2015 19:51


This is why so many of us long term residents left Phuket to live happily & peacefully (even more cheaply) up country. Enough was enough. We were driven out!

Posted by Logic on February 9, 2015 20:14


If jetski operators continue this way, negative publicity is quickly made with the conclusion that there will be less tourists in Thailand.
Whether they win then ????

Posted by Manu on February 9, 2015 22:10


Hopefully one day a real bunch of tough Thugs will gang together and hire a few jetskis and try to entice the Jetski gangs to extort money from them, then put them in hospital. Sounds aweful but they need a taste of their own medicine.

Posted by Gregg P Cornell on February 10, 2015 01:24

Editor Comment:

Violence is an answer? You have to come from a place where violence is standard to believe that, Gregg. Most of us know that the response to violence cannot be violence . . . unless you enjoy warfare.


Scary story - I was not aware that we foreigners are supposed to report local criminal activities to our embassies rather than to the local police - how long has THAT attitude been in place at Phuket??? - a foreign reader

Posted by Anonymous on February 10, 2015 06:01

Editor Comment:

Reporting the incident to police is always a good idea. Reporting the incident to an embassy as well usually means police are obliged to act.


Believe me this situation will happen again so long as the jet-skis still on the beach and won't eradicate.How many the tourist have been extorted like this all the time.

Posted by Daniel on February 10, 2015 10:55


the chinese people in phuket are quite annoying and arrogant and the treat the thais badly. Maybe a retribution.

Posted by minime on February 11, 2015 04:13

Editor Comment:

There is no such thing as ''the Chinese people in Phuket.'' There are individuals whose characteristics vary, as they do with all people. Yes, some groups of tourists may appear arrogant. But to broadly attribute characteristics is bigotry.


Reported in the media:

''The Marine Office and Phuket Governor Nisit Jansomwong wanted this to serve as an example to all jet-ski operators on the island. The ban and fine are compromises, as Governor Nisit originally asked that a stronger message be sent to jet-ski operators by banning Mr Air for life, Mr Phuripat added."

Seems that the Governor was overruled by Kn Phuritwat. Says it all, really. There is no hope.

Posted by phonus balonus on February 11, 2015 20:06

Editor Comment:

AS you know, PB, we wouldn't vouch for the accuracy of other media reports.


There is simply no way to address this until the serious issues effecting Phukets beaches are solved, like tourists bringing beach chairs to the beach.

Posted by Joe on February 17, 2015 20:45


Why phuket police not use tourist police as "undercover" police and send these guys to do some damage and get rid of scamming operators, or do they got hand too deep in tourists' pockets as well.

Posted by Sam on February 20, 2015 06:46

Editor Comment:

Crashing jet-skis is not something people make a habit of doing. Most of the scams these days involve insurance claims.

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