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First you see them: Patong's jet-skis have moved under the trees

Phuket Jet-Skis Defy Army Order, Return to Patong Beach to Stave Off Outbreak of Crime

Saturday, August 2, 2014
PHUKET: Jet-ski operators in Patong have defied an Army order and returned to the beach because of fears that some beach boys will resort to crime if they go without pay any longer.

Nucha Petchvimol, President of the Jet-Ski Association of Phuket, told Phuketwan today that the operators had returned to work today - just four days into the week-long ban - out of fear of the consequences of broke beach boys turning to prey on residents or tourists.

Khun Nucha said he had told the Army's top man on Phuket, Major General Somchai Ponatong, that he was forced to break the Army order.

The jet-skis are now parking up under the trees at Patong rather than on the water's edge, when the banning of sunbeds and umbrellas means that tourists who wish to avoid the sun seek the same shady space.

As the holiday island's beach arrangements continue to frustrate all involved, with the beach vendors banned from being stationary but the jet-skis apparently subject to a different rule, Phuket's senior administrators have failed to respond.

Khun Nucha said today: ''We are pleading for leniency from Major General Somchai and i made the point to him that the beach boys are paid every day and could turn to crime if we went the whole week without working.''

He said there were about 60 jet-skis operating on Patong beach at this time of the year, the low season for tourism.

Beach vendors, whose shacks and stalls have been destroyed in clearances of all public space ordered by the military command that took charge of Thailand on May 22, continue to be annoyed to see jet-ski operators allowed to remain stationary and do what the vendors are not allowed to do.

Many residents and expats are opposed to having jet-skis on Phuket's beaches at all and would like them banned, as they are in the neighboring provinces of Phang Nga and Krabi.

But it is believed the possibility that the beach boys might turn to crime has always been a factor in the local administration allowing them to continue, along with parasailing speedboats.

''Everybody wants to know what is happening next,'' Khun Nucha said.

''The jet-ski operators now pay insurance, as we were asked to do. What we need is the Phuket Governor and the Marine 5 chief to give us a road map for what happens next.''

At a meeting at Phuket Provincial Hall yesterday, Saiyan Chanachaiwong, the Director of Kathu District, which oversees Patong and some other beaches, said the clearances of the beaches were 80 percent complete.

He said 409 shops were no longer on Patong beach, and similar action had been largely successful at Paradise beach, Kamala beach, Tri Trang beach, Laem Singh beach, and Rayit beach (northern Kamala).

There was the need to bear in mind that the clearances along all of Phuket's west coast were progressive, so some beaches had been fully cleared while action was still underway at other beaches.

By mid-August, he said, a Phuket Provincial Court ruling was expected on seven people who ran eight shorefront shops at Kamala who claimed rights to stay open.

Governor Maitree Intrusud said: ''If you see offiicals breaching the law, please get in touch directly with me and I will handle the matter with utmost discretion.'' At the same meeting, a Royal Thai Navy representatives urged members of the public to take photographs of lawbreakers and send them to authorities.


Comments have been disabled for this article.


Main problem for the jet ski boys is that they expect to get paid what amounts to a manager salary, but they come with no education and their capability of 48 hours a week is questionable ... best thing would be for the army to let them go through one of their intro courses to teach them a bit of discipline .... just letting them do what they want is a ticking time bomb that will lead to criminality exactly as Khun Nucha fears.

Posted by Sailor on August 2, 2014 17:25


If the beach boys become criminals, they should be locked up for a long time.This is a very simple thing. This guys destroy the reputation of Phuket and can do whatever they want. Lawless people

Posted by erich on August 2, 2014 17:58


So the Jet Ski mafia is not threatening Patong and Phuket with violence from their staff if they cannot work their illegal business? How is this any different then the Taxi mafia? I was on Patong beach about 11am and saw the lines of parked Jet Skis and the "beach boys" were all harassing and taunting people anyone walking buy. It was very intimidating for many tourists to see a "gang" of them hanging out. Finish the job please Army.

Posted by James Bond on August 2, 2014 18:22


" To Stave Off Outbreak of Crime ". In my opinion, it's only an untenable excuse to continue to have opportunities to cheat tourist, through their proven system " for paying damages ". To solve the problem is simple: beach boy will have to look for a new job or return to their provinces of origin.

Posted by James on August 2, 2014 18:23


You couldn't write a better story than this..."we're pleading with you that our boys will turn to crime against tourists"....What? I guess we should let them return right?...and the police?..where are they and whats their stance?...or are they capable of having one?.....You got to love the logic here

Posted by sky on August 2, 2014 18:54


This is incredible absolutely incredible this bunch are deifying a military order with the threat that they will commit crimes and basically run amok if they don't get their own way.why are they not being crushed by firstly the police secondly by the military and island officials or can we expect the man running the island to appease them yet again for fear of their threats as he has done in the past which has led to this arrogance .
I do hope the generals read this report and firstly ban these people from ever working on the beaches again with their jet skies and inform them they will be crushed if they threaten anyone in phuket again

Posted by Scunner on August 2, 2014 19:01


If jet-ski boys, beach-boys, tuk-tuk and taxi drivers break the law, the justice instead to send them to jail for wasting time, should offer to opportunity to have a choice between jail or enroll in the Thai Army for the length of the sentenced jail.

Posted by Whistle-Blower on August 2, 2014 19:36


Not a good endorsement of the character of these beach boys. What about finding alternative employment?

Maybe there is none because many tourists have stopped coming because of things like jetski scams.

Posted by Arun Muruga on August 2, 2014 19:55


So Nucha is saying that if his crew can't keep committing the crime they're used to they might commit some other ones? That's the best he could come up with? The jetskis and the crews that run them are a huge nuisance and only detract from all the beaches where they operate. Come on General Ponatong, don't give in to this ridiculous threat. Ban 'em.

Posted by Day on August 2, 2014 20:09


'because of fears that some beach boys will resort to crime if they go without pay any longer' is a very poor excuse. Go get a real job as there seems to be plenty advertised.

Posted by Logic on August 2, 2014 20:14


Khun Nucha said today: ''We are pleading for leniency from Major General Somchai and i made the point to him that the beach boys are paid every day and could turn to crime if we went the whole week without working.''

So why hire potential thugs in the first place?

Posted by Sam Wilko on August 2, 2014 20:35


unbeleiveble ..... They even admit they are criminals already and threat the army that they will continue being criminals if they cant proceed ruin the reputation and welfare of Phuket.... look them up and throw away the key.

Posted by frog on August 2, 2014 21:08


BTW .. i just trow up on my computer reading this....

Posted by frog on August 2, 2014 21:13


So to stave off an increase in crime maybe the 'jetski boys' can be locked up now. Tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime. To threaten an increase in crime shows up these people to be exactly what we know them to be.

Posted by Mister Ree on August 2, 2014 22:24


As i said before, these people will not be able to tolerate lesser income let alone no income at all... they can't force change without thinking of how to deal with the next waves of trouble.

Posted by thai in phuket on August 2, 2014 23:02


So this just goes to prove what we all knew before! These beach boys are crooks !

Posted by elizabeth on August 2, 2014 23:09



Main problem for the jet ski boys is that they expect to get paid what amounts to a manager salary,


Thumbs up!

Posted by Sue on August 2, 2014 23:48



So Nucha is saying that if his crew can't keep committing the crime they're used to they might commit some other ones


I think it is a legal formula for "extortion": give me what I want, otherwise I will commit crime.

Posted by Sue on August 2, 2014 23:56


if tourists are daft enough to rent jetskis they get all they deserve if it goes pear shaped (like the aussie family recently)

Posted by ayjay on August 3, 2014 00:01


Ok, so if I have understood the logic, the jet ski owner(s) state that they should be allowed to continue with their illegal activity because it prevents the employees from engaging in other criminal acts. Nice. Sailor, in case you missed it, Thailand has conscription. That means, most if not all of the jetski workers have gone through the basic military training. I doubt that a refresher experience as cheap labour for the military will change anything. What we have here is a situation where the small number of owners want to protect their very profitable enterprise. The welfare of the workers is not a priority, anymore than respecting the environmental laws that said no refueling on the beach so as to avoid the chronic fuel spills that have polluted the beach and the water, was. The jetskis are an illegal operation and the owners have demonstrated a longstanding history of refusing to follow the minimal rules that had been agreed to. The equipment should be seized and destroyed.

Posted by Ryan on August 3, 2014 00:47


The most pathetic excuse ever...
oh by the way.... Welcome to Thailand

Posted by Tbs on August 3, 2014 01:14


This attitude is disgusting and just shows the deep rooted issues in Phuket.

Come on army, please enforce the law and get them off the beaches now

Hopefully we will see some cheap ex-rental jet skis for sale soon. I have already been offered some ex-rental motorbikes for sale by a guy who used to operate on the street. That's an excellent sign as it shows he has given up.

Posted by Amazing Thailand on August 3, 2014 02:58


But isn't this their normal job anyway?

"out of fear of the consequences of broke beach boys turning to prey on residents or tourists."

Posted by fw on August 3, 2014 03:54


Wow I find it so hard to feel sorry for these people after all the scams they have pulled on innocent tourists over the years...

Posted by Andrew Ronayne on August 3, 2014 07:10


At what point does this mindset become embarrassing to them? We will let them stay because of what they might do when we make them stop doing their illegal, rip off, bully scams..... I wish a reporter would ask the General in charge of Phuket if he is embarrassed when his orders are ignored.

Posted by rc on August 3, 2014 07:31


This is the BEST article I have read over the 4 years of reading PW.

A man says his boys will commit crimes. Great character references.
OK we all know most of the jet ski guys that smoke and sell marijuana on the beach belong in jail any way. This is a great time to photograph get fingerprints and scare the heck out of them by the military.
As much fun as a jet ski is, I agree with banning them from Phuket.60 of them now on Patong, wow that's three times the amount since I was there last.
I am sure there is a good ECO argument to be done with them.

Posted by John on August 3, 2014 12:53

Editor Comment:

You'll find about 160 registered for Patong but only 60 work during the low season.


I believe the best way to get rid of jet-skis is to let them speak up in public as much as possible.

They are their own worst enemies when they speak their mind.

Please interview as many of them as possible.

Posted by ThaiMike on August 3, 2014 13:20


Here is the perfect answer! Require anyone involved in the JetSki/Parasail business to register, get a photo ID with their picture and a unique number for that person, require that to be worn at all times. Once you have them all documented, bus them OFF THE ISLAND and give their pics to the police at the entry station!

Posted by James Bond on August 3, 2014 15:35

Editor Comment:

Sounds a bit deceitful, James. General Prayuth tells us to be morally upright as well as honest.


The Army and Navy will not let themselves be blackmailed into obedience by little disguised threats like these.

Posted by Lena on August 3, 2014 16:12


Army and police together must keep strong and work together that everybody have to respect the law.
Take the jet ski, parasailing and tuk tuks away. Tourist will be happy and specially not to explain nearly every meter walking on he beach and sreets why the don't want jet ski, parasailing and tuk tuk!! If they don't keep the laws, destroy the jet skis, lock the boots and tuk tuks and take penalty from this guys! If they'll move to crime, put them in prison for long time.
If this guys no Thais, send them back to their country of origin!!!

Posted by pithak on August 3, 2014 17:27


Army has to confiscate or destroy jetski's found on the beach. Otherwise the 'boys' will keep crawling back whenever their backs are turned.

Posted by Todd on August 3, 2014 20:34


This really sums up what are the basic problems of Phuket - threats of retribution if the unscrupulous cannot continue their scams - but a threat to the NCPO orders - surely it will not go unanswered. I really hope not, if it does the other vendors will be back within the month.

Posted by Terry on August 4, 2014 11:18


Just an update, my last comment said the other venders would be back within weeks ??? cancel that they are back already! Seats and cool boxes on the beach right now. Motorbike and car rental fully operational on the beach road. All parking spaces around Junceloyn, as well as beach road, tuk tuk parking only. It will take a real commitment, along with a real demonstration of power to show who's " in charge" if there is any chances of returning law an order to Phuket.

Posted by Terry on August 4, 2014 15:11


jetskis and speedboats of any kind should not be allowed within 200 metres of a swimming beach, only in Asia are these type of boats allowed on swimming beaches, the authorizes keep saying they will ban them but it never happens, probably take a few deaths before they are totally banned

Posted by peter on August 8, 2014 09:17


If extortion stand over with menaces and fraud is not a crime in Thailand then they must be considered the bench mark for entrepreneur's and smart businessmen and will move on to other dubious business enterprises.

Posted by slickmelb on August 12, 2014 18:39

Thursday December 9, 2021
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa


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