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Phuket Corruption Under Attack by Expat Leaders

Phuket Corruption Under Attack by Expat Leaders

Monday, August 23, 2010
THE PROSPECT of Thailand's Foreign Ministry intervening to clear up the corruption on Phuket was raised at a dramatic seminar involving honorary consuls, embassy representatives and a senior delegation of FM heads from Bangkok today.

The theatricality of the occasion, with one speaker calling Phuket ''the most corrupt province of Thailand,'' was accentuated when torrential floods locked in many participants at the Adamas Resort at Nai Yang.

One of the honorary consuls at the meeting later told Phuketwan that the event was so significant that it may even be a ''turning-point in Phuket's history.''

The torrential downpour and the flooding that followed may mean a delayed start to this afternoon's ''mini-UN summit'' at Provincial Hall in Phuket City.

But the rain did not stop the German Ambassador, Dr Hanns H. Schumacher, delivering a blast about Phuket police especially.

''Changes cannot come unless Phuket is free of corruption and extortion,'' the hushed meeting heard.

The Foreign Ministry delegates appeared stunned by the onslaught from Dr Schumacher and others who regaled the meeting with tales of stand-over tactics by taxi drivers and tuk-tuks and other Phuket horror stories.

Dr Schumacher lashed Phuket police for failing to inform the German embassy of the deaths of German citizens until weeks later.

One honorary consul who heard what Dr Schumacher said told Phuketwan: ''It was a stellar performance.''

Dr Schumacher has been leading the charge for reform on Phuket since last year, when he was first stood up in March by the extra-busy newly-arrived Governor, Wichai Praisa-ngob.

In November, the two men met under more cheerful circumstances, with the governor agreeing to Dr Schumacher's suggestion for an innovative series of quarterly meetings.

Dr Schumacher is clearly upset at the lack of reform on Phuket. Back in March last year, this is what he told Phuketwan:

''I as well as other European ambassadors are about to investigate the situation that too frequently, our embassies are not informed when our nationals are either detained or die in an area of jurisdiction of any police district in Thailand.

''Thailand has signed the international convention on consular affairs and it has the legal commitment to inform the embassies as soon as possible.

''I understand that this is not so much a question of goodwill. The authorities in Bangkok are quite cooperative. But it has to go down, trickle down, to the local police authorities. This was an issue I would have loved to discuss with the governor.''

He later told Phuketwan that the problems were not particular to Phuket, and that Pattaya posed more problems in this regard.

But he did add that on the island, Patong police especially failed to inform embassies about arrests and deaths.

Today nothing had appeared to have changed - so Dr Schumacher gave the island's leaders and police both barrels.

His target this time was wider, with corruption now squarely in his sights - and it should be a lively gathering once this morning's participants reconvene at Provincial Hall this afternoon.
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Comments

Comments have been disabled for this article.

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Lets talk the truth about Patong and all the corruption that has to stop to make it a World Class Destination for tourism.

Posted by Grinning on August 23, 2010 14:38

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Well done that man.
We need more leaders with Ba--s

Posted by Lord Jim on August 23, 2010 14:42

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Oh, to have been a fly on the wall during that meeting.

Posted by Anonymous on August 23, 2010 17:28

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Sounds like someone finally had something to say, both barrels. But what do you expect to happen, since the people who control corruption are normally untouchable.

Posted by Tbs on August 23, 2010 19:11

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As long as the money flows upwards, the honorary consuls are basically asking many local politicians to stop lining their own pockets. Don't hold your breath on that one.

It's saddening. We have one of the most beautiful places on the planet turning into a two-bit hucksters' paradise. Five star tourists are increasingly going elsewhere and the emerging Asian market (emerging by necessity, as the wealthy tourists turn to destinations with decent planning laws, decent transport systems and better policing) will spend less.

Congrats, Phuket. You're on your way to turning the island into an insalubrious kip. And all the likes of the honorary consuls can do is to wait 10 years to shrug their shoulders and say "Well, we told you so."

Posted by Doug on August 23, 2010 21:00

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Well done Dr Schumaker, it's about time someone told the truth about the corruption in Patong and the rest of Phuket.if only the Phuket leaders have enough b..ls to follow and implement some of his ideas...lets hope so..

Posted by barka on August 23, 2010 22:15

Editor Comment:

I presume Phuket's many female leaders are allowed to implement some of his ideas too . . .

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Re your comment as a footnote to Barka's comment. As one of her cabinet once said of Margaret Thatcher "She's got bigger balls than any of us"

Posted by A. Skeptic on August 23, 2010 23:08

Editor Comment:

Perhaps she modelled herself on Phuket's heroine sisters?

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Since when do expats in Thailand have "leaders"? Sorry, ambassadors are government officials, not more.

Just as Thai police officials - so let our officials file a complaint against individual Thai officials if they fail to meet the standards of international treaties.

Posted by Martin on August 26, 2010 01:12

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@Martin
Expat communities have no leaders or active associations to talk to Thai Administration because it is nearly impossible to set up an official association by foreigners.
The few you have in Phuket are just business or charity associations and avoid to be critical to any local national administrations.
All fear an investigation by the Santiban (Thai FBI).
The Thai Government do not want those association able to sue local administrators and government agencies for wrongdoing by bringing up to public damaging stories.
Regularly, Phuketwan and other Thai online newspapers censors partially or fully our comments.
That is democracy! is not?

Posted by Whistle-Blower on August 26, 2010 10:41

Editor Comment:

Support from the Foreign Affairs department makes the honorary consuls on Phuket the closest thing that expat residents there have to leaders. Call them envoys if you prefer, but the channels of communication have been opened for the first time to give expats a voice. This is all about safety and security and the future of tourism, which is as it should be.


Monday July 6, 2020
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