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Venue owners are worried about demands for more graft killing Patong

Phuket Nightspots Threaten Three Day Strike Against Extra Corruption in Patong

Monday, November 10, 2014
PHUKET: Night venues and bars in Patong are threatening to close for three days from Friday in protest at extra claims for corrupt payments totalling 300,000 baht.

The planned ''strike'' comes at the start of the Asia Beach Games on Phuket with high season yet to kick in for Soi Bangla and other nightlife zones.

The venue owners say the takeover by the military from May 22 in Thailand was supposed to bring a reduction in corruption, not an increase.

It's known that more than 14 organisations take corrupt payments from Patong businesses but while he was mayor, strongman Pian Keesin kept other organisations from also demanding a cut.

All of the illicit graft is paid for by tourists. The extra payments boost the cost of a holiday and make Patong less competitive as a destination with rival holiday spots around the region.

The full extent of corruption by government agencies was revealed in October, 2010 at a remarkable public meeting at the football field opposite Loma Park when about 400 Patong residents turned out to hear Mayor Pian and venue spokespeople throwing up their hands saying, in effect: ''We can tolerate corruption, but anything beyond 14 organisations is just plain greedy.''

Mr Keesin, deposed in April, died in October.

Most venues in Patong are going through difficult times, with at least two nightspots for Russians closing and with takings at most outlets reported to be going down, not up.

Prime Minister, Prayuth Chan-ocha, who also heads the National Council for Peace and Order, has promised a campaign to end corruption in Thailand.

The Army's top-level representative on Phuket, Major General Somchai Ponatong, transferred to Nakhon Si Thammarat from November 1. Replacing him is Colonel Thrkarin Inntharakal.

Comments

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Went to Patong a couple weeks ago for the first time in almost a year. Ended up in Tai Pan, left at 7:00 am and the place was still packed. Bought a couple lady drinks....260 baht each! Almost $9.00 for a fruit juice...Guess staying open late costs money, but at $9.00 a drink, no problem.

Posted by Tim on November 10, 2014 09:07

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clear logic, business down, rates or bribes increase, makes sense no

Posted by wm on November 10, 2014 09:27

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hidden cameras taking payments then present to army easy to buy spy camera in patong watches pens etc

Posted by Michael on November 10, 2014 10:01

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Will be fun to see this happening. Actually it is a protest against police corruption, police not enforce bar closing times. On the other hand, Bars than have to close at official closing time and loose a lot of money. Closing legally 01:00 Am, or being still open at 07:00AM and pay tea money, that makes a difference in earnings! Interesting times.

Posted by Kurt on November 10, 2014 10:18

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The reason they have to pay bribes is that they are running illegal businesses, with illegal opening times. It's difficult to sympathise with law breakers complaining about bribes going up. here is an idea, don't break the law and you won't have to pay any bribe. Amazing right?
Also, i think the kind of tourist that frequents the Patong night life (white, single, whoring) are getting fewer. The typical russian and chinese tourists come in groups and as couples to a much larger extent. They might go to see some sex show or whatever, but they won't drink the night away with hookers and end up at (illegal) Tai Pan at 7 in the morning.

Posted by christian on November 10, 2014 10:22

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Patong is reaping what it sawed. Corruption breeds just.more corruption. The greedy owners corrupted the authorities and worked hard to get not corrupt officials transferred or corrupt. Staying open? Safety building codes? Monopolies? Foreign workers w/o permit? Touts? Shooting Germans? Using the sewage canals? Encroaching on Public land? Hight ruling? You name it. All no problem. Good the costs get up. everyone likes a free lunch and school tuition for the kids I s rising also. Still enough tourists to feed the bill. Otherwise the trafficking business is a growth star.

Posted by Lena on November 10, 2014 10:45

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@michael It is impossible to do that.
If you rat anyone out, especially with video evidence, what do you think will happen to you and your business/family?

Who is going to protect you? The people you just caught on camera?

If you don't play ball, you will have many problems.

Posted by Tbs on November 10, 2014 11:39

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and they should get a reward for showing the corrupt officials if not start posting the videos with anonymous names on all the social media websites that will soon get the govenrments attention

Posted by Michael on November 10, 2014 11:56

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Michael - hidden cameras to catch extortionists. Criminals don't tend to treat 'rats' very well. The next payment may be someone's life. If it were that easy the establishments would have done that or stopped paying long ago. There are supposedly 14 different organization that get paid off...better hope they ALL get pinched or things will never change or will get worse.

Posted by Tyler on November 10, 2014 12:29

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I nearly fell down laughing. They are going to organize 3 day strike when they moan about having to close for Buddha days, elections, etc.

As many state already, Patong reaps what it sows. If the businesses were legit & were operating within the law, they wouldn't be open to bribery & corruption on the scales suggested.

I also was told by some Thai 'business' people in Patong a few years back, "soon we won't need you westerners as there will be plenty of Russians here to take over".

Be careful what you wish for!

Posted by Logic on November 10, 2014 13:23

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The whole plan is stupid along the lines of "if you don't stop hitting me i will hit myself" but to be honest in part cannot blame them.

Besides the obvious problem of corruption the underlining problem is far to many 'organisations' have the power to affect business operating hours, thus giving them the power to demand payments. No where else do i know of could so many order the closure of business just because they feel like showing off their power (which has been happening this last week)

An unworkable, damaging and largely ignored law like the current official closing times leads to only one thing, corruption

Posted by Lashay on November 10, 2014 14:02

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Yes Logic, But if there are people who, from Buddhist view, know that everything in life is just temporarily than it are the thai.Even the Russians will go ( seems Russia has financial problems with the Roebel value)

Posted by Kurt on November 10, 2014 14:14

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"The tourist business in Phuket has become more reliant on Russians in recent years. "

While hotels and tour operators have become reliant on Russians, nightlife has not as besides the odd Russian place (now even fewer of them) Russians are barely to be seen in bars/nightclubs. 7-11 and walking up and down Bangla to gawk at girls is more their scene

Actual due to general dislike of Russians by other tourists who encounter them elsewhere (beach/restaurants/tours) a massive drop in Russian numbers is a welcome thing to the nightlife industry. Maybe hotel prices will now drop making Phuket a more attractive destination to tourists who do actually partake and more importantly, spend on nightlife activities

Posted by Lashay on November 10, 2014 14:24

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things are not that easy brothers and sisters. first of allsomeone say " if u cloose at 1am u wouldnt have to bribe".. u dont only pay for illegal activity u just pay for not have a problem with just anything they could find out or create.. it is as protection money... also its just not very useful statement coz the law is not working very good for tourists about cloosingtime1 am, u cloose patong at 1am and u will loose to much customers so even 7/11 would be ruined... But the thing no ones seems to see here is that if the police weren't corrupt the would not even think about leaving home and friends and family for working on a plain police salary in a place like phuket... YES it do gets over the head greedy but it is money we talking about here not much is more needed for people... som unless the government covers the coasts that corruption gives , at least make a huge different , not much will happens about it.. and rat the police out is just funny to hear.... u can if u wanna have problem that u cant take... ur business will be ended instantly to start with... the police are not more greedy than the landlords .... its the rents and keymoney for premises thats are the big problem for the price of a drink... not the police tea money... / Resident 10 year.

Posted by frog on November 10, 2014 14:33

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"Three Day Strike" - it'll never happen.

Next story please.

Posted by Smithy on November 10, 2014 14:55

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3 day strike?....will never happen...right on the doorstep to high season yet. yeah right..miss out on an opportunity to make money...who is supposed to feel the repercutions of a strike anyway?

Posted by sky on November 10, 2014 16:09

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I disagree....

Posted by Anonymous on November 10, 2014 18:38

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I distinctly remember people saying the same last time only to be proved wrong!!

Posted by sharp on November 10, 2014 18:48

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I think the trend is more to closing bars and late night venues all over Thailand. Even in Pattaya there are empty bars sprouting up everywhere! A bit off the subject, but I live in one of the busiest tourist regions of Europe, and this year there was a very strong drop in Russian tourists due to the weak rouble. Also a strong drop in European tourists who have their own problems at home. The trend now is towards short time tourists, they fly in and fly out, sometimes staying 6 nights, sometimes a long weekend. It is up to us in the tourist trade to adapt. If Thailand does not adapt then who knows what can happen.First, they have to put a stop to all the negative publicity that fill the papers here, murders, jet ski scams, taxi prices , and then clean up the filthy drains and smells that have every tourist holding his nose!

Posted by Elizabeth on November 10, 2014 19:22

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''We can tolerate corruption, but anything beyond 14 organisations is just plain greedy.''

Why is 14 acceptable anyway, or even 1? Because it is entrenched in the system and culture, that's why.

My Thai wife says the only way to fix corruption in Thailand is to wait until all corrupt people die, and start all over again with the children..a pipe-dream..

"Don't touch my rice pot!"

Posted by farang888 on November 10, 2014 23:24

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farang888

Seing that almost everybody here have bern involved in at least petty bribe paying (traffic police for example) thar would mean a whole lot of people having to die first, like ALL the people. Including your wife probably

Posted by christian on November 11, 2014 09:24


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