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Watch out taxi drivers, sex shows: Commander Ong-art Phiwruangnont

Commander Warns Taxis, Patong Sex Shows

Saturday, October 19, 2013
PHUKET: Phuket's new police commander says he intends to crack down on illegal taxi rip-offs and will send in volunteers disguised as tourists to catch scammers.

In a revealing interview, Major General Ong-art Phiwruangnont also said that the Thai Government has ordered the closure of all of Phuket's sex shows.

''I'll arrest everybody if they won't obey,'' Major General Ong-art told Phuketwan after a meeting at Phuket City's Crime Crisis Centre with top police from Bangkok and Phuket.

In a Q&A session in the aftermath of pop star Rihanna's extraordinary visit to Phuket and this week's arrest of the sex show owner, the commander made his view clear.

He forecast a different kind of Phuket - perhaps one of the reasons for his recent appointment. His comments will shock the lawless and be welcomed by most Phuket residents and expats.

What was today's meeting about?
It was about black [illegal] taxis. I will have some brochures created to warn all Phuket businesses to be concerned about the image of Thailand. I want to warn them not to be too greedy by intimidating the tourists, otherwise they might face the charge of extortion. All the taxi drivers who ask the tourists for 3000 baht or 5000 baht will surely be investigated. I'll send volunteers out disguised as tourists to catch and charge taxi drivers with extortion

Are you going to go in disguise too?
What nationality should I be? Cambodian perhaps, or maybe Lao (laughs). But they probably won't trust me because they know what I look like. We have to warn the drivers first, if they won't listen, then we have to be hooligans to catch hooligans. I plan to take care of that. I'm not afraid of anything. I've experienced a lot. I have one more year then I'll retire. I have to do it.

The government already insists "ABSOLUTELY NO SEX SHOWS", and at the conference meeting just now, Pol Gen Wut Liptapanlop [a senior Bangkok policeman] also said the same thing.

Absolutely no sex shows? Including the shows that aren't so revealing?
It depends on peoples' views. Some people may think it's artistry. But pulling things out [of an orifice] is too disgusting. But I think a topless show is reasonable for a tourism spot like Phuket. If I stop them, Phuket people might have a protest to clear me out of Phuket saying "This bastard stops all the tourism money to Phuket." We can't really do everything to enforce the law completely strictly. But don't worry, I believe the team and I can do enough.

So you will be stopping the sex shows?
About sex shows, if the police don't SPOIL them, if they arrest them right when they perform the show every time, how long can the sex show businesses last? If they can afford the fine, then go ahead. For example, if I arrest you for a sex show, the first time the court might fine you 10,000 baht. The second time you might have to go to jail. Then the third time you might have to stay in jail longer. That's how the court system runs. Police have the power.

Police have the power?
Of course. Otherwise the businesses won't dare do it.

Police spoil them?
I have already asked them to pick the appropriate targets. Just pick what you can target. Don't pick the whole thing. There are so many things at the buffet line, but pick what you can eat. Don't pick the unhealthy ones. If you eat and have diarrhea, are you still going to eat it? Right?

And what about Phuket's taxis?
I'll give brochures to all the resorts and warn them in person. And I have to ask police not to ask them for money. If anyone does that, I won't yield. I'll arrest everybody if they won't obey.

What about [Patong businessman] Prab Keesin?
His [media comments about corruption] came because he was angry at the police because they stopped him from things to do with his property business. Another person claimed that he was a representative of businesses, then another person claimed that he's an adviser. Then the press published it. May I ask you? Why do you guys in the press always destroy Phuket? When government people have a public release about positive things, why don't you guys publish it? You publish about local people having a public release. Always remember, until the last second, as long as I'm still the commander, I will not receive any money from anyone and I will not accept any invitation for any dining. I cook Isan food at home. I make sticky rice and fry dried beef. I eat very easy at home.

Phuketwan (old motto, ''Sweet Phuket, Every Day,'' new motto ''Brave Enough to Change Phuket'') always will be totally supportive of changes for the better on Phuket. All the news we publish is positive for Phuket's future.

Comments

Comments have been disabled for this article.

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One year before he retires. Not enough time to really make any difference.
Why does Phuket seem to get senior people nearing retirement rather than young up and comers who might get things done?

Posted by Arthur on October 19, 2013 08:11

Editor Comment:

Aren't you being a bit harsh, Arthur? Officers have to rise through the ranks before being considered for major appointments. A beginner probably would not deliver the things you want.

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I agree with Arthur, many officers get their assignments in Phuket just a year or two before their retirement. Not enough time to really make Big Changes.

Posted by Mj on October 19, 2013 08:41

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I hope that 4 pm till 10 pm will be suitable for him to have a look at the timeshare touts, because that is when they harass the people now. They call it " night booking "...

Posted by Charles on October 19, 2013 09:17

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Totally agree with Arthur too - a minimum of 3 years term should be assigned to help bring about effective change. You need a certain level of consistency..

Posted by Ciaran on October 19, 2013 09:48

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Where can I sign up to be a volunteer ?

There's an endless stream of scams and cheats I'd love to help reveal and stop.

I like what he says and I hope he backs up his words with action.

Posted by ThaiMike on October 19, 2013 09:58

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If he can start the ball rolling in the right direction it can make a difference. The sex shows are openly touted in front of Jungceylon every night (sometimes on JungCeylon property) cutting the marketing arm off is a good start to clean up the sleeze. Don't get me started on the "taxi" ranks in JungCeylon. Most dress in dirty tee shirts and are unprofessional towards the tourists.

Posted by Jacgem on October 19, 2013 10:29

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If he can get this done it will be wonderful! Phuket is so much more than ping pong shows but most Aussies think that's all there is. I have been 4 times and never been to a sex show, never had photos with exotic animals. Instead Ive been to the Gibbon Rehab Centre and Soi Dog volunteering. I love Phuket and enjoy the people and the food and the culture without exploiting anything (I hope).

Posted by Kellie on October 19, 2013 10:45

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the shows and taxi ripp offs being stopped again?...yeah right

Posted by sky on October 19, 2013 11:07

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Only officers of this age group can afford the Phuket post.If you know what I mean.

Posted by Rich on October 19, 2013 11:09

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One year isn't long when the last 20 years have made change impossible. As for ED's comments of "Rising through the ranks" I take it you understand how officers do rise through the ranks?
It's NOT like the West.

Posted by Tbs on October 19, 2013 11:30

Editor Comment:

Oh really?

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@Commander Ong-art Phiwruangnont.... Your my man!! i love the tone in ur voice here... u seems to get them "Ballas" it takes to get straight to action... u nonbeleivers have to clean of the dust in ur faces coz u start to get ugly.... even if its a hard goal to reach and one year is short. what do u know ? nothing. he straight pointing out the problems and are willing to risk everything to clean it.. even if he wont do anything he yet strongly point them out and admit Phuket have a problem.. more Good Thai people will follow... Go man Go!

Posted by Frog on October 19, 2013 12:15

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I sure like this guy!
Lets hope he is able to walk the talk.

And very relieved to hear the topless joints aren't considered sex shows.

Cheers

Posted by Concerned & Supportive on October 19, 2013 17:01

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Sounds nice. Give him a chance! If he stands for it its a good cop.

Posted by John on October 19, 2013 17:49

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Less talk, more action please.

Posted by Jakub on October 19, 2013 19:22

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@jakub...agree, would be nice instead with a monthly update that started like this : "this month the following was achieved..."

Posted by Sailor on October 19, 2013 20:23

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Got to agree with Kellie. Never been to a sex show, never had my picture taken with animals. Just enjoy Phuket for it's natural beauty but I do try t avoid the sleazier parts and wish they would just disappear.
Having said that love a drink in any of the bars and chatting or playing games with the bar girls.

Posted by Arthur on October 20, 2013 05:22

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Sadly, in the minds of many officials, saying something equates to it being done.
It's easy to come out with anything when you know that in a years time, you'll be retired, far away and totally unaccountable for previously announced intentions.

Posted by sir burr on October 20, 2013 08:18

Editor Comment:

A comment full of assumptions and lack of hope, sir burr. Why be so critical of a man you know nothing about? You wouldn't make assumptions about real people in real life. Yet you choose to apply guesswork online constantly. Such opinions have no value.

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Concur with Arthur everytime they get someone willing to do the right job he's near retirement list or transferred shortly after then the next guy comes along to reinvent the same wheel Commander thank you for your service enjoy your retirement.

Posted by slickmelb on October 22, 2013 01:48


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