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Region 8 Police Commander, Major General Panya Mamen

Police to Free Taxi Drivers from 'Powerful'

Friday, November 8, 2013
PHUKET: Tuk-tuk and taxi drivers will face police action if Patong's beach road is not cleared and functioning normally by the end of November, Region 8 Police Commander Major General Panya Mamen said yesterday.

He also said that Phuket police must stop supporting ''powerful people'' - the leaders of taxi and tuk-tuk ranks - and change their approach.

For years, tuk-tuks and cars and motorcycles for hire have taken out all the parking spaces in Patong's Taweewong Road, slowing traffic.

Major General Panya said it was his intention to clear the roads along Patong's beachfront and to have Phuket police establish a presence on the beaches.

''I want tourists to know that the law in enforced on Phuket,'' he told Phuketwan yesterday. ''I want them to know that police will be wherever they go.

''Officers will become a visible presence on the sand and we will have billboards that give the numbers 191 for police and 1155 for Tourist Police.''

The commander said he had told all Phuket police to stop supporting ''powerful people'' - including the taxi and tuk-tuk rank leaders.

''We will be doing our research on these people,'' he said. ''We will be checking their records, and they better not be carrying weapons, legal or illegal.

''We will be telling the subordinates that these people have no real power. We will be finding possible replacements for these people.

''We will be ending this sense of privilege that these people appear to enjoy.''

When asked if there was corruption in the force he said: ''It can be anyone who works for the government, but yes, that includes police.''

He said he could see that the taxi and tuk-tuk business provided jobs for drivers but added: ''That doesn't mean they can just do what they want.''

The commander said he would employ the same techniques he had used in Udonthani to undermine the local rank leaders and diminish their power.

He would do this with the help of a revived Phuket police force, he said.

''In the past, these taxi problems could have been settled by local police officers. They were not a big problem.

''These days, because the problems have been allowed to grow, it's up to commanders and superintendents to fix them.''

He said all of Phuket's police superintendents have been told to fix Phuket's problems.

''If you can't fix it, then you should be moved, you shouldn't stay where you are,'' he said he has told them.

His aim, he said, was to change attitudes and to liberate the tuk-tuk and taxi drivers so that they could pick up and set down passengers all over Phuket . . . ''wherever they want.''

Comments

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" Phuket Police to Free Tuk-Tuk, Taxi Drivers From 'Powerful People "

Mmkey - and when those powerful people happen to be police officers, then what ?


''That doesn't mean they can just do what they want.''

Well, that's precisely how it's been for as long as I can remember (9y+).

''If you can't fix it, then you should be moved "

Uhm, so far those who attempted to solve this issue have been moved before they could fix it.

I sure hope history does not repeat itself.

Best of luck. At least you are willing to try for which you have my gratitude and respect.

Posted by ThaiMike on November 8, 2013 17:12

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This all sounds good but I just don't see it happening...well at least for quite awhile..the tuk tuk guys will come up with some kind of argument to postpone or delay being moved and all of this will just wash over into another year....I have always thought about this large open area accross from Jungceylon (backside) between JJ Plaza and that new hotel currently under construction accross from banzaan market.where the bumper cars were last year..They should just pave it over and use it as a holding area where all tuk tuks and taxis can park and wait to be dispatched to wherever they are needed...at the same time , at various selected locations around town you can have just 2 or 3 tuks tuks waiting for fares...and as one gets selected...another will be called from the dispatch area to take its place

Posted by sky on November 8, 2013 17:45

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Once again you comment before reading Thaimike- he clearly admits above that there are bad apples in the police and wants to change it. Why not give the guy a chance- if he is moved on early it will because he IS urinating in the right people's ears. at least at the end of your comment you did give him the benefit of the doubt though- all power to you.

Posted by Mister Ree on November 8, 2013 17:47

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Absolotely spot on.This man have the guts to stand up against the powerful people on phuket. Of course he knows who they are. Not so many know how the political system is built on phuket with the leaders in the old Thai villagesystem that still is in controll. I would be happy to see this man confront one of the strongest villageleader that has control over all the taxibusiness in the village where phuket airport was happened to be built. Also the phu yai ban in kata and karon needs a visit. Unfortunally he can NEVER get to them. NEVER. Just one example, what happened to the brothers that got pointed out for freud outside jungceylon? Oh, they got in better positions. Hmmm. i saw a picture in PW during that cirkus and i tell you i would never stand up against those guys in the photo that stood up behind him. That would be suicidel.

Posted by One Expat 14 years on November 8, 2013 18:18

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So can we have a telephone number so we can report and get them moved directlyyyyy

Posted by Sharp on November 8, 2013 19:32

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Great news, yet hype and new deadlines really aren't anything new, we've heard it all before a hundred times. Phuket beaches need approachable multi-lingual safety liaison officers. Not plodding Thai police clad head to toe scaring the life out of tourists.

Posted by gee on November 8, 2013 19:32

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It'll be interesting who gets moved first: the tuk tuks or the Police Commander!

Posted by jimbo on November 8, 2013 21:27

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He is lucky there is no mafia in phuket, otherwise his family may be threatened.

Posted by surang on November 8, 2013 22:20

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Some time ago - but not too long - some strong man of a nearby province was killed by a hit team presumeable paras. One could say, he had it coming. You do not f*** with the real important people, no matter how strong you feel and how much governance money was paid. Being a constant embarrassment is not helping.

Posted by Lena on November 8, 2013 23:04

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@Jimbo
I think, I know it.
But I hope, I'm wrong.

Posted by Anonymous on November 9, 2013 02:42

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The reality is that the important people want something done. By important, I mean the Thai investors in some of the larger resorts including one former heavy duty Bangkok politician who's "family" owns valuable real estate along the beach road. PW has run stories on how guests at some upscale hotels have been threatened or the hotels have been subject to illegal blockades. These hotels are not without influence in Bangkok and they've been demanding for years that action be taken. Yes, there are some local people who consider themselves powerful. However, just as the Mafia in Las Vegas lost their position when the big corporations flexed their muscles, so too will it happen in Patong. The days of tuk tuk drivers threatening a multi billion dollar company are about to end. There is too much money invested in Patong to allow the current situation to continue.

Posted by Ryan on November 9, 2013 10:50

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Good to hear that "maybe" someone has finally grown some balls! with the DSI now silent I just hope he does not have to go it alone. He's not a young chap what do you think his chances are of "retiring early"?? Seems to be the MO of all these guys....make a load of promises, fail miserably and then either shift to another province or retire. Lets hope for the best.....but as history shows prepare for the worst
Tom

Posted by Tom on November 9, 2013 11:10

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- Mister Ree

I read just fine, thank you.

Admitting there may be corruption among the police does not address the issue of sending local police to catch corrupt local police.

I don't know if Thailand even has a Internal Affairs Bureau in their police force but as is commonplace in developed nations, if any misconduct by police officers is suspected, the investigation is turned over to IAB.

The local police force is removed from any part of those investigations to ensure the integrity of such proceedings.

If a department is known to be corrupt, what's the point in sending it to investigate itself and expect it to find evidence it's indeed corrupt ?

Posted by ThaiMike on November 9, 2013 12:13

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Come to se the "tuk tuk" invasion in Bangla road at 4 o'clock a.m. Even walking cannot pass!!!!

Posted by dave on November 10, 2013 13:09


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