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Phuket Police 'Still Hold Some Passports'

Phuket Police 'Still Hold Some Passports'

Tuesday, November 23, 2010
FOUR cases where police had allegedly held tourists' passports without cause or justification were reported yesterday to Phuket's Police Commander, Major General Pekad Tantipong.

The cases involved Irish, Norwegian, German and Australian tourists, the special ''Phuket Parliament'' at Provincial Hall in Phuket City was told.

Major General Pekad had told the meeting that all Phuket police stations had been told to report every case where a tourist's passport was held for alleged offences other than those involving drugs or violence.

He said that he had had no reports from police of passports being held in other circumstances in the three months since the previous gathering of honorary consuls.

However, four honorary consuls cited recent instances where their citizens claimed passports had been held without proper reason. Major General Pekad undertook to investigated the cases.

Germany's honorary consul, Dirk Naumann, said there was one case involving a German last week at Patong police station. Helene Fallon-Wood, the honorary consul for Ireland, said that in the case of one Irish citizen, police took a week to report the matter.

The Norwegian honorary consul's office also reported a case involving a Norwegian citizen.

Australian honorary consul Larry Cunningham said there had been a case involving an Australian who agreed to pay 250,000 baht compensation after a traffic accident, ''then the girlfriend of a policeman telephoned to say he had to pay 100,000 baht to get his passport back.''

At Kathu police station, the officer involved said there may have been ''a misunderstanding,'' Mr Cunningham said, and the claim for cash quickly vanished.

''Perhaps no cases are being reported but this may be what is going on,'' Mr Cunningham said.
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Comments

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I paid 20 000 THB to get my passport back last month - I know I'm not the only one. It happens every day in Phuket. (moderated) and it will continues like that in Phuket

Posted by Bob on November 23, 2010 22:07

Editor Comment:

Bob, What you should have done was contact your honorary consul, rather than paying the money. If it is happening every day, then there are many people who, like you, do not do the right thing at the right time.

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Ed - I agree with contacting the consul but come what may there's no details anywhere for the British one, not even on the Embassy website. Scope for a useful numbers dropdown somewhere on the site? I can imagine the blank look on a policeman's face if I'm ever in need of Mr Carpenter- a plumber will probably turn up!

Posted by Mister Ree on November 24, 2010 01:15

Editor Comment:

All of the honorary consuls have opted to become more visible in this ''Phuket model.'' The meetings have given tourists and expat residents a voice for the first time in a two-way exchange with local authorities. We will know that real change has arrived when the local police call in an honorary consul the minute they arrest anyone who needs to carry a passport. There are some neat little cards from the TAT that list all honorary consuls and embassies. That's probably the best solution. Only in our wildest dreams is it likely that police would allow an arrested tourist to log on to Phuketwan to check for an honorary consul's number. At least you know the name of your honorary consul. Spare a thought for those from countries without representatives on the island.

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Thanks for the info Ed, I'm sure myself and others appreciate it, just off to track down a nice TAT lady now. I was not insinuating that the BiB would allow me access to a computer, merely that THEY probably wouldn't call unless prompted. I guess I remain in the minority for making a suggestion that a list of useful numbers such as consuls, police, ambulances etc, somewhere on the site for people researching their holidays is superfluous. I apologise profusely for trying to be constructive.

Posted by Mister Ree on November 24, 2010 11:30

Editor Comment:

It's a good idea and a welcome one. We'll implement it as soon as we get a few other things sorted.


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