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Patong always welcomes the US Navy: the hard part is getting there

Phuket Police Intervene in US Navy, Local Taxi Dispute

Thursday, March 24, 2011
PHUKET police were called to intervene in a dispute between US Navy personnel and local taxi drivers at Phuket's deep sea port this week.

Tuesday's rumpus at Ao Makham was described today as a ''negotiating snafu'' by a spokesperson for the US Embassy, who said the disagreement involved a price misunderstanding.

It is believed the row was quickly resolved after police intervened - unlike the taxi and tuk-tuk blockades that took place in three previous disputes involving US Navy personnel.

News of the dispute reached a welcoming party where the Commander of USS Decatur, Shanti Sethi, and other crew from the destroyer were being entertained in Patong by member of the Phuket Navy League.

Back in June last year, a US representative - Douglas H. Robinson, Chief, Navy Security, Force Protection Detachment - was assured by then Phuket Vice Governor Treerayut Eamtakul that there would be no fourth incident, and that Phuket felt a ''sense of shame'' about what had happened in the three blockades.

A special committee was to be set up to ensure there was no repetition.

At the time, the vice governor said the drivers involved in the disputes felt the local van drivers were getting some business, but that the taxi drivers were not.

It is believed that similar rancor was behind Tuesday's dispute.

Mr Robinson said last year after meeting with the vice governor for 40 minutes: ''We understand the taxi drivers have a livelihood and they do get business from our sailors on Phuket. One thing that the US Navy does and will continue to do is to provide transport for our sailors as a courtesy from the port [at Cape Panwa on the east coast] to Patong and back.

''After that, the sailors then have the opportunity to use taxis to go anywhere on the island that they want to go.''

Earlier in 2010, a cruise line company had complained in a similar way to then Governor Wichai Praisa-ngob about the objectionable behavior of tuk-tuk and taxi drivers at Phuket's deep sea port.

The cruise liner Queen Mary 2 is due to anchor off Phuket on Sunday. Another luxury vessel, Silver Spirit, is due on April 6.

Both may anchor in Patong Bay to avoid the deep sea port taxi drivers.
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Comments

Comments have been disabled for this article.

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Impound a few taxis and see how fast the problem goes away.

Posted by mikey on March 24, 2011 22:38

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Perhaps it's actually time to start the process of eliminating Phuket as a stop altogether and focus on a different location, either in Thailand or elsewhere.

Posted by JingJing on March 25, 2011 00:19

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>Both may anchor in Patong Bay to avoid
>the deep sea port taxi drivers.

The ones in Patong are not much better, same destination, same price, independent of the distance, I fear.

Posted by Fritz Pinguin on March 25, 2011 00:50

Editor Comment:

The fare to Patong is a lot lower, Fritz.

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If they anchor off Patong they may not need to use any tuk tuks at all, and that's the point, I guess.

Posted by Nick on March 25, 2011 04:24

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How many times must the [Vice] Governor feel a 'sense of shame' ?
It really is shameful that the Police YET AGAIN have to intervene in situations like this.
Meters in taxis and tuk-tuks will make people feel like they are not being ripped off. Is the solution really that hard?

Posted by Mr Man on March 25, 2011 06:29

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So now there will not be a '5th time'. At least the police came and did SOMETHING about this.

Posted by Jon on March 25, 2011 09:39

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The US Navy should go somewhere else, somewhere they are treated better. The people driving cars and tuk tuks do not deserve the business of the US military personnel.

Posted by Phuket Kop on March 25, 2011 13:17

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"How many times must the [Vice] Governor feel a 'sense of shame' ?"

I think most Phuket residents are ashamed of their taxis and tuk-tuk colleagues' behavior.

Posted by Martin on March 25, 2011 14:34

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"Shame" That's a good word.

I believe we ALL feel ashamed of the taxi/tuk tuk service on this island.

And probably always will. (and THAT'S a shame!)

Posted by fidler on March 26, 2011 09:24

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Phuket Kop
its not so easy to go somewhere else. You see, there are not that many places with the amount of sleaze and hookers to cover the needs of the sailors, brimming with pent up demand for you know what. Its Patong, or maybe Pattaya.

Posted by christian on March 26, 2011 15:36

Editor Comment:

christian, it's time you moved into the 21st century. Even once pure Singapore has wall-to-wall prostitution these days. Or are you reflecting your own simple desires?

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Are you comparing Singapore to Patong? Sex built Patong, and its still probably the singel biggest "industry" and THE major draw for people who go there. Are you denying this this is the case? If you think Singapore has the same reputation internationally as either Patong or Pattaya then you are very missinformed. I have been to Singapore on many occasions, and I can't recall walking down some street with katoeys showing of their "wares" in public as can be seen on Bangla rd every night..Wall to wall prostitution? Ha ha ha! That's a total joke. Just look at the photo you supply with this article. I guess you think those girls sitting under the banner are working for some investment bank, singapore style? Tss tss

Posted by christian on March 26, 2011 21:24

Editor Comment:

Am I denying it? Absolutely. Geylang in Singapore is notorious, and caters for two million foreign workers . . . plus many Singapore men. You can count and compare, Christian, but it is not prostitution that brings most people to Phuket. You insult the vast majority of visitors. Clearly, you don't get far beyond Bangla.

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Ed

And if I had some "desires," it would be highly improbable i would write a comment reflecting a less than positive view of Patong, don't you think? You are totally illogical in trying to make me out to be victim of my "desires"..But on the other hand, since you seem to think Patong is a place comparable to Singapore, and so are trying to paint a positive image of what I consider a disgusting city, ruining the image of the island, I guess you are the one with "desires".

Posted by christian on March 26, 2011 21:36

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Ed,
Even though I live in Kathu, and only need to drive 10 minutes to get to Patong, I visit sin city maybe once per month, tops. And if you care to read my post I talk about Patong specifically..And NOT about all of Phuket. So I don't insult some "vast majority" of visitors at ALL. I work in the tourism industry by the way, and we always need to inform customers as to what to expect if they take a walk in Patong during the night, that is, rampant prostitution, sleaze and sex tourism. It's unavoidable..I am one of the persons who's job it is to promote Phuket. The company I work actually bring more than 2000 customers per week to the island in the high season. We are informing visitors what a lovely experience a holiday here can be..That is, as long as they avoid Patong. Patong is what it is, dirty, often flooded, overdeveloped.. A place in a permanent state of environmental crisis, potholed, corrupt, even dangerous, and just a not very representative place for the island of Phuket. Now, if you think Patong should be what Phuket is all about, keep that opinion to yourself, and don't get me involved in it. I NEVER wrote about Phuket, only about Patong. Understand? Patong and Patong only.

Posted by christian on March 26, 2011 23:23

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An interesting comment Christian and just goes to prove how out of touch you are with the modern US Navy. These guys are so pumped full of the horrors of going with ladies of the night the majority are too scared to dabble - even thought they should be allowed to enjoy themselves ashore. i can assure you they set far better standards of behavior than other national groups who honor us with their presence.

Posted by Mister Ree on March 26, 2011 23:43

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Phuket is for washed up white men that couldn't get a second look from women in Eurabia but now think themselves studs because any street walking lady-boy in Thailand will **** them. The rest are pedos!

Posted by Frank on March 27, 2011 09:02

Editor Comment:

Frank, for a moment there, I thought you were trying to be provocative.

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Mr Ree
Have you ever been to Patong in the middle of the night when the navy is on a visit? Sure, their behavior might have improved, but the usual news about "an extra large number of women" travelling to Phuket because of the arriving US Navy tell the tale. Last time around it was reported that the police was worried about "an influx of a large number of katoeys in the days before the US Navy arrived"..See the connection?

Posted by christian on March 27, 2011 12:47

Editor Comment:

For a man who says he seldom visits Patong, you sure know a lot. Or are you just pretending to know, christian? And why your apparent fascination with katoeys?

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Ed

Your insinuation that I am "fascinated" with Katoeys, and likewise that I'm a whoremonger is getting very tiresome. It was in the news, get it? Well well, to refresh your memory why not take a look here: http://phuketwan.com/tourism/patong-police-pounce-katoeys-mass-arrest-12935/

Seems you are vey fascinated with katoeys?

Posted by christian on March 27, 2011 13:11

Editor Comment:

You seem prepared to continue to insinuate that the US Navy comes to Phuket/Patong for sex even if you find insinuation about yourself tiresome. Is that fair?

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Dear ED,
really I cant understand why u sometimes wanna be so hypocrite.. All the man that come alone in Patong at the end wanna stay with a lady (lady bar or free lancers). If not is cause someone prefers Katoyes or gays.. Come on!!!!

Posted by dave on March 27, 2011 15:19

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ED
Are you the spokesperson of the US Navy? Work there? Have experience of what happens when they are on R&R? I replied to another post, and then you start insulting pe personally? Why do you feel its ok to insult me on behalf of the biggest military power in the world? If you dont agree then just say so, personal smear attacks is totally uncalled for.

Posted by christian on March 28, 2011 10:40

Editor Comment:

True, which is why you should start treating the US Navy as individuals, with a greater variety of tastes than you seem to appreciate. If I was going to insult you, christian, instead of just responding in kind to your unfair sweeping criticisms, you would know all about it.

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@ christian. You should really lighten up on the Editor, I may disagree with him from time to time, but he is spot on his comments posted. I, by the way, am Retired US Navy, 21 years of service, I do know what liberty (not called R&R in the Navy) was like in the 80's and what it has evolved to now, and it is not what you perceive it to be.

Posted by Lee on March 28, 2011 12:15

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Lee

Ok, so that makes it ok for the ED to write not so subtle hints describing me as having a preference for Transexuals and being a whoremonger? And twisting my comments about Patong specifically to mean the whole Island of Phuket? Putting words in my mouth, claiming I write things that I never wrote? Yeah, thats exaclty spot on...Sure. Personal attacks from the ED? Yeah, spot on too. And I (!) should "go easy on the editor"? When I was debating the issue, and he insisted on adding sly remarks about me personally? So thats your idea of "fairness"? Ok...

Posted by christian on March 28, 2011 12:40

Editor Comment:

Your idea of fairness appears to be limited to you, christian. My comments reflected your slight on the US Navy, nothing more. There are plenty of resort staff in Patong who really should correct your false impressions about tourists who visit Patong, too. Don't assume that if you happen to be preoccupied by sex, everybody else is.

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It should be noted that the Commanding Officer of this particular US Navy ship is a woman and on board as I believe reported by Phuket Wan was a sizable percentage of women.

Perhaps Phuket is a more desirable destination then Pattaya as there are many things to do besides bar girls.

Posted by Vfaye on March 28, 2011 14:30

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@ Christian - bearing in mind I live in Patong i am around when the Navy is in town - as for the middle of the night they normally have a 0001 curfew to be back on ship. I also take umbrage at your jaded view of Patong and you are welcome to stay away apart from your occasional forays. Some of us live their quite happily without immersing ourselves in the seamier side of things (on a regular basis). By your insinations the female Anglo-Indian captain of the ship is a sex tourist on the hunt for katoeys - I'm sure she would beg to differ!!

Posted by Mister Ree on March 30, 2011 21:57

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They do bungee jumping. Please reload the fotos!

Posted by Lena on March 31, 2011 01:56


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