Phuket Police Volunteers Stop Work over Patong Snub, Scams and Cams: Expats Being Ignored
By Alan Morison and Chutima Sidasathian
Tuesday, March 10, 2015
PHUKET: Region 8 expat police volunteers - the frontline protectors of tourists in Patong - have stopped work in protest at the contemptuous attitude of Phuket police.
The 35 men and women who usually patrol Soi Bangla and beach road in daylight and after dark opted to go on strike from Thursday when the Patong police commander snubbed them by turning up 90 minutes late for a meeting.
It has been four months since senior police last met with the volunteers, Phuketwan
''The expat volunteers are fed up at the way in which corruption and inefficiencies are tolerated by the police in Patong,'' a source told Phuketwan
''Tourists usually rely on the volunteers for protection. Regular police are only seen in tourist areas after dark if they are called in.''
The latest indication of lack of respect by Patong police comes as Phuket's Governor Nisit Jansomwong also continues to ignore the holiday island's honorary consuls.
The envoys have been requesting the resumption of regular meetings since he arrived in October last year.
''Standards for tourists have been going downhill rapidly lately,'' said one consul, who preferred to remain anonymous.
The envoy told Phuketwan
: ''The views of the most important people on the island - the tourists who bring the money that provides all the revenue and even the extra cash for corrupt payments - are no longer being considered.
''The good relationship and understanding that developed over the years through regular meetings is being blown away.
''What the governor hears these days is a one-sided account from the people who want the tourists' money.''
Listening to the views of tourists and expats now appears to be a low priority.
The strike by the highly-regarded police volunteers seems set to continue until someone in a senior position listens to what they have to say.
Once news of their stop-work reaches international media, Phuket's reputation as a vastly improved safe destination for visitors is likely to be damaged.
Among the issues that the volunteers say the police won't talk about are the jet-ski scams, which the volunteers say continue to occur - especially now that large sections of Patong beach have been given over exclusively to jet-skis and parasail speedboats.
They also say other scams have been reported involving people who offer legal representation at Kathu Police Station while tourist suspects are being interviewed.
''Security cameras in Soi Bangla are turned the wrong way in some places to hide what's going on,'' Phuketwan
''There is also the need for cameras on the beaches to catch the jet-ski scammers and one officer who is part of the scam.''
The clearance of illegal commercial activities by the Army and the Navy from Phuket's beaches last year is seen by honorary consuls as a wonderful step forward for the holiday island.
But many of them see the confusion caused by the vendors since, together with the banning of beach chairs and BYO umbrellas, as a sign that Phuket's appeal is already being undermined all over again.
was unable yesterday to contact senior police in Patong for a comment.
Comments have been disabled for this article.
It shows that the volunteers not only have ethics and morals, but, a spine as well.
All power to them.
March 10, 2015 08:29
"tolerared" - erh, probably another verb is more suitable here
I wonder why they are not on payroll, and should support tourism money-making machine in a charity way..?
Doesn't Phuket, that generate 1/3 of the tourism revenue of the Kingdom, don't have enough funds for it? If so, it's worth to remind that half of hotels (nog guest houses) are not properly licensed and thus evaded provincial hotel tax as % from revenue.
Overall, tourism police volunteers has been exploited to big extent as a fig leaf over never ending vices.
March 10, 2015 08:36
We wholeheartedly with the volunteers from the tourist police.
Finally they say what all think but dare not say.
Hopefully all travel agencies warn their customers and that the bad reputation goes around the world. It is only so thats things will change.
Hopefully the group that manages water sports is eliminated!
March 10, 2015 09:10
bring the army back.civilian rule is dominated by corruption and avoidance.
March 10, 2015 09:11
The contempt for the Tourist Police and visitors by the Police is not confined to Phuket. A British couple arrived in Khao Lak last week for a four week stay, went out for their first dinner in the evening, returned to their bungalow to find the in-room safe supplied by the resort had been broken into and all their cash (Euros and THB), passports, valuables and traffic documents had been stolen. They summoned the owner who said it was not his responsibility but their fault for using his safe. When they argued he became aggressive threatened to strike the lady guest and told them to leave as they couldn't pay the balance of their rent. They went to the local restaurant owned by a Brit and Thai wife for help who summoned the recently formed Tourist Police who referred it to the Police. They arrived at the bungalow took some photos and fingerprints and left refusing to do anything further. The restaurant owner helped the couple obtain emergency passports, copy travel documents and contact their insurers who said they were not covered for money or valuables as they were in the safe and that is owner's responsibility. The restaurant owner, being fluent in Thai, went to the Police Station and took the new Chief to the scene on his car (as the one police car was broken down!) where they found how the thieves had entered and where they had probably watched the couple leave but said he could no more and agreed the resort owner was not liable. The couple are now back in UK, disillusioned, disgusted, vowing never to return to Thailand and to warn anyone they spoke to not to do so also. Do the Police care or are they even aware how their indifference/negligence affects the reputation of their own country ?!?
March 10, 2015 09:15
Things happen when Thailand tourism is dominated by just one single nation who is extremely happy to be here on a 5-days chartered trip and spend a whole lot more money on things that neither expats nor tourists from rest of the world have ever been interested in, plus more.
Thai tourism industry has never seen any better days in its entire history! Has anyone seen so many full loaded tour busses ever?
Some bars may have lost their usual income but just move a bit from the beaches and bars and check around the island and you will find it over crowded. See how money is spent and how Thai economy is blooming.
There are no need for any follow-up (?) meetings .. no more annoying "Questions & answers" sessions .. no need to convince anyone that it's safe here .. there are at least a couple of billions who are waiting to come here.
March 10, 2015 09:26
I think it's naive to think that things will change overnight. Expats must have realised this at the time they took the post. I have always regarded foreigners (including myself) as a 'cash cow' nothing more. The belief that foreigners have any influence over matters concerning Thailand is sheer fantasy.
I was once told by a high ranking official, that Thais do not acknowledge us, nor do they consider us part of their community. Farang are mere visitors (guest), nothing more.
This is true, foreigners will never get a foothold in the country, and law will see to it that this view is firmly upheld.
March 10, 2015 09:51
although the incident is more than unpleasant, but realistically - how one can hope for a quick restitution of property stolen?
Yes, police theoretically can trace thief and catch them fast, but, again, realistically it is more exception than a rule.
Yes, guests have a civil claim on a hotel, but they have to court to enforce , see below.
Even more, a hotel responsibility for "valuables" by the law is just 5,000THB.
In Europe, there is Hotel-keepers liability convention, that effectively provides unlimited liability only for valuables deposited with the front desk - and these valuable should be counted and recorded, so in real life no liability for what is in the in-room safe as a guest can't prove its content.
In Thailand if you deposit in similar way valuables with front desk yes you get unlimited protection under CCC 675:2 than just keeping it in room safe - actually, you hardly have any real protection for your money in Thailand hotel unless is deposited like that.
Alternative measures are to keep old fashioned traveller's checks and carry at least one credit card in your pocket .
The excellent explanation of all aspects of such situation in Thailand is made by DFDL Tax and Legal
"On occasion a guest's property is either damaged or lost (stolen) when left in their room, in which case it becomes a question of liability. Who is responsible for those lost or damaged goods and to what extent? This question is addressed within Thailand???s Civil and Commercial Code in a chapter on ???Special Rules for Innkeepers.????? Section 674 begins with the general principle that: ???the proprietor of an inn, hotel, or other such place is liable for any loss or damage to the property which the traveler or guest lodging may have brought with him.????? The next section goes on to state that even if the loss or damage occurred as a result of a ???stranger,????? i.e. not a guest, coming into the inn, hotel, or other such place, the proprietor is still liable. These sections are reinforced by Supreme Court case 5005/2540 from 1997, in which a proprietor was held liable even though there was an exclusionary clause waiving liability for damaged or lost property in a registration form. If you are reading this article in your hotel room you might see on the back of the door a sign stating that the hotel cannot be held liable for lost or stolen goods, which then leads you to wonder if a proprietor can still be held liable despite a sign stating the contrary? According to Section 677 of the Civil and Commercial Code, ???A notice posted in the inn, hotel, or other such place excluding or limiting the liability of the proprietor is void unless the traveller or guest expressly agreed to such exclusion or limitation of liability.????? Savvy readers of this section will then rightfully inquire as to the meaning of ???expressly.????? Do you expressly agree just by staying in the room? The answer is no. This is a common misperception of hotel guests in Thailand. Just because a sign is posted, does not mean it is the law. There must be adequate evidence that the traveller expressly agreed to the waiver of liability, and the waiver must not be considered an ???unfair contract term????? under the Unfair Contract Terms Act. An unfair contract term includes one in a standard form contract (such as a hotel registration form) giving the party presenting the contract an unreasonable advantage over the other party, and is only enforceable to the extent that it is fair and reasonable in the circumstances. The Unfair Contract Terms Act lists exclusions or limitations on liability resulting from breach of contract as an example of a contract term that can be unfair, and adds that if there is any doubt, a standard form contract is to be interpreted against the party presenting the contract. In the case we mentioned above, the exclusionary language in the registration form was insufficient; that result was however fact specific, and it may be possible that the right language, in the right format, font and color, in a signed registration form could be sufficient to evidence the traveller???s assent to a fair and reasonable waiver of liability. A separate signed waiver of liability form, or a registration form in which the traveller expressly initials the waiver of liability section, may be even more likely to be upheld. Upon discovery of the loss or damage to the property of a guest not deposited with the proprietor for safekeeping, the guest must inform the proprietor upon becoming aware of the loss or damage. Failing to do so absolves the proprietor from any liability. The proprietor is also not responsible for loss or damage caused by a force majeure (e.g. an earthquake). Further, neither the guest nor any person invited into the hotel room by the guest, must have been at ???fault????? in respect of the loss or damage. Query, for instance, whether the guest would be considered at fault if he or she left the hotel room door unlocked. If a guest does want to claim that the proprietor is liable for the loss or damage of his property, he must do so within six months from the departure of the guest from the lodging place. The proprietor is liable for the entire value of any property that is lost or damaged except in the case of gold, currency, bonds, shares, warrants, jewels, or other????? valuables????? in which case his liability is limited to an aggregate of 5,000 baht. Prior to 1999 that limit was a low 500 baht. These days personal electronics are likely to be the most valuable items in any traveller???s luggage, but based on a Supreme Court case in 1999 a mobile phone did not constitute ???valuables?????. Rather, the court held that for these purposes valuables are things in the nature of gold and currency, so the hotelier was fully liable for the replacement cost of the mobile phone. Further, if any of the above listed valuables were deposited with the proprietor and the value of the item was clearly stated, and the property then goes missing or is damaged, the proprietor is liable for the full value of the property. What is the moral of this story? It's a beach destination. Bring a bathing suit and flip flops and leave the valuables at home."
March 10, 2015 10:11
I don't understand air if what you post or its direct relevance to the particular issue I reported and how it connected to how the Police are not acting to defend tourists or enforce their own laws. Whether theft is a civil matter or not the threatening of a guest is not a civil matter even in Thailand. That is a criminal act.
As far as the maximum legal liability for thefts from rooms, my understanding from my Thai accommodation owner is that if someone leaves valuables locked in their room say in their luggage or a drawer but not in an in-room safe provided by the accommodation owner, the maximum liability on the owner is 5000 baht. If the theft is from an in room safe provided by the owner and sometimes with a charge made for it or it is left in safes at accommodation rental and there is theft the owner is 100% liable. There are notices in each bungalow in my accommodation to that effect. Perhaps if you were to quote the source of your information I could pass it on to my accommodation owner accordingly.
But who cares if tourists are not treated in a civilised manner, leave, never to return, there are "billions" waiting to replace them!
March 10, 2015 11:57
No doubt this will all be washed away by the authorities as another 'misunderstanding' whilst we all know the reality of the situation.
The volunteers have a thankless task- shunned by those they are trying to help and knocked by people on forums who contribute little themselves. Chief not talking to volunteers, Gov not talking to Consuls and Immigration making things more difficult every week by inventing new little twists to visa renewals that used to be done inside an hour- there's definitely a feel of xenophobia about at the moment. Time for the authorities to stop behaving like spoiled children who have their toys taken away and start acting in a responsible manner.
March 10, 2015 12:21
Just my thoughts
The trend is obvious, they make it every day more difficult for Europeans and Anglo-saxons to like Phuket.
I do not believe that a plan is behind it, but with the current infrastructure it is becoming increasingly difficult to keep these tourists.
Although they bring more money, but we are spoiled, we are demanding, criticism is part of our culture, and are increasingly dissatisfied.
It looks as if the Thais kick out Europeans and Anglo-Saxons more and more and focus on the Asian market. The asians are loving, tame and less tiring but also bring money into the country by their mass.
Great reaction of the volunteers, respect.
But it will not keep a single Asian away to come here, probably no Russian or Arab too.
Btw., I really not want to know what happens when the volunteers leave the immigration offices too.
Georg The Viking
March 10, 2015 12:26
As you've mentioned it's the new trend.
Most of the expats, EU, Aussies and westerners are born / grown up in democratic societies. It's common practice to debate, discuss, criticise and try to affect and change.
The new nation is definitely different. The country lacks even an oposition party!
People are grown up to accept whatsoever they are told to. No questions are allowed to be asked.
Their people understand the word "why" but don't really know how to use it.
What is happening to Phuket is what i call the side affects of the new mass-tourist and a pollution in the industry. Thailand and Phuket are and will face the consequences. Today Police Volunteers Stop, what is coming up next?
March 10, 2015 15:35
Where have you been Sam?
I've been in Thailand 2 to 3 times each year since 2009 and have never seen so few tourist buses in the last three weeks in Patong. It's obvious you just want Chinese tourists as it is becoming more of, and who shop in specialty stores and pollute a lot! Maybe you own such a store? The governor had enough envisioned island full of Russian tourists and therefore he will derogate all others who want beach boys to fit on matters ours. You are obviously one of those who believe that theft from foreigners is okay and that no one needs to ensure law and order. You and mine float get what you want. Only Chinese in Phuket. There are many of us who do not come back any more as long as the island has current governor. It did not provide with getting beach chairs and sun loungers back, he has shown that he is all too unpredictable that we want to add our vacation to an island dominated by littering and reckless boat traffic right up countries. I love the Thai people for their smiles and friendliness, but maybe they are just as friendly in their neighboring countries? In that case, the Thai tourism die out! Pity, but the choice is theirs!
Regards Peder Arne Farberg, Norway.
Peder Arne Farberg
March 10, 2015 18:57
the legal source of a liability of a hotelier for a theft from hotel room(actually from hotel premises) , as already mentioned, is Civil and Commercial Code of Thailand, namely Sec.674-678, where it is described in express words and doesn't need too much comments:
Special rules for innkeepers
Section 674 The proprietor of an inn, hotel or other such place is liable for any loss or damage to the property which the traveller or guest lodging with him may have brought.
Section 675 The proprietor is liable for loss or damage to the property of the traveller or guest, even caused by strangers going to and from the inn, hotel or other such place.
His liability is limited to the sum of five thousand baht if the property is specie, currency notes, bills, bonds, shares, debentures, warrants, jewels or other valuables, unless it has been deposited with him and its valie clearly stated.
But he is not liable for loss or damage caused by force majeure or by the nature of the property or by the fault of the traveller or guest or of his attendant or of a person whom he has received.
Section 676 On discovery of the loss or damage to the property not expressly deposited, the traveller or guest must communicate the fact to the proprietor of the inn, hotel or any such place at once, failling which teh proprietor shall be releived of the responsibility provided in Sections 674 and 675.
Section 677 A notice posted in the inn, hotel or other such place excluding or limiting the liability of the proprietor is void unless the traveller or guest expressly agreed to such exclusion or limitation of liability.
Section 678 No action for compensation for loss or damage caused to the property of the traveller or guest can be entered later than six months after the departure of the traveller or guest.
It all means that there is a distinction only in regard of liability for valuables - whether they are deposited with front desk,against itemized receipt with a value per item recorded - on,y then a hotelier has a full liability for "valuables" - keeping in mind what Thai courts understand with such designation;
otherwise liability for "valuables" is just 5,000THB , also when put into in-room safe, or even in a sealed safe at front desk, where no itemized receipt is made.
And a hotelier is fully liable for any item that is not "valuables".
The notice you described that is in your accommodation in effect is limiting liability of a hotel - same considerations as interpretation under Unfair Consumer Contracts Act are applied as cited above for the notice excluding liability, as explained in a legal opinion on that by a legal office.
A guest in a situation of theft as you described theoretically has options
1) to get restitution in course of criminal process - if thiefs are caught m and still hold staff ; can't be relied upon of course , it's merely exception than rule
2) shift damages to other person and recoup them:
a. onto a thief - in course of criminal process
b. onto a hotel - money&valuables not properly deposited above legal limit 5000THB hotel will reimburse only as a sign of good will; no hotel in Europe will reimburse apparent theft above the legal limits there , if stolen from in room safe - you'll get straight a lawyer, who will emphasize with you and will say sorry, they will not pay anything above the limit
c. insurance - hardly any insurance cover theft of valuables from in room safe
or a guest could take proper preventive measures - all seasoned travelers knows that only that what is put with a front desk counts, the rest, incl. in-room safe, is in reality your own risk - also because a guest in most cases will not be able to prove placing of valuable, even under legal limit, into a room.
Or a guest can mitigate harm, by spreading risks, like keeping some part of valuable , say one credit card, all times on him.
Hotels in Europe in locations under a convention must have a facility of depositing front desk available, in Thailand it is a question of interpretation.
March 10, 2015 18:59
Are you a want to be politican? Endless words that can be actually summed up in one sentence. I will say it again give the computer a break and go for a swim and a nice enjoyable walk. Your mind and body will be better served.
March 10, 2015 19:23
Maybe if foreigners stop doing all they do to make Phuket a nice community, the authorities will be forced to recognize their value.
The Mare Crisium
March 10, 2015 23:08
Peder Arne Farberg
You write English so you may be capable of reading as well.
Read my post carefully and you would certainly get my point.
As for your question, i have been here partly since 2000 and exactly as you i have never seen so many tour busses as now. The number has kept growing and this trend seems UNFORTUNATELY to continue "unchanged".
It's no secret anymore what's prioritized when officials decide to make promotional visits to EAST rather than attending important meetings in Phuket!
March 11, 2015 01:02
pity that facebook page of phuket police volunteers is not a well deserved wall of good actions while on duty but a mere propaganda of boring rituals by island's authorities.
March 11, 2015 12:35
Editor: No even one French word allowed here?
Just wanted to congratulate the
Tourist Police with
Chapeau Tourist Police!
March 11, 2015 19:58
The volunteers mentioned in this article have no connection with the Tourist Police. Possibly you mean Chapeau Region 8 volunteers.
You are right, Editor, I am sorry!
Chapeau Region 8 expat police volunteers!
March 12, 2015 15:37
Wednesday March 29, 2023
It shows that the volunteers not only have ethics and morals, but, a spine as well.
All power to them.
Posted by Sir Burr on March 10, 2015 08:29