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Cape Sienna, beautiful on the inside, beastly on the taxi rank

Phuket Taxi Thugs Attack Tour Driver; Tourists Left Shaking, Iron Bar Smashes Windscreen

Sunday, September 4, 2011
PHUKET: Phuket taxi drivers beat up a tour driver when he tried to pick up tourists at well-known five-star resort in Kamala this afternoon.

Police are investigating the assault in which an iron bar was used to break a windscreen and the driver was punched and beaten.

The tourists in the vehicle at the time, Glenn Dawson and his wife Deidre, were shaken and shocked by the attack. The drivers swore at the couple, saying: "F@#@ off tourist."

Mr and Mrs Dawson were staying inside the Cape Sienna Resort in Kamala this evening, and will leave tomorrow on a flight to Bali. They run a small hotel on the neighboring island of Lombok.

''We will probably never come back to Thailand after this,'' Mr Dawson, 45, an Australian from Melbourne, said this evening.

He gave a complete account of the attack.

''We were going elephant trekking but when the driver arrived at the resort, we were advised that we'd have to meet him a bit further down the street.

''As he did a u-turn, drivers from the taxi rank at the resort attacked him.

''We couldn't believe what was happening. When we got out of the vehicle the drivers swore and abused us.

''The poor driver got back into his car and as he was driving off, another driver threw an iron bar that broke his windscreen.

''We were shaken, and we are still shaking.''

Mr Dawson said he and his wife had had a week's holiday at Cape Panwa and six days at Cape Sienna.

The assault is likely to sharpen focus on the power that local tuk-tuk and taxi drivers hold over Phuket resorts.

Almost all resorts on Phuket are obliged to kow-tow to the local drivers for fear of blockades, or risk assaults on their staff or their guests.

Today's incident follows an attack in Patong, believed to be by tuk-tuk drivers, that left a German expat resident in a Phuket City's hospital's intensive care unit.

A Dutchman suffered a wound to his head in another recent incident. In February, two young Australian men were knifed when attacked by a gang in what was later described as a case of attempted murder.

Australia and a group of European countries have threatened video warnings on You Tube and travel advisories about jet-skis and tuk-tuks on Phuket unless the Governor or the new government of Thailand takes rapid action to safeguard all tourists.

Mr Dawson said that Cape Sienna arranged a replacement tour in a resort car. He said he stopped off in Kamala village to pick up some garments and asked the tailor to drop the garments off at Cape Sienna later.

''The driver said he wasn't prepared to go near Cape Sienna because of the taxi drivers,'' Mr Dawson said.

''This shocks me. To think that they can do this on Phuket.''

Mr Dawson said the drivers appeared to sit around all day in part of the resort's driveway, watching television and doing nothing.

''It had been quite a nice holiday on Phuket until this afternoon. I don't think we will be coming back.''

The driver went to Kamala police station to report the attack. Lieutenant Aneak Mongkoln took a statement from Preecha Choowong, 38, who said a group of taxi drivers had attacked him outside Cape Sienna.

Khun Preecha, punched in the face, also went to Patong Hospital for treatment.

A duty manager at Cape Sienna said he suspected the problem was caused because of ''taxi zoning'' and the lack of appropriate paperwork that taxi drivers demanded from outside vehicles picking up guests.

''We are caught in the middle,'' he said.

Sinlapachai Choosen, the manager of the elephant trekking group involved, Kok Chang Kata Safari, said tonight: ''This situation has existed for a long time now.

''We and other businesses do all the marketing for Phuket and the taxi drivers have no understanding of how the tourism business works.

''These people have booked and paid online, as many do.

''This group is a mafia. We understand local people want local jobs, but to have this kind of hold over Phuket is a tragedy.''

He said he wanted to see these perpetrators punished, but it was also time that resorts all over Phuket did something to end the nightmare.

Cape Sienna was Phuketwan's Phuket Resort of the Year 2009.
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Comments

Comments have been disabled for this article.

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[quote]
... as he was driving off, another driver threw an iron bar that broke his windscreen
[/quote]

Is an iron bar standard equipment in a taxi?

(Rhetorical question because the answer is obviously 'only in Phuket')

Simon

Posted by Simon Luttrell on September 4, 2011 21:12

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Excuse my language but WTF...How can anyone on this island tolerate this kind of behavior? Wonder how it will be when high season starts and different tour company will go to pick up guests. Should every driver of these tour buses carry a weapon or have a co-driver with a a machine gun! This is ridiculous. Sound like one of the Mad Max movies.

Posted by Ex xpat on September 4, 2011 21:16

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Well I am left speechless. The economic tsunami is here. No tourists means no money.

Sum num na.

Posted by Rsole on September 4, 2011 21:28

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Words fail me. The same thing happening again and again. Lets hope Larry Cunningham takes this on board and makes serious Government representation and complaints.

Posted by Mr Man on September 4, 2011 21:38

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So now we know the big wigs are either in it or condone it. This type of behaviour is becoming very common now, so embassies now is the time to act or do what these thugs say. "The drivers swore at the couple, saying: "F@#@ off tourist."

Posted by Dun on September 4, 2011 22:15

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Time to call in the army and rid the island of these louts

Posted by agogohome on September 4, 2011 22:21

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'the lack of appropriate paperwork that taxi drivers demanded from outside vehicles picking up guests.' So the tail wags the dog does it? At some point the camel's back has got to get broken and action taken against these thugs, just hope no one dies first. This is just spiralling out of control.

Posted by Mister ree on September 4, 2011 23:02

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all tuk tuk and taxi drivers have weapons in the cars. i got once attacked by a tuk tuk guy in kata with a iron bar because i told him: chai yen when he almost hit me on the the road. lucky i could excape. if not maybe i am not here now...

Posted by mike on September 4, 2011 23:15

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I'm off to Bali this year after years on Phuket. Can not accept this behavior. Neither the Taxi, Tuk-Tuk drivers, nor the people in power who let them do whatever they want. It is a shame and thanks to the world-wide-web the world is watching.

Posted by Oliver S. on September 4, 2011 23:28

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Quote F&%* Off tourists. So much for the Land of smiles I have lived in Patong for eight years. I spend 4 weeks in Thailand and work 4 weeks in Australia. The common consensus with the people i work with down under is don't go to Phuket, especially Patong.There are upwards of 20 Aussies and Brits I work with who have moved to Thailand most of which came to Patong first. I am now the only one left living in Patong and as I have just moved into a house in Korat I will be spending very little time here. I cannot believe the way Patong has changed these past few years, even the many Thai friends I have ask me Khun Neil what happen to Patong why it not nice place anymore? This latest event just beggars belief. A hotel owner from Bali who im sure will go home and tell all his Aussie guests his story and I cant see him recommending Phuket for a holiday. We may have 420,000 Aussies coming to Thailand but very soon it wont be Phuket. As for F@%* Off tourists my friend and I had the exact same phrase said to us at the Phuket Country Club golf course and we were theatened with golf clubs. The Patong I loved has gone I would like to give an example of how the Tuk Tuk drivers used to be. Several years ago my Thai girlfriend was rushed to hospital. I had to go down to the bank to get money for the operation. I got a tuk tuk to take me to Phuket hospital where his wife came in with me and helped me with my enquires and to find the right ward. The tuk tuk waited over an hour for me took me back to Patong to get some belongings for my girlfriend where he waited a further 1/2 hour then back to the hospital where again he waited, took me back to Patong and later picked me up to take me to visit my girlfriend waited another hour before finally taking me home. The cost 1500 baht for three round trips and about 4 hours waiting he and his wife could not have been more friendly or of more assistance. That is the Patong I loved. So sad to see it now.

Posted by Neil Armitage on September 5, 2011 00:05

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Let me guess, Taxi drivers will have to pay 1000 Baht fine and all will be forgiven.

Atrocity after atrocity and no one who has power gives a crap. This is GBH at least and should be arrested and put in prison.

If the German man died, the Police would still have no one held accountable for the man's death since they don't know who did it. It is only that he is alive that he maybe able to identify his attackers.

Posted by Tbs on September 5, 2011 00:21

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whatever happened to the Taxi driver who assaulted the French FAMILY in Kata? Doubt he even had to pay a fine.

Posted by Vfaye on September 5, 2011 05:55

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"Local people want local jobs" would be reasonable except most of these tuktuk drivers ARE NOT FROM PHUKET! They come from different provinces and terrorize visitors to the country because they are too lazy to get a real job!

Posted by Jake on September 5, 2011 15:03

Editor Comment:

Perhaps it's time Phuket authorities learned who they are . . . but that would involve control and registration. That's been too hard so far.

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the MOD at cape sienna should have stepped in and done something, as should the security guard...disgusting behavior. Once again, big round of applause for the local thai people for f***ing up phuket.

Posted by Anonymous on September 5, 2011 15:27

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Sorry but tourists are a dime a dozen and as long as the planes fly in from the cold north and south nothing big will be done as that would bring bad publicity even if it was making things better in the long run for tourists. Things will change for the better only when Phuket looses face due to a major incident involving a well known person that brings world wide media outrage. Unfortunately it is a crap shoot as to when this will happen. I could hope for a mayor like the one back in the 1970's that cleaned up Subic City in the Philippines but I have never heard of anyone in Thailand truly willing to take on the big money makers and power brokers here in Phuket after all to take them on would be to admit there is a real serious problem.

Posted by mike on September 5, 2011 15:38

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People keep saying that this will damage thailand and tourists won't come but as much as all the bad publicity people keep coming TAT keep going to different countries with their promotions and feeding them a load of crap about Thailand and these people think S in LOS stands for smile haha what a joke. The only way to maybe stop these tuk tuk and jet ski mafias is for all countries to give travel warnings with boarding passes to Thailand also as much work as the consuls do which must be appreciated they need to talk to Heads of government in each country and the PM in Thailand needs to be tapped on the shoulder and made aware of the damage being done.

Posted by mal c on September 5, 2011 17:42


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