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Kathu's superintendent debates the issue with taxi drivers tonight

UPDATE Phuket Blockade of Patong's Beach Road in Protest at Tourist Police 'Corruption'

Saturday, February 1, 2014
Tonight's Updated News Report


PHUKET: Businesspeople blocked beach road in Patong tonight for more than two hours in a protest at the ''corruption'' of Tourist Police.

The protesters want three Tourist Police officers to apologise at a meeting on Monday, hand back 20,000 baht and then be transferred out of Patong.

Beach road was blocked near the police box from 5.15pm until 8.10pm, forcing officers to keep Soi Bangla open to vehicular traffic instead of as usual being converted to a tourist walking street from 6pm.

Three cars prevented motorists heading in the Kalim/Kamala direction. Senior police attempted to negotiate the removal of the blockade, without success.

Weerawit Kuresombut, head of the Entertainment Association of Patong, said that businesspeople in Patong had grown used to certain levels of corruption but the Tourist Police were taking it to unacceptable levels.

He told Phuketwan that last month, Immigration officers had sought payments three times from a Thai businessman who employed a foreigner illegally. This month, three Tourist Police collected 20,000 baht from the same businessman.

''But we've had enough,'' Khun Weerawit said. ''When a group went to the Tourist Police office in Patong tonight to talk to the officers, they closed up shop. The businesspeople decided, 'You close your office, we'll close the road.''

The blockade attract plenty of local attention and people now know that the Tourist Police are no less incorruptible than other people in uniforms.

Khun Weerawit said: ''Small money is ok, but we won't be pushed too far. This was over the top. How many people do we need to collect from us?''

It's reckoned that 17 different organisations all take corrupt money from various Patong businesses, with corruption fees one of the reasons why Patong is less competitive as a destination. Prices are pushed higher by graft.

Tourist Police and businesspeople are to meet at Kathu Police Station, which oversees Patong, on Monday with the businesspeople insisting they want the 20,000 baht back and the three officers involved to leave Patong.

The Tourist Police headquarters are based in Yaowarat Road, Phuket City, on the other side of the island.

Comments

Comments have been disabled for this article.

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If and I say If the Tourist Police are convicted of corruption surely not they will be transferred? Keep them away from where I live. I noticed a very nice Tourist Police Vehicle you know the fancy Blue & White ones at a certain School the other night. 90 Pupils were coming back from camp 2 x Buses supposedly at 8pm of course buses and kids are late. Approx 01.30am-02.00am buses arrived. The Tourist Cop Car sat there with engine running from midnight. I know that donations pay for it but is that not taking the proverbial. Car and on/off duty personnel using the perks to pick up kids!!!!?

Posted by Neill on February 1, 2014 21:47

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Quite right Only Thai officials should be corrupt. If Falang demanding baht then that's really too much.

Posted by phonus balonus on February 1, 2014 22:54

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Hahaha. Little money is ok. But too much is over the top. Ok. It is not funny.

Proper course would be to arrest the business man for employing illegal worlets and bribing officials. Then arrest the corrupted officials.

Will never happen but was fun to write.

The chuzpah from all involved is quite enormous. Sad.

Posted by Lena on February 2, 2014 00:01

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Why not tow three cars somewhere else and fine them for wrong parking and obstructing traffic?

Posted by BeerChang on February 2, 2014 00:49

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Blockading roads has become national pastime in Thailand.

Whatever it is that annoys you, just cause maximum damage and inconvenience to the general public.

Could it possibly get any more selfish ?

Posted by ThaiMike on February 2, 2014 09:13

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FANTHAISTIC:
a real sit-in for 20,000 baht just because they are farang: immediately the witnesses speak. Instead, for the millions paid to all other Thai police no one shows up to testify and the prosecution is stored

Posted by richard on February 2, 2014 11:11

Editor Comment:

Nothing in our report specifies the nationality of the Tourist Police.

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Don't be shy. The tourist police can aford to send their kid or kids to BIS? FM George.

Posted by Robin on February 2, 2014 12:55

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The tourist police can be anyone, regardless of who they are. Corrupt, I think not, they have better standards than that. I think Gary was set up by Sam.

Posted by Ineptocracy on February 2, 2014 13:02

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Seems like people need to understand something basic about this story:
The Tourist Police are always thai nationals.
The Volontary Tourist Police officers are usually foreigners.

Posted by christian on February 2, 2014 16:25

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@ phonus balonus and richard, the article is talking about Thai tourist police officers, not foreign volunteers.

Posted by NomadJoe on February 2, 2014 16:56

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It is funny how when it is the bribe givers under fire, it's just a donation for "good governance", but when it's the police under fire, it's bribery. If you don't want to pay a bribe then quit complaining and get legal.

Posted by NomadJoe on February 2, 2014 16:59

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How goes the "Brave Enough to Change" campaign?

Posted by bill on February 7, 2014 08:41


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