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Tourists and a Phuket jet-ski operator discuss the damage and payment

Phuket Tourists Irked by Jet-Ski JJ 'Extra' Payment

Monday, October 11, 2010
A GROUP of tourists from Malaysia and Singapore have complained about being asked to pay 25,000 baht after overturning two jet-skis off Patong beach at the weekend.

The group eventually handed over 900 Singapore dollars to the jet-ski operators, who were led by Winai ''JJ'' Naiman.

Mr Naiman, who manages a group of jet-skis, achieved some notoriety last year in a reality television series, 'Big Trouble in Tourist Thailand,' that continues to air around the world.

Computer procurement specialist Derrick Wong said by telephone from Singapore today that he and 16 friends were on a short holiday on Phuket, and hired four jet-skis for rides in the surf at Patong on Saturday.

''Two of the jet-skis overturned,'' Mr Wong said. ''When they were brought in, the men on the beach demanded 25,000 baht each for them because they said that seawater had gone into the engines,'' Mr Wong said.

The friends were all former schoolmates from Malaysia.

''As first-timers, we didn't know what to do,'' Mr Wong said. ''We were shown all the papers that my friend signed. ''About 30 minutes later, the man we later learned was JJ came to the beach.''

Eventually, some of the tourists returned to the Baramee Resortel, where the group were staying, and came back with S$900. ''That was all the money we had,'' Mr Wong said.

Mr Wong said he identified the man as JJ after being told by the man that he could ''look me up on the Internet.''

About an hour after the incident, the jet-skis were taken off the beach, Mr Wong said.

''Our holiday was ok except for the jet-ski scam,'' Mr Wong said. ''Most of us won't be going back to Phuket.''

The group's tour agent came to the beach and advised them to pay ''for safety reasons,'' Mr Wong said.

The President of the Phuket Jet-Ski Federation, Anusorn Salae, said today that it was difficult to comment on the case without knowing whether the jet-skis involved were among the 219 registered for Patong.

Both registered and unregistered jet-skis required riders to sign paperwork, he said. ''Tourists need to make sure that jet-skis are insured,'' he said.

''In Patong, some jet-skis are still being allowed to operate without insurance.'' He said insurance did not cover flipping a jet-ski.

But on Bang Tao beach, where he operates jet-skis, jet-ski users are told that the maximum extra payment for flipping a jet-ski is 3000 baht.

He said a payment beyond that figure might include extra for the downtime of the jet-ski. ''I would like to know whether the jet-skis involved were legal or not,'' he said.

''While I am the president of the federation, I am not in control of the jet-skis' day-to-day operations in Patong.''

The situation had improved but some jet-ski operators still did not comply or reneged on insurance payments - and there had been no government follow-up, Khun Anusorn said.

"Tourists who think they are being scammed should go to the police,'' he said. ''Then we can ensure a fair outcome.''

A spokesperson at the insurance company that holds the jet-ski policies said he was new to the role and would need two weeks to assess the situation.

Last year, dramatic footage of Mr Naiman holding a gun as he asked for money from British marines for a jet-ski he said had been damaged caused a sensation on Phuket when it was screened on British television.

The incident and the coverage led to the introduction of a compulsory insurance scheme for Phuket's jet-skis.

No action was taken against Mr Naiman because he said the incident was playacting for the cameras. The makers of the documentary said the footage was genuine.
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Latest Members of an important Senate tourism committee express horror at the impression tourists are givent by lack of skills and training among jet ski operators and others on Phuket.
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Phuket Scam Purge: Police Impound 'Black' Jet-Ski
Latest Phuket police and an important tourism committee from Bangkok go into action as the first 'black' jet ski operator is arrested. His confiscated vehicle may mark a fresh, clean start for tourism.
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Jet-Ski JJ Case Delayed as Scam Plot Thickens
Latest The court case involving jet ski operator Winai ''JJ'' Naiman has been postponed as local authorities and Phuket's jet ski industry prepare for a key meeting.
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Thai Officials Put 'Big Trouble' Series in Limbo
Photo Album Concern about the 'Big Trouble in Tourist Thailand' series has led to permissions and releases being withheld. But the British producer says the series is not harmful to tourism.
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Comments have been disabled for this article.


New Governor, new rules? That I do not want to believe.

Btw: It is not uncommon for the jetski to overturn and get saltwater into the engine. (If you overturn the jetski, turn it back fast, and no saltwater will be inside, only bloody beginners let the jetski overturned in the waves -> prey for the jetski predators) You just open the motor and clean it out, let it dry and you can use it again without any problem. 3h tops. Yes it is a little work, but the claim is so ridiculous.

And I better do not get started with notorious giving-the-whole-of-Phuket-a-bad-name JJ, otherwise my comment will not be published.

Posted by Lena on October 11, 2010 13:18


wonder why the group who went to get the money didn't go to the police...

Posted by temh on October 11, 2010 14:07


The group's tour agent advised them to pay ''for safety reasons,'' Mr Wong said.

Who is the group leader? Tour guide from ..?

Posted by Grimes on October 11, 2010 15:00


well, high season is about to start and here we go again...more scams, more ripoffs, and how ironic it is that people like JJ are right back in the scene....and as usual, everyone turns a blind eye....

Posted by sky on October 11, 2010 15:31


When will Phuket sort itself out? Every day it shoots itself in the foot.

Posted by Mike .Hunt on October 11, 2010 15:43


no surprise there then. It will go on when the rules are bent (what rules) every day ,depending on the age and gullibility of the tourists who "damage" a boat.

Posted by wellington on October 11, 2010 17:29


Gee!!! Lets see why did the tourist not go to the police. Maybe because they felt like most tourist feel that if the police get involved in any problem with the locals the outcome will be far worse.

Like they might be held in jail and miss the flight home that they may cause and international incident and loose their job at home or maybe just maybe their wives will find out they were in Phuket.

Posted by mike on October 11, 2010 19:23


I had a Jetski shop in europe for more than 20 years and i also had made the renting business in mediteranean sea.
When a Jetski (whatever brand it is) will overturn, then there is possible that some water will come into the hull, but its impossible that water will get into the engine.

There would be only some damage, if you will let saltwater for longer term inside the hull. Longer term means for weeks!!!

The r e p a i r i n g of the d a m a g e is very easy. Just let the salt water out of the hull, wash the hull inside and the engine outside with sweatwater and you can start again for your next overturn. Cost of this procedure is max. 50 Baht!!!!!

It is absolutely clear that this is another scam for tourists.
But even when the police get involved in such a case, its very easy for the operators, to displug a cable of the ignition and who (except a specialist for Jetskies) can say that the engine is damaged or not. Easy game for ugly "businessmen". Its a shame that the government let things like this get true.

Poor tourists have no chance.

Posted by happychris on October 11, 2010 19:29


"Tourists who think they are being scammed should go to the police," he said. "Then we can ensure a fair outcome."


Posted by D on October 11, 2010 20:02


My comment not printed..why?...

Posted by STAN on October 11, 2010 22:08

Editor Comment:

Because you have been using two anonymous monikers. STAN would make a third. Please settle on one, and stick with it.


i will not go Phuket again because of this stupid so and so...

Posted by sh on October 11, 2010 22:22


i think police in phuket only for display...maybe?

Posted by +b on October 11, 2010 22:52


* "Tourists need to make sure that jet-skis are insured" he said.

Ah, so enforcing the law is now the tourists' job?

"i will not go Phuket again because of this stupid so and so..." Posted by sh

Sorry you feel this way "sh", but please do not let one guy, or group of guys, give the whole of Phuket a bad name.

Posted by Jamie on October 11, 2010 22:55


Phuketwan should be sending ALL these comments to the consular embassies. Where is YOUR responsibility in all of this?? To sell a few issues/hits online or are you a responsible advocate for change.

You have a responsibility to your readers, not just to the story. If Phuketwan and PG got together this issue and the TukTuk issue would be solved. Do the work.

Posted by tom on October 12, 2010 01:57

Editor Comment:

Tom, We are journalists, not activists. If you sincerely wish the media to do the work of the local authorities, then please send your 10-year subscription first.

One misguided suggestion is no substitute for what's required: a functioning system.

And thank you for questioning our motives. I note that your own commitment to truth and justice does not quite go as far as putting up a full name. If readers and residents actually showed courage, change might come.

Why leave it to one outspoken tourist and the Phuketwan team, who listened and published his complaint?


There should be a warning at the front desk at every hotel in Patong about the dangers. If nobody rented these machines then these jet ski touts would have to find someplace else to go and hopefully disappear from the beach front for good. . .

Posted by jimmy rawai on October 12, 2010 02:38


Simply put: Don't rent any jet-ski.

My friend used to be a tourist police volunteer, he quit because of this scam and he didn't want to be a part of it.

Posted by Nick on October 12, 2010 05:14


NICK, tourist can not know they should not rent jet ski, nobody tell them.

I wonder why my last comment did not get printed?

Posted by southbound on October 12, 2010 07:36

Editor Comment:

Because you made some comments that were factually incorrect. The situation has changed. Compulsory insurance has been introduced. There are fewer scams now. And the president of Phuket's jet-ski group is not responsible for the system, or its continuing problems. That's the responsibility of others.

Errors of fact aren't tolerated in our articles, or in comments about those articles.



Posted by Ulrich on October 12, 2010 07:58

Editor Comment:

Ulrich, We cannot be sure in this forum whether accusations are genuine or false. What you say may be true. But if it is not, then those who are falsely accused will blame us, not you. Write down your experiences and email them to your honorary consul or embassy representative.


a few weeks back friends of mine was made to pay 68,000 for damage they caused on a jetski on Patong beach. (moderated)

Posted by derrick on October 12, 2010 08:12

Editor Comment:

An allegation of that kind should be sent to an honorary consul or embassy representative, with as much documentation and evidence as possible.


Editor, why u did not publish my comment ?

Posted by cekipa on October 12, 2010 11:50

Editor Comment:

Because we choose not to publish comments where the word ''scum'' and descriptions of that kind are used gratuitously. Vituperative language solves nothing.


''Tourists need to make sure that jet-skis are insured,''

How can a tourist make sure the jet-skis are insured? I think that is a nearly impossible task.

Posted by Anonymous on October 12, 2010 14:43

Editor Comment:

The insured jet-skis usually have ''INSURED'' on them in big letters.


Editor: Can you see you are getting very close to defending those clearly in the wrong again. Insurance schemes are obviously failing to protect tourists, and the so called President of Phuket Jet-Ski Group isn't responsible, then what is he responsible for!? It would be funny if it was not so tragic...

Posted by Phuket Resident on October 12, 2010 23:14

Editor Comment:

You wouldn't say the president of a professional accounting group is responsible for every rogue accountant. Or perhaps, if you are convinced that we are ''close to defending those clearly in the wrong again,'' maybe you would.


PW Editor, you reach new heights of internet bully fascism with your insistence viewers can now only use one moniker. Why don't you upgrade like PG? That site has so many far more interesting comments without need for drastic moderation or outright bitchiness.

Your pitiful idea of free speech comes from being raised in a country with laws forbidding criticism of a certain someone...

Since you aren't going to print any more of my comments I can say you are a monkey.

Posted by Horse Doctor on October 13, 2010 09:39

Editor Comment:

And you, Horse Doctor, are a disgrace. Other readers will appreciate your self-imposed retreat, with a characteristic salvo of untruths and poor judgement. Good luck.


thank you editor for at least comment why my experiences about corruption not is being published, but to take it to the level of writing to my consulate, would be a joke, everyone who stays here knows the facts... but only a question of understanding why, when i come from the cleanest country in the world, when it comes to corruption.. most of the comments about it is.. they are poor.. whats wrong with being poor.? but my long time (too long) staying in patong gave me the impression that everybody is trying to screw everybody.. greed is the word.. i think ;o) but i am happy here in Rawai..until it turns out to look like patong..maybe you can change Bangla, but you cant change people, but that is another issue.. thanks

Posted by Ulrich on October 13, 2010 09:51

Editor Comment:

Ulrich, If you say nothing, and do nothing, you change nothing. What you can do is write to your honorary consul, or even better, your ambassador.


I am at a loss for words, "Editor Comment:
Because you have been using two anonymous monikers. STAN would make a third. Please settle on one, and stick with it."
How do I tell my fourteen personalities that they can only have one name or moniker, then they will loose their identities. Oh dear what am I to do?
(This is written in fun only, to lighten the mood of the comments, don't take it seriously please.)

Have a great day all of you.

Posted by Robin on October 13, 2010 11:07

Editor Comment:

And I hope all 14 of you have a great day too, Robin.


re STAN I am STAN.. i commented on the jet ski saga...with in my opinion a good honest opinion.
I have been involved in tourism attractions for many years in the UK AND 20 YEARS HERE IN PHUKET, I have also met and discussed SAFETY in Tourism in Phuket with the previous GOVERNOR...this was televised on THAI would be good if the editor printed my post and let the readers decide....STAN.. my old moniker...barka..

Posted by barka on October 13, 2010 14:50

Editor Comment:

Stan, Barka, JD . . . you decide which one you prefer to be. But for consistency's sake, one is enough. Is there some reason why you can't use your own real name? Opinions without a consistent identity have far less value.


If i want to use 3 monikers ITS MY CHOICE...If you don't want to print my comments because of this its your CH0ICE
I WONT MAKE ANY MORE COMMENTS ON THIS SITE...The editor is to touchy or may i say..CHILDISH..

Posted by barka on October 13, 2010 15:33

Editor Comment:

Name-calling is something most readers refrain from doing.



Posted by Lee on October 13, 2010 17:14

Editor Comment:

Lee, Sorry, I have tired of your criticism of me. Please address the issues instead.

On jet-skis, the man who heads the island's jet-ski group has no control over the jet-ski operators at Patong. The police and local government have the power to control rogue operators, not him.


Sometimes the comment area turns into a circus. And I am very sorry for the ed, who try to tame us beasts. :D

Thanks happychris for correcting me. So the claim is even more ridiculous. Only a hull problem, not an engine thing. Unbelievable.

Jetski riding can be so much fun, but it seems the jetski operators in Patong are ill suited to provide fair and good service for the tourists.

Posted by Lena on October 13, 2010 18:48


I am not an aktivist..just a debator :o)

Posted by Ulrich on October 13, 2010 20:50


"the man who heads the island's jet-ski group has no control over the jet-ski operators at Patong"
You repeat he has no control, can't you see this is a contradiction in terms, then you glibly say this practice is the norm ie the Leader/Representative/Manager/Boss/CEO having no responsibility for members !! If he has no power then why does the role exist?
What a wonderful system to defend......

Posted by Phuket Resident on October 13, 2010 22:52

Editor Comment:

The president of the Phuket jet-ski group is not a ceo, a boss, or a manager, all of whom have responsibilities under the law in Thailand and other countries. We are not defending the system, merely pointing out an inaccurate point of view about his powers. All he can do is exert influence and provide good role models, which is what the Bang Tao jet-ski operators do. Enforcing the law remains in the hands of the local authorities and the police.


Summer 2009 my british friend and I were jet-ski scammed out of 1500 British pounds. I will never forget hearing, from one of jet-ski guy "I'm sorry" in perfect English, as he rode off to deliver my hard earned money to his Boss. It is unfortunate the lack of action to clean up this obvious problem in a place that relies on tourism for 80 percent of income. Good luck to Phuket and its JJ.

Posted by worlddiver on October 13, 2010 23:39


I think it is pretty clear by now that the Thai government and police are only interested in how much money then can suck out of tourists. How many times does this scam have to happen before they are shut down? Shame on the Governor, TAT, and the police!

Posted by Nathan on October 14, 2010 15:35


"On jet-skis, the man who heads the island's jet-ski group has no control over the jet-ski operators at Patong."

So what exactly IS his job then?!

Posted by Harry Barracuda on October 14, 2010 20:12

Editor Comment:

It's not a job. It's an honorary position, like being president of the Phuket Chef's Association, or the Phuket Veteran Cars Association.


Nice swerve, ed! So his "position" (not job) is "the man who heads the island's jet-ski group" and that's it. No control over patong and no impetus agenda or remit to upgrade or monitor or cooment on standards?
Does he get 10% or what? Do you care? Is it (kickbacks) so endemic it is boring to even mention, so accepted. and not to be challenged by viewers, you, or the big wide world? Change will not only come but will be draconian if the big money starts to have a greater voice. You are looking more and more like an islolated wormtongue.
Jounalists are supposed to get to the root and lead change. All you seem to be capable of is sad fatalism and repelling all boarders. Are you then 5% (presumably less)

Posted by stuart on October 14, 2010 20:39

Editor Comment:

Stuart, you're just mouthing mindlessly, a pitiful provocateur. Are you in training to be a time share tout?


Phuket's a nasty place. I'll never go there again.

Posted by Randee on October 14, 2010 22:31


Let's help keep the sea a little cleaner and not use them! Not that I ever did. My two baht for what it's worth...

Posted by Matt on October 17, 2010 11:38


Happychris, I would love to know what brand of jetskis you were renting that did not allow water into the engine when the jetski turned turtle.

I have been in the watersports industry for 20yrs and during that time managed and owned several jetski rental operations with concessions in major hotels.

I can assure everyone, that if a craft is left upside down for even a brief time (3-5mins) you will get varying amounts of water in the engine.

We have never ever charged a guest or customer for this kind of damage caused to the craft. We try and minimize this situation from occurring by giving the customers a proper safety briefing which includes showing them how to correctly right a craft which has turned over and secondly by having safety marshals assist any craft that needs assistance.

Just draining the saltwater out of the engine and giving it a flushdown with fresh water is not the answer. Yes, you can do that and start up the craft again but there will be residual salt in the engine and it will lead to a shorter lifespan for the crankshaft bearing (replacing the crankshaft is a major ticket item).

You will need to remove the engine, strip it right down, clean every single part and then rebuild the engine. For a 2 stroke craft, this can be done in about 3 hours by an experienced mechanic working at a decent pace.

We accept that it is part and parcel of running a jetski rental operation that some customers will unwittingly tip a jetski over, but with the proper briefing and having safety marshals nearby, we minimize the time that the jetski remains upside down.

The only solution to prevent tourists from being ripped off is to rent from a reputable jetski rental outfit.

Posted by Jon. on November 7, 2010 02:17

Wednesday July 17, 2024
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa


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