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Manager Winai ''JJ'' Naiman helped to settle a jet-ski dispute in Patong

Patong Tourists Pay in Jet-Ski Disputes

Tuesday, April 16, 2013
PHUKET: A group of holidaying Australians have become the latest tourists to be embroiled in a lengthy dispute on Patong beach after a jet-ski collision.

The jet-ski operators originally asked 180,000 baht for the damage but eventually settled for 85,000 baht.

Yesterday's incident is the latest in a continuing string of disputes over jet-ski damage on Patong beach.

One of the riders involved was a 14-year-old girl, raising issues about whether there is an age limit for jet-skis. Several of the serious crashes over the years have involved children.

One Australian tourist who was at the scene said he did not sense any intimidation in yesterday's dispute but others were ''quite traumatised by the ordeal.''

''It's not the kind of thing you expect to have happen on holidays,'' he said, preferring to remain anonymous.

There was no act of force or aggression, the man said. ''But we were playing the game.''

In response to the suggestion that the dispute be mediated at Kathu Police Station, which oversees Patong, the operators said that moving to the police station would mean starting all over again at the original 180,000 baht figure.

Well-known jet-ski manager Winai ''JJ'' Naiman was involved in discussions. His English skills are better than most of the Patong jet-ski operators.

The language barrier posed a difficulty, Phuketwan was told. Talks on the beach went on for about three hours, the Australian holidaymaker said.

Jet-ski operators did insist on at least one person staying on the beach as negotiations concluded and the decision was made to pay up.

The holidaymaker agreed that the payment was ''exaggerated'' and more than enough to cover the damage to the jet-skis.

Phuket's reputation will continue to be damaged by jet-ski disputes until a solution is found.

The seven-year phase-out of all jet-skis on Phuket failed abysmally. Jet-skis even continue to operate on some Phuket beaches where they are not permitted.

The insurance scheme designed to end haggling over damages only covers the first 50,000 baht, so almost every dispute begins with a claim for a high cash figure in compensation.

Even disputes over small amounts are complicated by claims for what's now a standard fee of 16,000 baht to cover the time the jet-ski might be under repair and out of the water, another aspect not covered by insurance.

Phuket's honorary consuls have suggested that comprehensive insurance should be compulsory for all of Phuket's jet-skis.

Operators who say that comprehensive insurance is too costly only have to increase their hiring rates, which are currently reported to be 2000 baht for 40 minutes.

Phuketwan does not get to hear about all jet-ski disputes, only a small number of them. Those that are mediated by Patong police are recorded. Disputes on the beach usually are settled at excessive cost and not recorded.

The advice to people involved in disputes is to go to Patong police for mediation and to contact the local honorary consul or call an embassy in Bangkok.

Jet-skis are likely to be raised at the next regular three-monthly meeting between Phuket's honorary consuls and Phuket's governor. The last time they met was in September, 2012.


Comments have been disabled for this article.


Jet-ski's rarely cost this much to fix. Anything priced over 50,000 baht would mean a complete engine rebuild. We are talking about outer shell damage in most cases.

If you look at the piss-poor repairs (that are bandage jobs, not original panels) you can see that all the money goes in their pockets.

The main thing though - if a repair costs 180,000 baht - that is how much is costs. If I go into Honda and they tell me my car is going to cost that, I have to pay it.

But negotiating a price down to 85,000 just shows the entire Jet-ski rental is a scam.

Posted by Tbs on April 16, 2013 11:31


Is this the same JJ who appeared on "big Trouble in thailand" the TV series and was subsequently arrested?

He is a real class act. I'd stay far away from his Jet Ski business.

Posted by Ciaran on April 16, 2013 11:36


As more budget tourists are coming to Phuket what will happen if such tourist does not have, and cannot get these large sums of money. Many (not the Australians) have never been to an ocean never mind a jetski?

Posted by Fiesty Farant (Prev Chirpy) on April 16, 2013 11:52


Stop using the Jet Skis folks....simple as that...

Posted by zig on April 16, 2013 12:19


Don't let your 14 year old on a jetski.
They could have hit a swimmer too.

Posted by FS on April 16, 2013 13:44


This has been going on and exposed for so long that I think it's fair to say local authorities have absolutely zero interest in stopping the scams and BKK doesn't seem to care either.

When the initial denials and cover-ups are exposed, best case scenario is plenty of talk and window dressing but the scams continue unabated.

This is in essence the Thai way of dealing with complaints from foreigners against locals.

I'd love to be proven wrong in my pessimism but the past 10 years have shown this situation only getting worse.

Posted by Stephen on April 16, 2013 13:56


Maybe there was damage that justifies the amount mentioned ? Anyway this scam has been around for a long time now and is well known from the media by now and there is no reason to believe that this is going to change anytime soon .. as long as there is money to be made it will go on.

Posted by Sailor on April 16, 2013 15:43

Editor Comment:

Perhaps you are confusing this with the once-popular scam involving preexisting damage? Claims of excessive cost for repairs are in a different category and not really a ''scam.''


Stephen is exactly right. Clearly the authorities have zero interest in stopping these scams. Similar to the tuk-tuk situation. Some things in life are very predictable.

Best bet is to not rent them in the first place. Same goes for the tuk-tuks. Don't give them any business.

I also have to agree with the poster who said "don't let you 14 yr old on a jetski". They could of easily run over and killed or seriously injured a swimmer! It wouldn't be the first time.

I don't have much sympathy for anyone who gets scammed by these jetski people. The tuk-tuks yes, but the jetskis...sorry no sympathy. You have to really have your head up your @#$ to rent one. (especially renting one for a young kid)

Posted by BigP on April 16, 2013 15:54


Potato potato ?

Posted by Sailor on April 16, 2013 16:08


It is ilegal to ride a jetski in Thai waters if you not have a Thai Captain license PERIOD !!!
So easy to ban all jetskies !
No one wants them at all !

Posted by karsten on April 16, 2013 17:33


There are also honest jet ski operators, one of our customers was involved yesterday in a accident. They first wanted 30.000 baht, to cover the days they could not rent out the jetski. I contacted a member of the tourist police who advised us to deal it to 5000 baht as all other damage is fully covered by the insurance. We discussed this with a well educated and friendly owner and he agreed the way we explained him. But it seems that there are still rental guys renting out without agreement and insurance. Check it before hiring and you will minimise the problems

Posted by Eric on April 16, 2013 18:30


I just can't believe that these stories are coming up again and again. Not only that Tourists still don't know that is better to stay away from this hardly legal rentals but also that they are still operating ( hardly legal ) and nothing happens. Same with the taxis, still on the roads with white plates and flocking on beach road.

Posted by Resident on April 16, 2013 19:03


Thats 3100 dollars aussie,the holliday with flights an accomodation is well under that, how many fibreglass repair shops and jet ski legitimate repairers you seen whom issue quotes on the beach side , None? this is a scam, jj helped to settle it, well j.j has a vested interest in his helping and also keeping it out of a police station.

Posted by slickmelb on April 16, 2013 19:12

Editor Comment:

Claims for preexisting damage to jet-skis is a scam. This is what's known as a shakedown.


What happens (legally or not) if a person cannot pay?

Posted by Mikey on April 17, 2013 00:10


Phuket, you are becoming greedy, these tourists that you think you can rip off, tell all their friends, tourists will stop coming, there are too many bad stories

Posted by Anonymous on April 17, 2013 00:29


This JJ fella is still being allowed to ply his trade on patong beach even after his using a gun to intimidate some of his customers on camera previously.

Posted by Scunner on April 17, 2013 01:55


somebody has got to grow a set. this jet ski problem just goes on and on.

Posted by john on April 17, 2013 06:28


There is no rational in the amount, it is just not about ratio. It is about extortion, not being stopped by local authorities hence it goes on and on. Best thing I guess is to broadcast 'tourist alerts' about this kind of scam in foreign media. TAT is sensitive for that, and might eventually stop this.

Posted by Tourist alert on April 17, 2013 10:45

Editor Comment:

The TAT is a marketing organisation with no other powers. Envoys from overseas countries want the process of insurance claims made comprehensive so disputes - and warnings - are no longer necessary.


"Operators who say that comprehensive insurance is too costly only have to increase their hiring rates, which are currently reported to be 2000 baht for 40 minutes."

Do i care that that their hiring rates go up, up the rates so tourists know the money is used to go into insurance coverage, and if it's too expensive let these jetski rental operators go out of business slowly. Make it law now that every jet ski be covered by the most comprehensive insurance or go out of business!

Posted by May on April 17, 2013 16:06


They got out negotiated, it is as simple as that. Damage was caused by an at fault 14 years whose parents should have known better. Little sympathy here.

Posted by Ty on April 17, 2013 16:31


I have no sympathy for these "victims". The use of jetskis in the congested waters is a selfish and irresponsible activity. The outcome also demonstrates an absence of taking responsibility for one's own decisions. Perhaps more of these incidents will encourage potential customers to forgo the use of these dangerous, polluting machines. My perspective is that this is poetic justice and the more it happens, the better. Get rid of the jetskis from the heavily used beach areas. Krabi and Hua Hin don't have a jet ski problem and everyone is better off, except the profiteers, with the jet ski absence. The continued stories of tourist ripoffs demonstrates the ongoing, uncontrolled corruption in Phuket.

Posted by Ryan on April 17, 2013 19:38


Going to a third world tourist destination which doesn't have proper regulations or business practices will always cause these problems. Best to go elsewhere for your holidays where you have peace of mind

Posted by Damien Takac on April 18, 2013 12:05

Sunday September 26, 2021
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa


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