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A jet-ski i on Phuket where arguments continue over damages claims

Tourists 'Intimidated' in Patong Jet-Ski Haggle

Wednesday, April 10, 2013
PHUKET: A college student from Singapore has told of being intimidated in a long confrontation with Phuket jet-ski operators on Patong beach yesterday.

The 17-year-old said he and three friends, who all study in Singapore but live in China, felt at risk as they haggled with the jet-ski operators for three-and-a-half hours.

The student, who prefers to remain anonymous, complained to the Chinese vice-consul and to Phuketwan when the jet-ski operators at first demanded 100,000 baht in compensation.

Eventually, after lengthy haggling, a total of 47,000 baht was agreed upon. That figure included the hiring fee.

''We felt threatened the whole time,'' Zhao said. ''We didn't think it was a fair price at the start and we only agreed to 47,000 baht in the end because we'd had enough.''

Incidents with the potential to end in violence continue to occur on Patong beach because the existing insurance for jet-skis only covers the first 50,000 baht in damage.

Zhao told Phuketwan that he and his friends hired two jet-skis from a point on the beach near the Absolute Sea Pearl Beach Resort and Spa, towards the southern end.

''We had been out for 10 minutes when we tried to travel alongside each other,'' he said. ''That's when we crashed.''

Back on the beach, the jet-ski operators demanded 100,000 baht and the haggling began. Voices tend to be raised and angry gestures are usually a regular occurrence.

China Vice-Consul Qin Jian, who is based off Phuket in Songkhla province, said it was better for arguments about damage to continue at Patong's Kathu Police Station, where threats were less likely to be made.

The young student said it was his first visit to Phuket, ''and it could be the last time.''

Honorary consuls based on Phuket have made the point that the present limited insurance scheme should be made comprehensive to fully protect tourists from having to pay out huge sums of money.

This could best be done by increasing the cost of hiring a jet-ski, the honorary consuls have said.

The students, who arrived on Phuket at the weekend, return to Singapore on Thursday.

A student from Singapore died after being struck when his jet-ski collided with a jet-ski being ridden by a friend off Patong in May, 2010.

The Singapore students in 2010 and again yesterday said they were never properly briefed on the dangers of riding jet-skis.

Comments

Comments have been disabled for this article.

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It's a no win situation as if the jet ski owner upgrades his insurance the hire price goes up so maybe loses some custom then if a hirer has an accident no matter how serious the owners claims all he can regardless how small the damage is then the insurance premiums go up again then the cost of hiring goes up again and so on and so on.

Posted by mick.s on April 10, 2013 16:29

Editor Comment:

It's a win for tourists to avoid disputes and a win for Phuket's international reputation. Charging 2000 baht for 40 minutes indicates the jet-ski operators can easily afford full insurance coverage.

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just get rid of them once and for all. the beach atmosphere will be so much better and tourists will come back. they have had enough chances.

Posted by john on April 10, 2013 17:23

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@ mick.s

It would definitely be an improvement because it's a heck of a lot more difficult to intimidate and blackmail a large Thai insurance company than a few teenage kids from China.

Obviously for this reason they are most unlikely to ever support such a proposal and the local authorities lack the balls to impose such rules upon them.

Too many hands in that cookie jar.

As for me, I would like to see them all banned. They've had their grace periods many times over and a chance to improve their behavior. The results are there for everyone to see.

A blanket ban island wide, thank you.

Posted by Stephen on April 10, 2013 18:00

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I think the best to do is just get rid of them altogether. I do not think we will hear from any future tourists "I'm not booking Phuket because they don't have jet skis for rent"! Good reporting and keep it up - it is one more disgrace to all of Phuket!

Posted by Brad on April 10, 2013 19:12

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wasn't the former police chief (whom change like shoes and socks on Phuket) saying cause of insurance no problem now
well all we see is same problem no change!

Posted by slickmelb on April 10, 2013 20:31

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Just ride sensibel and without friends nearby. Drive outside more far away from the traffic and swimmers, Para sailing boats. Take care.
Sure its now more crowded than some years ago (6-12 years), when I used Jet Ski sometimes at Patong, but I had never a "situation"!

Posted by Alfred on April 10, 2013 22:23

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No doubt the Marine Office chief is still claiming to have never received a complaint and that the system is working fine. Mmmm.

Posted by Duncan on April 11, 2013 12:27

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47,000 baht is nothing for these kids from Singapore. That's small change for them when shopping on Orchard Road. They stay in 4,000 baht+ a night hotels in Thailand because that's already a rock-bottom price for a hotel in Singapore and they don't believe that anything cheaper will be good quality.

Posted by Tristan Singapore on April 11, 2013 14:05

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Tristan, how do you know this is pocket change to these kids? You are just perpetuating a stereotype, where is your proof? Secondly, even if they do have money, does that make it any less ugly? Its ok, those people have money, so ok to intimidate them and rip them off???

Posted by double serpent on April 15, 2013 13:32

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It is so obvious that tourists do not read numerous warnings about these jet ski scams - If you stay ignorant then pay the price guys! When you go to another country stay away from anything that you are not fully trained in i.e. scooters, jet skis etc etc. Why loose all responsibility when going on holiday! Really it is so stupid!

Posted by jacques on April 15, 2013 13:47

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Jacques, I ask a simple question. How many people check, on the internet, or anywhere else, for scams, mafias and any other form of crime, that occurs in or on the location of their holiday. None of my friends or family do, I would suggest they are not alone. I also put it to you, that it is the authorities charged with making it safe. I think your comment is directed at the WRONG people.

Posted by Phuket_IOC on April 15, 2013 18:18

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Phuket IOC I for one are truly amazed by ppl whom travel to a foreign country and don't do one shred of research or its cultural aspects even saw one American in shocked disbelief at the airport once when making a small purchase what you don't take American dollars, well here's the news: things are not the same as they are at home.

Posted by slickmelb on April 16, 2013 05:34


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