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Tourist Ivan Anwar identifies the tuk-tuk in the Phuket-wide police alert

Phuket Tuk-Tuk Hunt: Fisticuffs Fare Flareup

Tuesday, January 5, 2010
Phuketwan UPDATING Report

Frequent live updates are being made. We have a reporter on the spot.
THE TUK-TUK driver wanted after a dispute with a tourist turned violent was being held at Kathu Police Station in Patong this afternoon. Governor Wichai Praisa-ngob has prohibited bail. Officers have named the Canadian tourist as Ivan Bob Anwar, 51.

Original Report

A POLICE alert is on for a tuk-tuk driver who was involved in a punch-up with a tourist this afternoon near Patong. The argument was over the cost of the fare, Phuketwan has been told.

The tuk-tuk number is 30-4414 and an all-points alert has gone out to police all over the south of Phuket. The vehicle is red and has a rear entry-point, rather than a side-entry.

This afternoon the incident took on greater significance when the Governor of Phuket, Wichai Praisa-ngob, told the island's Chief of Police, Major General Pekad Tantipong, that the errant tuk-tuk driver must be arrested today.

Details are yet to come to hand but Patong Police Chief Colonel Grissak Songmoonnark said he had been told that a Canadian man took a tuk-tuk from Patong to Kalim, the bay to the north, a journey of no more than three kilometres.

The Canadian alighted outside the Sunset Beach Resort on the beach road in Kalim. There, the tuk-tuk driver and his tourist passenger fell into a dispute about the fare.

Colonel Grissak, who was at a meeting in Phuket City this afternoon, said the Canadian man was now on his way to Kathu Police Station in Patong.

Police were keen to apprehend the tuk-tuk driver so he could give his account of what transpired.

Initial reports said the tuk-tuk driver had beaten the tourist, but the precise circumstances of the altercation and its outcome have yet to be confirmed.

The Canadian,aged about 50, was treated at Patong Hospital for a wound to his left eyebrow before proceeding to Kathu Police Station nearby, where he was giving his account to police.

Concern about the behavior of some of the island's tuk-tuk drivers has intensified after a French tourist had his arm broken in a dispute at a Karon car park on December 25.

An arrest warrant was due to be issued by the courts on Monday for the man who allegedly beat the Frenchman and his wife and father with the metal stump of a beach umbrella.

However, the suspect, Likit Teangtea, 32, turned himself in at Chalong police station at 7am yesterday and was allowed bail of 100,000 baht.

Agitation in the resident expat community about tuk-tuk drivers has heightened since the Frenchman's arm was broken.

Long-standing resentments about aggressive attitudes, high fares and tuk-tuk only parking in key tourist zones in Patong, Karon and Kata have bubbled to the surface in online chatrooms and in comments made on Phuketwan especially.

Phuketwan has been reporting the issue constantly since its memorable ''mafia'' interview with Karon-Kata Tuk-Tuk Association leader Porntep Chamkawn in July.

Governor Wichai, who last year introduced compulsory insurance to try to end a long-standing extortion scam of tourists by jet-ski operators, said yesterday that the tuk-tuk issue was more difficult because there were more than 1000 tuk-tuk drivers.

Instead of the number of tuk-tuk drivers and illegal ''black'' taxis decreasing because of harsher economic circumstances, the total has been increasing.

The result is that more drivers have been chasing a share of a smaller pool of tourists, and the tourists have less money to spend.

Phuket has never had a proper public transport system because the tuk-tuk drivers have resisted the introduction of buses or taxi-meters and a reasonable scale of fares.

Phuket tuk-tuks continue to demand rates that are the highest in the country, about 10 times those charged in Bangkok for similar journeys.

Here's what Phuketwan editor Alan Morison wrote recently in an article on cnngo.com:

''To put it simply, the world's generosity in restoring Phuket after the tsunami, in returning as tourists, and in making the island an internationally renowned destination, has not been matched by Phuket. It has been met with greed.''

Read more: Phuket post-tsunami: A second wave of greed? | CNNGo.com http://www.cnngo.com/bangkok/none/phuket-posttsunami-second-wave-greed-187418#ixzz0bj2PlZUt
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Comments

Comments have been disabled for this article.

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"Phuket has never had a proper public transport system because the tuk-tuk drivers have resisted the introduction of buses or taxi-meters and a reasonable scale of fares."

Boy, is that that the euphemism of the year! Ask the bus driver on that experimental bus route who was beaten about how the tuk-tuk drivers have "resisted" these other public-transport options.

Editor: Anonymous online comment-makers are bolder than people tend to be in the back of a tuk-tuk. That violence took place almost 20 years ago, too long ago to continue to be relevant.

Posted by D on January 5, 2010 15:05

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Simple solution, make them all run on meters. But first take a deeper look into who actual operates them!!!

Posted by J on January 5, 2010 16:14

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Editor: Anonymous online comment-makers are bolder than people tend to be in the back of a tuk-tuk. That violence took place almost 20 years ago, too long ago to continue to be relevant.

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The fact that threats of violence are plain and obvious to alternative transport provider, with the net result that a available bus route concession is still open and unclaimed is surely highly relevant to why we don't have any alternatives !!

Editor: That incident was a long time ago. Reminding people about it simply confuses the issue. This is not about the character of today's tuk-tuk drivers two decades on, but about 21st century economics. Many commenters confuse the two, diminishing the logic that will eventually win the argument. It must, or Phuket has no future.

Posted by LivinLOS on January 5, 2010 18:22

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So why does the Governor step in and prohibits bail in this case, but the guy beating up the French couple is out on bail? Does it mean that Karon Tuk Tuks have more power than Patong's?

Posted by Fritz Pinguin on January 5, 2010 18:56

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And how does a tuk tuk driver come up with 100,000 Baht ?

Posted by phill on January 6, 2010 03:08

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Interesting they gave themselves up. Maybe their bosses are feeling the heat and not providing protection?

Posted by walker on January 6, 2010 03:45

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Fritz P.,
How would you like to have your right to bail rescinded because it might hurt tourism? DUE PROCESS FOR ALL .

Is this and the other tourist related bad news reported in Thai press I wonder?

I wish someone would put out a translated copy of local Thai news, that would be interesting.

Posted by Horse Doctor on January 6, 2010 08:02

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A long jail term might help, but i don't think so! how can this keep going on ? is there no law here to protects us? it seems no, maybe time to start looking to move somewhere else more safe.

Editor: Yes, there are laws to protect residents and visitors. Occasionally, just like everywhere else, the laws are broken. Both alleged perpetrators have been arrested.That's about as good as the law gets anywhere. We'll leave the appropriate penalty to the appropriate people.

Posted by tony tibbs on January 6, 2010 08:26

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Let's be honest about this,Thailand is a beautiful country and the majority of Thais are wonderful, but they don't want us only our MONEY.

Editor: With that kind of comment, Anonymous, you don't deserve to be wanted anywhere. It's plain you mix with the wrong kind of people. Being in Thailand probably has nothing to do with it.

Posted by Anonymous on January 8, 2010 18:52


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