Tourism News

Tourism News Phuketwan Tourism News
facebook recommendations


Sign up now for our News Alert emails and the latest breaking news plus new features.

Click to subscribe

Existing subscribers can unsubscribe here


Australian Gary Ponting confronts Patong taxi drivers at a resort

VIDEO Aussie Takes on Patong Taxi Drivers

Thursday, October 3, 2013
Today's VIDEO of the Patong Taxi Confrontation

An Australian expat tries to take photographs of ''aggressive'' Patong taxi drivers and gets a predicable reaction.

PHUKET: Dramatic security camera footage shows a confrontation between an Australian man and a group of taxi drivers in Patong this week.

The Australian, expat resident Gary Ponting, pulls up almost directly outside the taxi stand at the Phuket Graceland Resort and Spa.

He gets out and takes some photos. The drivers react to this intrusion. A group of drivers gather. A punch is thrown.

Mr Ponting retreats to his pickup, pulls out a handgun and waves it to avoid a second attack and a beating.

He flees, but doesn't get very far.

Mr Ponting returned to the resort because of what he said was aggressive behavior by the taxi drivers earlier in the day.

The issue of this week is not whether Gary Ponting should have done what he did but whether the law on Phuket is ever going to be able to tame the taxi drivers.

The confrontation at the Patong resort shared the interest of authorties with incidents at Rawai and at Kamala, where the drivers staged blockades.

Most resorts on Phuket bend to the will of the taxi driver groups. Resort managements are mostly cowed and submissive because they have to be.

They know that the taxi drivers rule Phuket's streets, just as they rule the entrances to virtually all the resorts.

Meanwhile, Phuket's authorities worry about persuading Phuket's illegal taxis to become legal.

But the two biggest issues are the extortionate fares and the control that the taxi and tuk-tuk drivers hold over Phuket's streets.

The Department of Special Investigation arrived on Phuket on August 9 with the intention of sorting out the island's corruption and its public transport system.

Fresh off the flight from Bangkok, perhaps it seemed a relatively easy task.

It must have dawned on the DSI soon after that the power of the drivers stretches north and south, east and west, all over Phuket.

So far, there has been no sign of the comprehensive reforms that Phuket requires if its future as a tourist destination is to be assured.

Gary Ponting may have gone about sorting out one group of taxi drivers in the wrong way. But at least he had the courage to try.

Today's VIDEO of the Patong Taxi Confrontation

An Australian expat tries to take photographs of ''aggressive'' Patong taxi drivers and gets a predicable reaction.


Comments have been disabled for this article.


Shared the video on Facebook and Twitter. This is every day reality here.

Posted by Jakub P. on October 3, 2013 18:15


"Gary Ponting may have gone about sorting out one group of taxi drivers in the wrong way. But at least he had the courage to try." I could not agree more.
It would be really refreshing if those involved in a flagrant attempt to pervert the course of justice, were held fully responsible for their actions. Let's wait and see what happens.

Posted by Terry on October 3, 2013 23:23


I have to admit, first I thought of one of the crazy expats who live also here. Reading his and their accounts and then seeing the video shows what happened, he is telling the truth. Cool the video still exists. And he was beaten and kicked multiple times by the more friendly than others Taxi stand.

I stand by my proposition some years ago: Any Taxi/Tuktuk driver who in the line of duty gets physical or intimidate and does not call the police (specially in groups) has to loose the right to work this job. First time offenders three month with anti aggressive seminar and exam. Second time offenders one year off and third time gone. Also dissolve taxi ranks that get physical. Hold statistics about complaints, let the tourist identify drivers easily by ID no... Even when you cannot brake their monopoly, you have to break their behavior cycle.

It would be so easy, if only (some of) the police was not part of the problem.

Posted by Lena on October 3, 2013 23:40


So I do hope the police will now be arresting and charging those who gave false testimony for giving false statements to the police ??

Ohh sorry.. I forgot where I was for a moment.

Posted by LivinLOS on October 4, 2013 08:41


The fact that the Tuk Tuk issue has resulted in an incident like this is testament to the failure of government to manage the issue. I cannot however condone waving a gun around in an area where there are inocent locals and tourists no matter what the problem. This could have turned very ugly indeed.

Posted by Pete59 on October 4, 2013 09:30


It is now obvious that what actually happened is far different to the original Phuketwan report which sided very strongly with the Thai taxi drivers. Perhaps the Australian should have been interviewed before the obvious lies of taxi driver thugs are believed and reported as fact.

Posted by jimmy on October 4, 2013 09:58

Editor Comment:

I guess you're a little slow in understanding how news is reported, jimmy. It may not have occurred to you that arrested people are not instantly accessible. As usual, phuketwan was the first responder and led the way on this particular incident. And as usual, we updated as fresh information became accessible. Some readers think facts fall off trees and appear all at once for everyone to pluck. Some readers are plug ignorant. If you compare and contrast our articles on this particular topic with the coverage on other sites, you wil quickly be on your knees praising the lord that phuketwan not only responds fast but also perseveres and always gets it right. No need to thank us, jimmy. We do it because we want to improve Phuket. It's all yours for no charge, and we know you're deeply grateful. Say after me: ''Phuketwan is f-r-e-e and it's wonderful to have international award winning journalists working on my behalf.'' Well done, jimmy.


Was it a real gun or a BB gun?

Pointing a gun at somebody is a very serious matter(life or death) If you are going to threaten people with a gun you should make sure it is real. Good luck with the toy gun when the real bullets start flying.

This aussie nearly started a shootout in a busy tourist area. The way he was taking the photos was obviously meant to provoke the taxi drivers. He could have easily just driven by slowly and snapped their pics for the authorities without incident.

I think both parties are way out of line in this case.

Posted by BigP on October 4, 2013 10:24


I think it was excellent coverage by PW to bring this to the public's attention early, facts unfold and as the victim of this violent attack was in jail his story could not originally be heard. Don't let people like Jimmy put you off reporting PW. It is sad how life in Phuket can change perhaps for ever by these thugs who often carry guns and knives. I steer well clear of taxi/tuktuks (except for one guy who is always reliable) but sadly the largest group in number terms are the Thais who often cannot afford to travel by taxis and are therefore forced to drive motorbikes often with large items to carry. PW often reports articles in a difficult environment but please carry on, as you know I am a regular reader and commentator.

Posted by Fiesty Farang on October 4, 2013 11:10


So Aussie will be fined 2 months jail for knife and ammunition and taxi drivers 500bath each for beating him up..

Posted by Lunal on October 4, 2013 11:17

Editor Comment:

You must have access to information we don't have, Lunal. Guesswork serves no useful purpose. If you have nothing to add of value, there's not much point in posting.


Radison hotel has the same problem with taxi drivers but the DSI stay there, know the problem and play cards with the problem!

Enough said!!!!!!

Posted by Terry on October 4, 2013 11:20

Editor Comment:

Terry, the Radisson says it's not true. So why spread rumors?


The xxxxxxxxx that is about to kick a human being in the head should be identified and strung up. Coward

Posted by gee on October 4, 2013 11:25

Editor Comment:

You don't think it's cowardly for an anonymous person online to call people insulting names and urge a violent lynch mob reaction?

Is that adding value? Will a good lynching solve the problem?


Staff at PW inferring taking a picture justifies battery show their obvious bias.

Posted by mediaschmeida on October 4, 2013 11:49

Editor Comment:

Phuketwan reports the news without bias. We leave unreasonable judgements to a few readers who live in their own warped little worlds.


You are well out of line. xxxxxx is not strong enough for these limpets. This is not anonymous, every contributor here discloses contact details. Your off your head thinking the only valid view is your own. Good luck with that.

Posted by gee on October 4, 2013 12:23

Editor Comment:

The difference between your view and mine is that I can tell right from wrong, gee. And people who advocate violence are always wrong. If you think an email address represents an identity, then that's another mistaken belief. You are only a three letter word to other readers, including me.


It seems you are not a native English speaker. Some coward kicks a member of your family in head and you suggest a sit down and a chat with the culprit. Yet again you're very mistaken.

Posted by gee on October 4, 2013 13:28

Editor Comment:

I said nothing of the kind, gee. You don't seem to understand what you read.


Both sides of the story were presented, and the video is the collaborating evidence. In my opinion that's good reporting. Before commenting some of you should read all the articles associated with the story.

Posted by Terry on October 4, 2013 13:32


- gee

I understand your feelings if the victim was your family member but I have to agree with Terry on this.

Both sides were presented without bias or conclusions drawn and as a cherry on the top we now have indisputable video evidence.

In my opinion reporting doesn't get much better than this.

Where there's definitely room for improvement is the police action taken.

If tourist safety is a priority, like they claim, then one would assume that video evidence of a gang of taxi drivers beating up a man in broad daylight and in front of an upscale resort, even with other tourists seen passing by, would compel them to immediate and harsh action against the assailants.

So far I have not heard one word about anyone else being even questioned except the Australian.

That sure sends a clear message to those wondering if the tourism safety campaign is genuine or just window dressing as usual.

Posted by ThaiMike on October 4, 2013 14:15


@Terry. On behalf of the radisson Blu Plaza Phuket Resort, I would like to clarify that the DSI does not stay in our hotel. Transport is arranged through the resort assigned operator with 5 stars courteous service. We never had any issues, quarrels or disputes, never mind physical altercations. Please do not spread incorrect information.

Posted by Radisson blu plaza resort phuket on October 4, 2013 14:23

Editor Comment:

Thanks for your response.


- Radisson

If I have a friend staying in your resort and I want to use my own, Phuket registered car to pick him up, can you guarantee there will be no interference from either your assigned transport company or any other "unassigned" taxi drivers loitering around your resort ?

Posted by ThaiMike on October 4, 2013 16:32


No bias? okay so why 'at least he had the courage to try'? That is not courage - he waved a gun & that is simply a criminal offence anywhere in the world. I am losing my conception of right & wrong with regards to Phuket.

Posted by Logic on October 4, 2013 23:41

Editor Comment:

The article says that he returned to the taxi rank so he could take photographs to complain about ''aggressive'' behavior of drivers to officials. That's where the ''courage'' comes in.
Most readers would draw the conclusion that he pulled the gun in self-defence to stave off a beating.
Two wrongs don't make a right.


These so called tough taxi m**** aren't so tuff, they always have to gang up. So whats the DSI doing about this mob. Wouldn't take long to visit all the ranks and sort these people out.

Posted by Dave66 on October 5, 2013 11:23


@LivinLos; Just FYI, it is not illegal to lie to the police. It's illegal to lie under oath in a court, and it's illegal to file a false police report. I don't think either of those things happened here.

Posted by NomadJoe on October 7, 2013 10:25


@LivinLos; Just FYI, it is not illegal to lie to the police. It's illegal to lie under oath in a court, and it's illegal to file a false police report. I don't think either of those things happened here.

@ Everyone talking about "pulling a gun," and "waving a gun around" fyi the gun was not real.

Posted by NomadJoe on October 7, 2013 10:43


It are not rumors, because every hotel deny in front of public, that they have this problem to save face until it became to problematic to hide. I can count more than 10 hotels, where I got complaints from our guests about taxi blockades. But when managers or recepcionists are being asked, everything is ok. I believe my guests.

Posted by Stranger on October 7, 2013 11:11


Tuk tuks......I have only ridden on one once and never again. This limited me in Patong to only walking, and after two visits I switched to Pattaya which I visit twice a year and spend my dollars there. The baht buses have it all over the thuggery of tuk tuk drivers. I am retired and reasonably well off and quite happy to drop 6ok baht for my month stay. Patongs loss Pattayas gain.

Posted by Peter Thorpe on September 20, 2014 14:04

Wednesday October 27, 2021
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa


Facebook Twitter