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Jet-skis on Phuket's Patong beach, where scams are reported often

Phuket's Pleasant Surprise: Police Chiefs Mass to Start Jet-Ski, Tuk-Tuk Rip-Off War

Wednesday, July 4, 2012
Today's Updating Report

PHUKET: Senior national police joined a top-level meeting on Phuket today as action began to end rip-offs and scams and restore Phuket's reputation.

The ''Phuket Model'' will not only obliterate the rip-offs and scams that have plagued Phuket tourism but also serve when the time comes to clean up Pattaya, Samui and Bangkok, Phuket business leaders were told today.

''We are here to end the mafia's influence on Phuket,'' said Thailand's second most highly ranked policeman, Deputy Police Chief Lieutenant General Pansiri Prapawat.

The murder of Australian travel agent Michelle Smith on Phuket may have been random and coincidental but it appears to have been the last straw for Phuket's would-be reformers.

In the wake of the savage killing by would-be bag snatchers on June 20, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has ordered police to fix Thailand tourism's reputation.

Today at Provincial Hall in Phuket City, Phuket business leaders looked on as the largest assembly of police leaders Phuket has seen gathered to keep the PM's promise.

Represented at today's historic Phuket summit were not just police superintendents and commanders from Phuket, Phang Nga, Krabi and neighboring provinces, but from every province in Thailand with a connection to tourism.

The meeting is the culmination of two-and-a-half years of continuous pressure for change from tourists who made complaints to honorary consuls and to embassies.

Ambassadors from Europe, Australia, the US and China have persuaded Mrs Shinawatra and her government to end the corruption and make Thai tourism clean again.

First in line for action, it is believed, will be Phuket's jet-skis, where scams have continued despite one local authority claiming that an insurance scheme has solved the problem.

Phuket tuk-tuk drivers with a reputation for thuggery and hidden weapons are likely to be next.

The vast number of illegal taxis on Phuket, where high fares are demanded out of proportion to distances, now seem certain to be turned into a modern, effective network eventually.

Deputy national Police Chief Lieutenant General Pansiri chaired today's meeting.

Phuket Police Commander Major General Chonsit Wadhnawarangkun was there, with police chiefs from Bangkok, Surat Thani, Chiang Mai and Pattaya.

Lieutenant General Pansiri and other police chiefs are to meet the PM on Friday to bring her up-to-date on progress, the meeting was told.

Phuket's Deputy Land Transport Director, Wanta Pumararoskon, said that deadlines had been set for Phuket's illegal taxis to be registered, beginning at the Central Festival shopping mall's cab rank at 2pm today.

A deadline has been set of 2pm on Friday when illegal ''black'' taxis based in Thalang can register, followed by a July 11 deadline for taxis in Patong and the surrounding Kathu district.

Comments

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Nice to see another meeting has been held about this. How many meetings is this in the last 5 years... 30?

Posted by Tbs on July 4, 2012 11:25

Editor Comment:

I guess you don't get it, tbs. Now that the Prime Minster and senior Bangkok police are involved, there's genuine hope. Yet you are still counting the number of meetings . . .

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We can all only hope and pray that this actually does something.

Posted by larry on July 4, 2012 11:25

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I appreciate the positive tone of the coverage, but will believe results when I see some. That the taxi queues at Central are the starting point surely is questionable, get a quote on a charge at The International Hospital, for instance; I would struggle up the road any day to Big C or Central and get a sensible (for Phuket) fare from there.

Posted by ssresident on July 4, 2012 12:01

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I can understand Tbs reluctance to believe there will be any change this time as there never has been before. Prime Minister or no Prime Minister the fact still remains that the the Phuket police will be expected to stand up to, and put an end to the Mafia they have supported and worked hand in hand with for years.
Just the other day the Director of Phuket Airport declared security measures to put an end to illegal Taxi's and touts operating at the airport a success. Yet if he would like I could drive him out there now and could show him they are as many as there ever was if not more operating with impunity.

Posted by chrisT on July 4, 2012 12:15

Editor Comment:

The airport director didn't say that on Phuketwan. We don't repeat ''news'' from less reliable sources. If you have been reading Phuketwan for the past few years, you should have noted the gradual increase in interest and pressure from honorary consuls and embassies, and what appears to be a genuine attempt at fixing the problems. If you want to rely on other sources, stick with them.

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Indeed a pleasant surprise, let's see in three months time whether it actually happened.

Posted by Bjarne on July 4, 2012 12:49

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A meeting of such high positioned people in charge and power is surely a different approach to meetings held before. One things seems clear the continious raising of issues by media and particulary this website, has made a difference to bring critical issues to higher level.

Posted by wm on July 4, 2012 12:50

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I have no doubt of the honorable intentions of the Honorary Consuls and they are to be applauded for their efforts. I hope with all my heart for change each and every time change its announced but it never happens. This time too I hope but i fear that unless there are some sweeping changes within the Police force nothing will change. I understand the Bangkok Police are to be involved but when all has been declared a success and the dust settles . . .

Posted by chrisT on July 4, 2012 12:57

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I just say good luck for phuket !!

Posted by jorgen48 on July 4, 2012 13:55

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I hope with all my heart that that this can be cleaned up,im not being negative but there have been so many attempts all to no avail I wish them well and the best of luck tourist can help also by not using these jet-skis

Posted by Alex on July 4, 2012 14:03

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Good news. Definitely the most positive step in a long time and EVERYONE should get behind it.

Posted by Duncan on July 4, 2012 14:32

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Let's wait until next high season before we line the streets with bunting.

Posted by Buster on July 4, 2012 15:16

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sometimes a man gotta do what a man gotta do,, this time a woman does what a man should have done.. way to go , kick 'em asses.....

Posted by frog on July 4, 2012 15:33

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The rules of the game is changing. The heat is on. Good.

Posted by Lena on July 4, 2012 17:35

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You pull this move off Deputy Police Chief Lieutenant General Pansiri Prapawat and the whole Island will be right beside you. Now is the time we need a fearless doer and an action man or woman. Sir you walked up to the plate, deliver the home run please.

Posted by Dun on July 4, 2012 18:01

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great news ...lets hope the momentum continues ...

Posted by chris on July 4, 2012 20:58

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No more tuk tuk blockades of the US Navy?
That will be an improvement.

Posted by JJ on July 6, 2012 08:24


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