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Jet-ski on a Phuket beach: alarm over Thailand's tourist scams

Phuket Scams 'Must End to Save Tourism'

Tuesday, August 18, 2009
JET-SKIS and motorbike taxis will come under much closer scrutiny to prevent tourists being victims of rip-offs and scams, the Governor of Phuket, Wichai Praisa-nob, said yesterday.

''Some authorities'' have also been taking commissions, and this had to stop, he added.

''I believe there have been many incidents, particularly involving Australians, who are Phuket's best customers. But they will head for Bali unless we stop this problem.''

Diplomats have been raising Phuket's scams at the same time as national leaders seek to clean up Thailand's image and attract back tourists.

Phuket's scams are now being recognised as causing as much damage to Thailand as the scandals at Suvarnabhumi airport involving alleged extortion, ''black'' taxis, illegal guides and thefts from baggage.

Airports of Thailand is now calling on state security agencies to draw up new measures to deal with problems at the airport.

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajivas visited the airport on Saturday. Leading diplomats from several countries have told Khun Abhisit and Deputy PM Suthep Thurksuban that scams and ripoffs have to stop in Phuket, too.

Khun Wichai said yesterday: ''I came here thinking that what Phuket needed was infrastructure and a strategy for future development.

''Now I find that there are problems that really should not exist and be allowed to continue on an island that wants to encourage tourists to come here.

''There is no future in ripping off tourists, because they won't come back.''

If diplomats are now telling the national government and the governor that the problems must end, then the scams and the scandals have clearly reached a new plateau.

AoT president Serirat Prasutanond said the outside security agencies were expected to come up with their proposals for Suvarnabhumi and submit them to AoT executives on Thursday.

The governor also plans meetings later this week and next week, focussing on the future of jet-skis, which were at one stage going to be phased out on Phuket.

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Comments

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And yet not one mention of the "red menace" who are probably the worst cartel, scammers, thugs etc the island has.

Recognising the problem is the first step in solving it. Solution is as simple as the two words, "meter taxi" . . .

Posted by LivinLOS on August 18, 2009 10:30

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Over the years I have heard it all before. We are booked to Bali in two weeks and again in March to Bali. I am sure that there are others like us who have said enough is enough!

Posted by Terry - Perth on August 19, 2009 07:49

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and scandinavian tour operators report a record low booking for phuket this high season.... that means that they have to sell the package trips to a reduced price, which means that people with very little money will buy those cheap tickets, which means they have very little money to spend in phuket.
people with money probably prefer cancun, puerto plata, canary islands, miami and other places. tat should pay these places a visit and learn something.

Posted by its me on August 19, 2009 14:28

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We were holidaying in Thailand on average 4 times a year in 2007 and 2008, and would have continued to do so. This year we have only visited once, mainly as we have a condo on Phuket. We have been to Vietnam once and to Bali once this year, and are booked to return to Bali in December. I read about all the scams, and the poor manner in which tourists (foreigners) are treated in general, including the double standards, and just don't have the inclination to return. I have already put my property on the market.

Posted by Anthony - Africa on August 20, 2009 17:33

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I love Thailand - and I love Phuket. But as a visitor of perhaps 15 times to your country, I too have noticed the attitude change among your citizens towards tourists. And the worst part is the Taxi/Tuk-Tuk maffia in Phuket! 1500 THB from the airport to Patong? Krikey, that's even more than I pay at home for the equivalent ride, only I get to ride in a brand new Merc at home when I pay that kind of money. Like someone said - WHY NOT METER TAXIS ON PHUKET? IT WORKS IN BANGKOK; WHY NOT PHUKET?!!

Posted by Tourist on August 22, 2009 13:54

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I dont think the Mafia Tuk tuks really know how their WORLD WIDE reputation has been tarnished over there fleecing of tourists, I had been going to Patong 2-3 times a year for 12 years, NOT anymore, my g/f and I visit other areas in Thailand where the Tuk TUK drivers dont actually run the town !

Meter Taxis and a regulated business will quickly restore tourist faith.

Posted by Chris on August 28, 2009 15:02

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I have been scammed in Bali and everyone knows certain taxis with meters also scam people. Never mind the very quick and sneaky money changers, etc...

Posted by VFaye on August 28, 2009 16:39

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Hey . . . We dont mind a little haggle with the tuk tuk blokes - they are earning a living and its all part of the fun!

Its the time share touts we cannot stand - They ruined our holiday and we will never return to Phuket. If the island wants to keep tourists they need to get shut of these time share thugs

Posted by John mallon on August 28, 2009 18:58

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do a search for thai tourist mafia .

Posted by cs on September 1, 2009 19:18

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RE: Tuck-Tuck: The problem are not the tuck-tuck drivers. The problem is that there are not regulations and too many tuck-tucks are on the road at patong Beach. in the low season it seems there are more tuck-tucks than guests. since there are so many of them, no-one really makes a healthy profit and that's why they start to cheat! I don't blame the people here in Thailand for all the shortcomings. I blame the governments of the past 20 years who never cared about educations, regulations, ethics, values, care, sustainability and planning!

Posted by KR on September 1, 2009 19:33

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Could not agree more with this article. If only the people in charge would do something before it is too late. We left Phuket 6 days earlier than planned after being conned by scratchcard touts working a vacation club scam. We won't be back.

Posted by Anonymous on January 24, 2010 21:59

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Scams and ripoffs in Patong are too many to list. In spite of two local friends who live and work here, getting ripped off is a way of life. Even from people he has known for years. So read the internet warnings and be on guard!!

Posted by Rick on October 13, 2010 17:47

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Yes, Thailand must tackle the scammers and especially the motorcycle British in Patong trying to sell you time share. They are a blight on this country and should be kicked out. Australia has a no hawkers policy. Thailand you need to adopt because as much as I love the Thai nation, I will not come back to Phuket anymore......it's just unbearable,

Posted by Rick on August 1, 2014 12:18


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