PHUKET: Thailand's Tourist Police are to be given additional training and greater powers so they can better protect visitors, Phuket officials were told today.
News of the plan came with the opening of the Tourist Protection Section at Phuket Provincial Court. The new office will fast-track cases involving Phuket tourists.
The innovative process has been widely misrepresented as a ''Tourist Court.'' Thailand's laws remain the same for all, Thais and non-Thais.
The protection centres, as Phuketwan
has reported, are aimed at easing unwanted delays that sometimes pervert the course of justice and lead to the false impression that the system is prejudiced against tourists.
Opening Phuket's Tourist Protection Section today was the President of Thailand's Supreme Court, Pairoj Wayuparb, with the Minister of Tourism and Sport, Somsak Pureesrisak, the Chair of the Senate Select Committee on Tourism, Senator Tunyaratt Achariyachai, and Phuket Governor Maitree Intrusud.
Hosting the event was the Chief of the Phuket Provincial Court, Parinya Chaowalittawin.
Several Phuket envoys were present including Australia's retiring honorary consul, Larry Cunningham, the Netherlands representative, Seven Smulders, and France's honorary consul designate, Claude De Crissey.
Ministry of Tourism and Sport spokesperson Watchara Kannikar said the next step in improving the present system would involve upgrading the skills and powers of Tourist Police, who at present are liaison officers.
''Having this new process for tourists to achieve justice in Thailand faster is of enormous benefit to Thailand,'' he said.
One Tourist Protection Section has already fast-tracked cases in Pattaya and other offices are proposed for tourist destinations around Thailand, including Suvarnabhumi airport in Bangkok.
Two Crime Crisis Centres have already opened on Phuket as part of an anti-corruption drive initiated by Minister Somsak. It's intended to create a ''Phuket model'' for scam-free tourism, and the model will be transported to other tourist destinations.