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A brawl blew up today over a tuk-tuk parked in this spot in Soi Bangla

Phuket Tuk-Tuk Brawl With Expats: Drawn Gun Triggers Patong Blockade

Monday, August 1, 2011
PHUKET: Expats and tuk-tuk drivers fought in a brawl early today that was so wild it led one police officer to draw his gun - and that triggered a protest by tuk-tuk drivers and a blockade of Phuket's main one-way ring road.

Police are today reviewing security camera footage of the 1am melee in Soi Bangla, Patong's famous walking thoroughfare, and may press charges.

One of the three expats involved - believed to be tourists, nationality unknown - required 18 stitches to a head wound.

About 10 tuk-tuk drivers were involved in the brawl, a senior Phuket police officer said today.

The Deputy Superintendent of Kathu Police Station, Colonel Patya Jansomwong, was called out to resolve the blockade in the early hours.

He said that the expats had left Hollywood disco and were involved in an incident at the top end of Soi Bangla, where a parked tuk-tuk was damaged.

The driver objected and asked for 1000 baht to repair the damage, but the expats refused to pay and a fight broke out.

Colonel Patya said several police arrived to break up the fight. In the process, one officer became alarmed and drew his pistol.

The tuk-tuk drivers were so incensed at the officer drawing a gun that they blockaded Rat-U-Tit 200 Pi Road, the northern thoroughfare of the one-way system that rings Patong.

About 40 tuk-tuk drivers blocked the road for about 30 minutes, police said.

Colonel Patya arrived and eventually managed to restore calm. He explained that the officer who drew the gun was new to Phuket and had only been in Patong for three weeks.

The expats said the tuk-tuk drivers started the fight. The tuk-tuk drivers said the expats started the fight.

Security footage being reviewed today is expected to clarify what happened.

It's the second incident involving expats and brawling tuk-tuk drivers so far this year.

In February, a group of tourists from Sydney left Phuket hurriedly after being involved in a brawl with a group of men in Patong who were said to be tuk-tuk drivers.

The brawl followed damage to a tuk-tuk, which the Australians denied causing. Two Australians were stabbed, with one knifed in the chest.

In the face of potential counter-charges over the damage to the tuk-tuk, which may have involved a longer stay on Phuket, the wounded Australians and their friends flew out hastily.


Comments have been disabled for this article.


Not again. Will this behavior ever cease?

Posted by Robin on August 1, 2011 10:34


And another day in paradise passes with the Tuk Tuks in control of the island .

Posted by lord Jim on August 1, 2011 10:34


Why did the police let the tuk tuk driver park there in the first place, i thought no vehicles were allowed on Soi Bangla at night time, and the brave tuk tuk drivers 10 against 3, and they were incensed when the police officer was trying to do his job, it shows you who runs Patong?

Posted by Roger on August 1, 2011 10:48


This article contains a number of factual inaccuracies. The people involved were not expats, they were tourists. If you think genuine expats behave like that and frequent places like Hollywood disco, you are very mistaken. Secondly, you refer to and show a photo of a tuk-tuk "parked in Soi Bangla". As that would be a pedestrian street at that hour, it must have been parked either on the Beach Road or Rat-U-Thit 100 Pii Road. (moderated)

Posted by Andy on August 1, 2011 10:52

Editor Comment:

Get your facts straight, Andy. We do. Whether the men involved are tourists or residents is not clear yet. The tuk-tuk pictured is parked in Soi Bangla: the photograph was taken on Wednesday. It's Rat-U-Tit 200 Pi Road.


It won't end until someone will get killed... Please make something about these street dictators before it's too late...

Posted by Nick on August 1, 2011 11:05


When will the authorities start to deal with these thugs in earnest? Is it not the duty of a policeman to draw a gun if he feels threatened?

Posted by Anonymous on August 1, 2011 11:10


Who is in charge here? The police or the tuk-tuk drivers? When they blocked the road they should have been arrested, not placated.

Posted by Paoa on August 1, 2011 11:43


Ho Hum....another tuk tuk incident that will just get swept under the rug....and as nick said, next will be someone getting killed and of course when that happens it will be the tourists fault no doubt...Keep up the good PR're doing a great job

Posted by sky on August 1, 2011 11:47


Tuk tuks are easy to provoke because they are the Kings of the Streets with license to drive, park and behave any way they want and always get away with it - blessed from the top of the Patong system.

Posted by Hockey on August 1, 2011 11:52


The Tuk-Tuk on the picture is actually parked illegally, since it is BEHIND the No-Entry-Sign. It should never have gotten there. Put a chain on it and let the driver pay the fine next morning... but who would dare to fine a Tuk-Tuk?

Posted by Fritz Pinguin on August 1, 2011 13:05


""He explained that the officer who drew the gun was new to Phuket and had only been in Patong for three weeks.""

So the poor silly new policeman did not know yet that in Phuket the current law is not applicable!!

Maybe having a proper "orientation" for any new policeman and teaching them when to to close the eyes etc. etc would help?

Posted by Mr. K on August 1, 2011 13:26



Somebody getting killed will NOT change anything. A period of big words but no real action, maybe a tuk tuk driver going home to Nakorn Sri Thammarat for a few months..Thats it.

Posted by christian on August 1, 2011 14:18


This poor officer wasn't briefed on how to handle things here in Phuket. Always side with the Tuk Tuk or Jet skis in case of any dispute. It's encouraging that cctv cameras will be used to see what 'actually' happened. Although having frequented Patong and having the verbal abuse from these guys maybe the 'real' story will never be known. 10 on 3? Cowards!

Posted by Just Sayin on August 1, 2011 15:37


Editor - your response to Andy seems a bit sharp - perhaps there's some history. In the article, you state 'expats involved - thought to be tourists', yet your headline says 'Brawl with Expats'. I think Andy has a fair point. If they are thought to be tourists, then the headline wording 'expats' should not have been used. It is fair comment to be sensitive to the inappropriate use of this term. As to the 'Ratuthit' spelling, I, too, have obviously been in error the past 25 years with the erroneous 'h'. Would you be so kind as to advise where you found the official spelling (and perhaps you could advise Google to correct their spelling as well)? (Serious query - I'm not having a dig.) The story itself is interesting - looking forward to the outcome.

Posted by Ping on August 1, 2011 15:49

Editor Comment:

To be told that we get our facts wrong by Andy, who wouldn't know, automatically triggers an abrupt response, Ping. For our purposes, all internationals are expats, unless they are more clearly defined by the authorities. Embassies and police do not distinguish between tourists and expat residents - nor do we, unless we have the chance to check visas. When it comes to crimes, the ''expats'' we hear about usually are distinguished by committing the more serious ones. We spell it Rat-U-Tit because that's our preference but 'Ratuthit' would be acceptable too. Our problem was with Andy's 100 Pi (it's200 Pi). Although we never lay claims to perfection, we know where our photographs are taken, and don't need to be told differently. And if Andy (or anyone) is abrupt, he or she can expect an abrupt response.


I feel sorry for the new officer who it seems was not fully clued into the command structure of patong beach .Thugs ie tuk-tuks drivers and jet-skies entrepreneurs....... run the place with the protection of the great and the not so good ,they can do no wrong and they will be in the right at all times even if they are caught bang to rights holding a smoking gun dripping knife or a tourists passport. It's a wee bit like a Thai version of Chicago in the 1930 except the government is not putting an Elliot Ness figure in to take down the bad guys.Till then officer [soon to be patrolling in patani in a day glow vest] tourists,expats oh and honest local Thai people are fair game in patong.

Posted by Scunner on August 1, 2011 16:23


Another reason to spend my 2 Mil. Bath per year somewhere else...i am so sick of this guys...

Posted by mike on August 1, 2011 17:20

Editor Comment:

I am curious, Mike. With two million baht to spend, why do you need tuk-tuks?


BangkokPost just posted the story about Phuket TukTuk.
This is not in foavor of Phuket.

Posted by Whistle-Blower on August 1, 2011 18:49

Editor Comment:

The Bangkok Post report mentions ''minibuses,'' whistle-blower, which goes to show how credible this version is.


I'm amazed that anyone who travels to Phuket would even consider using a tuk-tuk. Don't these people do their homework before they travel? Vote with your wallet and put these clowns out of business! A blockade; and the boys in brown do nothing until the boss gets there?

Posted by Steve L. on August 1, 2011 19:31


@ Steve L.
If "these people" would do the homeworks there would be no business for Jet Skis at the beach, Tuk Tuks or Time Share in Patong or any STD-Clinic around the Island. Business is booming - Sad but true !

Posted by Oliver S. on August 1, 2011 20:36


The TukTuks are the main reason why i dont go to Phuket. As long as things are as they are, i rather spent my money in Pattaya and BKK.

SomNamNa Phuket!

Posted by OleK on August 1, 2011 22:07


I wonder where the warning shot landed?

as for the tuk tuk crew, they don't seem to get much business, so they resort to any excuse to extort money

Posted by mikey on August 1, 2011 22:09

Editor Comment:

There was no warning shot.

You are jumping to conclusions about the rights and wrongs of this case. Do you spend a lot of time on Thai Visa?


Editor Comment:

I am curious, Mike. With two million baht to spend, why do you need tuk-tuks?

Perhaps not everyone likes to drink and drive..

Posted by LivinLOS on August 1, 2011 22:33


Have a tuktuk friend and neighbor. Never any troubles. Don't bother them or use their service if you dislike them or if you don't agree with the fare. I don't think the prices are unfair. Take a cab in your own country and pay the jackpot price.

Posted by Richard on August 2, 2011 02:35


Been here 20 years as a's getting worse and worse..Why humiliate the police man who drew his gun? everybody on their knees for Patong m****? Great for Phuket's reputation...

Posted by Ian on August 2, 2011 06:59

Editor Comment:

Ian, the tuk-tuk drivers make the point that the real mafia is a bunch of killers who push drugs. Use of the word is odious and unfair.

[mah-fee-uh, maf-ee-uh]
3.any small powerful or influential group in an organisation or field; clique.

Posted by another steve on August 2, 2011 08:04

Editor Comment:

That would apply to you and two friends. It's a nonsense use of a word that should be reserved for valid comparisons. Better to keep language precise and effective, and fair.


i dont need to take a tuk tuk that i can see that patong is in the hand of taxi and tuk tuk m****. i am just tired how things are done here by the goverment...after 6 years its time to move on because they won they fight at the moment...

Posted by mike on August 2, 2011 08:50


"...Take a cab in your own country and pay the jackpot price.
Posted by Richard on August 2, 2011 02:35 "

That Richard is exactly why I refuse after my visit here two years ago to return. You have hit the nail square on the head!

I live in in Hong Kong and the minimum fare for an air conditioned, good quality Toyota taxi, with an English speaking driver,is HK$20,or Baht 77.

For my Baht 77 I would comfortably be able to travel at least the whole length of Patong, and probably a little further before the meter started to tick over.

Why on God's earth am I expected to pay around 160% more for a disgusting unsafe uncomfortable tuk tuk, whose drivers also prevented me from parking my car when I hired one to avoid their charges??

Posted by Jamie on August 2, 2011 08:55


And colonel Patya had to apologize to the tuk tuk m**** for his police officer who dared to stand up to the gangsters? Does anyone really think that the law can solve any crime in Thailand.

Posted by Merkco on August 2, 2011 13:33


You can't blame the tuk tuk drivers for wanting to cave some farangs head in. They see the way half of them behave on soi bangla every night. So when one messes with them they are only happy to oblige.

Posted by Mick on August 2, 2011 18:24


Well were they 'expats' or 'tourists'? World of difference you know. Expats are aware, to a lesser or greater degree of the societal mores of their adopted country. Tourists, in the main, are not.

Posted by tamsin on August 3, 2011 12:45


I take issue with your castigation of Ping and Andy for your usage of the word 'expat', specifically in your headline, and 'tourist'. I clocked this article as expats fighting with tuk tuk drivers would, in my view, be a harbinger of a very serious problem on this island, as opposed to the usual 2 week tourist malarkey.

And, by the way, the police most certainly do not regard all expats and tourists as 'tourists', To them we are 'faLUNG'.

Posted by tamsin on August 3, 2011 13:01

Editor Comment:

We didn't say the police regard tourists and expats as tourists. They are both passport-carrying non-Thais. Police and embassies do not differentiate. Tourists or expats, they are treated the same way. Phuketwan abhors the word 'foreigner' so to us, tourists and expat residents are both expats, unless we are able to physically determine that they're here on short-term visas. The evidence is that while tourists are playful and sometimes find trouble, it's the expat residents who may understand the culture better but also kill and commit major crimes. It's not reasonable to expect Phuketwan to be able to check the passports of unnamed people who make news to determine whether they are tourists or not. Our approach and style choice hasn't suddenly changed.
I always thought that castigation was something people did with a vibrator.


castigate was properly used as in reproof or criticism. I am not familiar with catigate? Weinergate, watergate, close the gate yes but catigate? I suppose though you are correct and it is time to give the cats their due. Or perhaps this should be in the Bangla, Blingla thread referring to cat-o-nine tails?

Posted by Martin on August 3, 2011 15:04

Editor Comment:

I've fixed the s spelling mistake.


@Ed "I always thought that castigation was something people did with a vibrator."
Maybe something you alone do far too often Ed...joke , right?

Posted by davidj949 on August 3, 2011 17:51


Has there been any word or followup on what the CCTV footage showed, or will it be shoved under the rug since the two Dutch tourists didn't show at the police station? It would be nice if news sources ( well actually the police) would report their findings and post it up on youtube.

Posted by CCTV on August 4, 2011 12:35


home country taxi fares don't matter, Richard. This is a relative matter and you know it.

I vacationed for two weeks in Phuket. One week was in Rawai and the other was in Patong. I am also finished with Phuket. there are many other nice places in Thailand where I'll happily spend my baht.

Posted by dannythered on September 12, 2011 09:38


Just come across this story, so apologies for the late post. What is the latest on this?

Just my own two cents worth, but as far as I can tell, it looks to me as if the officer was defending the foreigners. Reading through most of these stories, it is a common complaint that if there is a dispute between locals and foreigners, don't rely on the police to help you. It's possible having seen the response from his superiors, that this officer was unaware that national loyalty trumps duty.

It has to be seen as a disgrace though, that the streets appeared to be ruled by the TukTuk drivers and not the Police.

Posted by SpurredoninDublin on November 18, 2011 18:46

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