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The meeting hears about complaints chanelled through the Human Rights Commission

Human Rights Seeks Action on Patong Tuk-Tuks, Police Bribes

Saturday, September 25, 2010
PHUKET authorities have been told to investigate complaints to Thailand's Human Rights Commission about tuk-tuk intimidation and corruption among police in Patong.

Governor Wichai Praisa-ngob received a letter from the Human Rights Commission detailing the complaints. As he is retiring within days, he ordered the Director of the Kathu Sub-district, Siripat Patpakul, to investigate.

Khun Siripat called a crisis meeting on Wednesday.

The letter said complaints had been received from tourists about lack of public parking on the Patong beachfront where car and motorcycle rentals had taken control, the scratching of private cars that parked in controlled spots, high fares in metered and non-metered taxis, and payments by illegal immigrants to police.

Preechavude ''Parb'' Keesin, president of the Patong Taxi Federation, said that the federation was happy to cooperate with the investigation and follow all regulations. The federation has organised many Patong tuk-tuk, taxi, minivan and motorcycle riders and attempted to apply a uniform code of conduct.

However, hundreds of other illegal taxis and operators of all kinds remained outside the group, Khun Parb said.

It is understood the letter from the Human Rights Commission used the word ''mafia.''

Khun Siripat said the letter complained of at least one case where a person who had parked in a contentious spot on the beach road had had their vehicle badly scratched in retaliation. Concerns about individuals using public parking spots to conduct their businesses extended beyond beach road to Rat-U-Thit 200 Pi Road, one block back, said Khun Siripat.

Allegations against the police included the taking of bribes from Nepalese, Indians, and Burmese workers in Patong, Khun Siripat said. It is believed illegal labor makes up a large proportion of poorly-paid retail workers in the west coast destination.

Khun Parb said the federation had clearly specified parking zones but only the police had the power to stop abuses and solve the problem.

Complaints in the letter included accounts of metered taxis being used with the meters being turned off.

The Deputy Superintendent of Kathu Police Station, Colonel Pradya Jansomwong, undertook to investigate the matters further with the assistance of the Transport Department.

The meeting also heard that revisions to Patong's one-way roads system have yet to receive final approval.

Comments

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"revisions to Patong's one-way roads"
Leave the "big roundabout" like it is and convert the east-west roads into alternating one-ways, easy.

Posted by Fritz Pinguin on September 25, 2010 08:55

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A few years ago, I parked on Patong beach road in a spot that appeared to be public parking (no jeep/motorbike rental people in sight) and returned to find two tires flat with nails driven into them. It actually never occurred to me to make a complaint (such is my cynicism) and I would not have known where to do this. So it's great to learn that there is indeed a place for people to turn to that is actually taking action. Patong has the potential to be a truly beautiful place - once the bullies and those who protect them are put out of business!

Posted by Lana on September 25, 2010 09:30

Editor Comment:

Anyone involved in this kind of abuse should write to their honorary consul/embassy, and send a copy to the governor at PO Box 101. No good staying silent and angry. The involving of the Human Rights Commission is a surprising development.

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It's nice (or funny) that in this period of low season with very few customers many bad things about Phuket (that all residents knows very well) are coming out.. How many people or tourists can read this news?

Anyway these things happen every day in Patong. I tried to park my car in Patong on the beach road, nearly Banana disco, at 1 a.m. about two week ago. No tuktuk in front for 30 meter and not in the back, cause I know the situation.

But two men came and said to many that there place was a park for taxi cause "they have agreement with police". Ok, I replied, call police, cause here there is any road sign or yellow stripes. "If you leave your car here" miming with a hand, "we'll scratch it"!. And this happen to all the driver wanna park long the beach road or Rat-U-Tit, near the Bangla Road intersection.

Posted by rich on September 25, 2010 10:30

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Dear Editor, you are correct - having the Human Rights Commission is a surprise. Hopefully, some positive actions will take place.

How about illegal time share sellers everywhere. I have been approached by many who told me they are backpackers trying to make some money. They all don't have work permits.
It's just not Indians and Burmese.
No matter what happens, I welcome the government is looking into matters. It's a good first step and a positive sign.

Posted by James on September 25, 2010 10:41

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Why only Patong? Please come to Karon and Kata too!!!!!!!!!
Sometimes the sneaky ones will stick a tiny pebble in the tyre valve. The air will slowly leak out so the owner does not realise it until they are long gone from scene. Happens just in front of the Karon council office.

Posted by Vfaye on September 25, 2010 10:56

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Hard to see these things as "human rights" abuses. But with the system as broken as it appears to be, relief from anywhere is welcome.

Posted by D on September 25, 2010 11:48

Editor Comment:

I guess the immigration graft is what justifies the human rights aspect, and the rest has somehow become attached.

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At the moment smoking in public places is the big crime, so I don't think that the police will have manpower enough to deal with these small unimportant matters.

Posted by Long time in Thailand on September 25, 2010 13:42

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Keep on the pressure on the Patong Issues, we might see some changes if we all keep bringing it up.

Posted by wm on September 25, 2010 14:24

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@wm. I agree the pressure needs to be maintained but all over the island not just Patong. The nightly, extremely noisy firecrackers - sometimes after 11.00 p.m.- at Surin Beach are typical along with the "taxi thugs" who "control" this area. I also heard that some Hotels in the Surin strip are too scared to complain to authorities.

Posted by mike on September 25, 2010 15:11

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Just last night a friend from Vietnam was visiting and had a knife pulled on him by the driver.

Posted by Phillip on September 25, 2010 15:29

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It's not just public areas where cars attempting to park legally get spiked. The only flat I have had in five years was a screw embedded in a tyre at the airport. I must have parked under a favored tree! The valve had been slashed as well. So much for secure parking.

Posted by Mister Ree on September 25, 2010 20:38

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Like every year I am coming to the Vegetarian Festival this week and as usual I hire a car to get from my Hotel in Patong to Phuket Town early in the morning. I also know that like every year my enjoyment of the Festival will be marred like every year by the parking problems in Patong. Last year my car was scratched all along the side while perfectly legally parked over night and this was not the first time that happened. Wall to wall Tucs and Taxis all around the Patong "roundabout" don't facilitate parking for tourists and locals.

Posted by arco27 on October 2, 2010 05:17

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'Khun Parb said the federation had clearly specified parking zones but only the police had the power to stop abuses and solve the problem.'

An oxymoron if ever I've seen one.

Posted by andyman on October 4, 2010 15:18

Editor Comment:

The federation has control over some, but not all, tuk-tuks, and no control over rental vehicles or public parking spaces.


Sunday December 4, 2022
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa

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