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Horizon CEO Javed Shaikh believes Phuket needs major improvements

Jet-Skis, Rip-Offs: Phuket Resort CEO Speaks Out

Monday, October 12, 2009
THE CEO of a Phuket group of resorts has called for a greater variety of tourism activities, more control over development and an end to corruption on the island.

Javed Shaikh heads Horizon Hotels and Resorts, which has two establishments in Patong and a third in Karon.

''Do we have to wait to talk about our island's problems only when they appear on the BBC or CNN?'' he asked during an interview with Phuketwan ''When will we wake up?

''Don't you think everybody knows what's going on in Patong? ''Everbody knows what's going on, every department knows what's going on, and who is doing what.''

He said that the jet-ski rip-offs may have received international media attention recently, but the issue had been there for a long time. And it was not just about jet-skis.

''Rent-a-cars, motorbikes, tuk-tuks . . . people have been complaining for many years about these things, about tailors harassing them on the streets.''

One case Mr Shaikh mentioned involved a guest who returned a hire-car, to be faced with a large bill for ''scratches.'' The guest was due to fly out that day, had no time to negotiate through authorities who may have been able to help, and so had the choice of paying up or missing the flight.

''If something bad happens to us, We will come back and tell our family and friends as well,'' he said.

''People who are supposed to actually stop these things don't stop them. And when you complain, they get upset with you for complaining. I think we should address these things before people suffer.''

Drownings at beaches in the monsoon season, especially at Karon:
''We have to be honest. Maybe sometimes out of our own selfishness, we try to avoid these kinds of topics for financial benefit. For four or five months, the weather is so bad it's a big risk to go into the sea unnecessarily. I think it's stupidity on the part of the tourists as well. When they see the red flag, they shouldn't go. I think the tourists themselves have to be careful. You see a red flag, you have to respect that. But maybe we could do more, I think.''

Why Phuket needs to have more year-round activities:
''India and China economically are growing a lot . Indians are not so much interested in watersport. Other places have good zoos, aquariums. There are a lot of things we need to do where people can play for long periods of time, too. For two or three days, people will want to come to Phuket. Many people do not come for the beaches. Visitors will come and go to Phi Phi for a day trip, and also go to Phuket FantaSea. What else is there to do? Phuket has a long way to go. If our infrastructure is not proper and if we are going after quantity, not quality . . .''

The economy: still a long way to go for recovery:
''I think the next high season is going to be the worst that I have seen. People giving 60 percent or 70 percent discounts is not good for the long term. People seem intent on quantity, not quality. We might end up becoming just like what happened to Pattaya. The economic cycle comes and goes. We should always think long-term. Just blindly reducing the prices doesn't make sense. What I am more worried about is the image of Phuket.''

The need to control development so the island does not become a big, rambling city:
''Phuket is one of the best-known islands around the world now, although we have a long way to go. It depends how we go. We still don't have all the top resort brands. If we maintain infrastructure, if there is just construction, construction everywhere, this will become more like a commercial island rather than for tourists. I think commercialisation is necessary, but only to a certain limit. Once it crosses over we will be more like a city, rather than being an island. That feeling will not be here. When I first came here and you drove from Karon to Patong, you had to overtake one or two cars. Now there's too much traffic.''

He adds: ''This is my home. So it's very natural that I want everything on Phuket to be the best.''

Horizon is a Phuketwan sponsor.
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Comments have been disabled for this article.


Well Well WellL It is about time someone stood up. Well done Horizon Beach Resort, some of the others just turn a blind eye .
hip hip horay

Posted by Peter J Notley on October 12, 2009 18:09


Unedited footage of the JJ boatyard scene has just been posted on YouTube which clearly shows him bringing the gun out as a joke. The production company edited the footage to make it appear that he was holding it in a threatening manner when he clearly wasn't. This should help keep him out of jail! Footage is here:-

Posted by Ivan on October 12, 2009 18:27


excellent! i agree 100% with that statement! its sad that in thailand there is no problem discuss culture. and if somebody speaks up he is a chai ron. but dont want we all the same? the best for the island and we have to see how its going down from year to year. its to much everywhere...i hope somebody can stop this nightmare

Posted by Mike on October 12, 2009 21:33


Mr Shaikh is defining a discussion that Phuket itself must have on many things but especially on development, or should, I say, over development.

The need is for Phuket to keep its 'magic', that which has attracted visitors like me to visit again and again over many years.

Over development and the construction of more high rise resort hotels such as is occuring in Patong, for example - and which you can find anywhere else in the world, is not - I suggest the way to go at all.

Patomg might be noisy, it might be brash but it is tryly said that is where most people want to go - even for part of the time - when they visit Phuket.

Jet ski and tuk-tuk scams need "to be sorted", that is easily done if there is a determination by those in charge to do so with the support of the general community etc so many of whom depend on the visitor industry.

But, like it or not, if you destroy what makes Patong "different" with high rises etc or turn it into another Pattaya, then you will destroy that difference.

Same for the other places.

You worked together with determination to recover from the 2004 tsunami. This new challenge is definitely not beyond you.

Please keep YOUR difference.

Posted by rfdunedin on October 13, 2009 03:17


Kudos, Mr. Shaikh.

Let's put the scammers and hordes of harassing tailors out of business before they put Phuket out of business.

Posted by Philip on October 13, 2009 08:03


whats your problem Ivan? its not important that the movie is maybe not 100% real. The truth is, and i live 4 years here already, that the scams are real! there are many cases.

also tuk tuk, motorbike taxi and other rip offs. i saw that with my own eyes! so there is a problem. we have to ask who is the problem? its clear, very powerful people are involved because they like money and that's the easy way to make money.

And the good thing is. some beach boy scams the tourist and the ppl behind take also cash but nobody talks about them. If somebody say in phuket, ''everthing is okay,'' they are blind. pattaya is more under influenze from bkk and on a short line. but phuket has its own mafia over years and nobody can stop them easy.

They make business with scams, rip offs, drugs, prostitution and so on. phuket is a mafia heaven and if you want, i can give you a lot of examples. Just open your eyes!

Okay, i understand somebody who is more interested to go to soi bangla and take a hooker don't want to think about the problem behind...but i live here and i can see it and it makes me sick that nobody do something....sad for Thai ppl.

Posted by Mike on October 13, 2009 10:41


Have to agree with Mike. Why is ivan defending jj? is he a friend? Ivan, read what he is charged with if you dont remember he is charged with Extortion with menace ie using threats to steal money how can you defend this? In the uk are waiting to see what message the court system will send out to the west.

Posted by billy dale on October 13, 2009 14:34


Where am I defending JJ? I don't condone him ripping people off for jetski damage. I was merely pointing out the what was aired on the so called Reality TV programme was edited to give a false impression of what actually happened.

The Production company added a voiceover of JJ from a different part of the boatyard scene over the part where he held the gun to make it appear he was threatening them when he wasn't, if you bother to watch all the unedited footage. Also there were 2 policemen in the yard watching all that was going on who we never see on camera.

Why did they do nothing? No doubt waiting till it was all over to receive their cut of the 35000 baht.

Posted by Ivan on October 15, 2009 17:26


Ivan: The fact remains that the Marines were in a threatening situation. JJ produced a gun after saying: 'Motherf...kers no going to mess with me' and referring to the Marines as 'mun'
And he ripped them off for 35,000 baht!
An item of sound was moved on the tape.
You need to see all the footage and to have been there to make a decision.
I prefer the word of the producer who complained about the sound bite and of the Marine Sergeant Tim Wright.
What made him bring the gun out and are you able to read the minds of the Marines who saw it??
At the end of the day was cut and enhanced. There appear to be the best part of an hour of footage to cut from. Also cut was an incident when a Marine had to be subdued by his colleagues because he would have attacked JJ.
Overall there is little doubt about the flavour here - even though it was for chav tv so to speak.
I suggest you google Marine Police Sergeant Tim Wright or read his latest letter here by googling Big Trouble in Thailand - Finally the truth and an apology'.

Posted by Andrew on October 16, 2009 10:13


About 8pm last night I was at the corner of Kata beach resort where the taxi drivers wait, when a pick up truck reversing fast smashed into the front of a mini van.

Then a gun appeared, not sure from where because as soon as I heard the first shot I got my ten year old son and his friend as far away as possible quickly.

Hundreds of tourists around anyone could have been hurt by a stray bullet. Its not safe to take my son to Kata for a pizza!

Posted by Michael on October 16, 2009 21:42

Thursday June 20, 2024
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa


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