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Governor Maitree Intrusud talks to honorary consuls today

Phuket Cleanup Campaign Will Go For As Long as It Takes, Says Governor

Tuesday, August 20, 2013
PHUKET: The Bangkok campaign to clean up Phuket will last as long as it takes, Phuket Governor Maitree Intrusud told Phuket's honorary consuls today.

He also revealed that the bus service from the airport to Patong is likely to be extended to Kata and Karon soon, with new routes to Rawai and Kamala due to begin ''within two months.''

Talking with the envoys for the first time in almost 12 months, Governor Maitree updated progress on Phuket across several fronts.

Following the governor's remarks, British honorary consul Martin Carpenter told the gathering at Provincial Hall in Phuket City that the British embassy reiterated the seven points made in the statement about Phuket's problems earlier this year.

Governor Maitree said that the new campaign, led by the Department of Special Investigation, was focussing on transport, and on Thai and foreign investors.

Netherlands honorary consul Seven Smulders asked whether the investigation extended to encroachment on the beaches and land titles.

The governor responded that money-laundering and investors' nominees would also come under scrutiny.

German ambassador Dirk Naumann said the news that the aiprort bus service is up and running was ''absolutely wonderful.''

''We all hope that Kata and Karon will fall into line,'' he said. ''Whoever has orchestrated this achievement has done a wonderful job.''

Australian honorary consul Larry Cunningham said that he had met with Australian ambassador earlier in the day and added that the Australian Government was ''very happy that the DSI is taking an interest in Phuket.''

The honorary consuls had all ''tried and tried and tried'' to improve the situation, he said.

''Extortion, jet-ski problems . . . resorts are still being held to ransom by the taxi drivers outside their gates,'' he said.

''I know my colleagues have tried very hard and I hope the DSI will have success in improving these problems that have been going on for the previous 10 years,'' he said.

The governor has set aside November 26 for the next honorary consuls' meeting.

Flashback to Four Years Ago

''Issues such as jet-ski ripoffs, tailor touts, mysterious deaths and corrupt activities are likely to be raised when the Governor of Phuket meets expat honorary consuls regularly,'' Phuketwan reported back in November, 2009.

The occasion was a meeting between then German Ambassador Dr Hanns H. Schumacher and the Governor at the time, Wichai Praisa-ngob.

In March that year, Dr Schumacher became really annoyed and stormed off because the governor, new to the job, was busy and failed to keep an appintment on time.

But when they finally met, the concept of regular meetings of the honorary consuls on Phuket was born. And so it began.

Over the next couple of years, Phuket's honorary consuls did more than just raise Phuket's problems.

They created such a level of concern that the ambassadors of the European Union eventually asked the Thai Government to act to fix the problems.

Today, after an absence of 11 months, the honorary consuls made their way back to Phuket Provincial Hall for a first meeting under the present Governor.

European Union Ambassadors' List of Seven Phuket Needs

.. An efficient and fairly priced public transport system in Phuket which is available to foreign tourists and residents alike.

.. An end to intimidatory and violent behavior by an element of tuk-tuk and taxi drivers.

.. Strict enforcement of marine safety standards, including flags on beaches to indicate when it is safe to swim.

.. Strict enforcement of standards of behavior for public officials, including police and Immigration, to ensure that foreign visitors and residents feel protected, treated in a fair way and never at risk of extortion.

.. An end to scams involving hiring of equipment such as jet skis or motorbikes.

.. Strict enforcement of road safety regulations.

.. Promotion of environmental issues, including monitoring of water quality.

Phuketwan's List

Corruption Start a well-promoted public campaign to end corruption on the island and prosecute any official caught taking bribes. Investigate all allegations about Immigration officers and police. Create a corruption-free Phuket model for other provinces.

Sustainability Begin an investigation into what's required to keep Phuket a natural and appealing destination and set limits on development and tourist numbers based on the results of that investigation. Save the reefs and the beaches. Create a Phuket Beach Authority.

Transport Require all tuk-tuk and taxi drivers to register again and to meet international standards of service before being given new licences. Reduce their numbers by 10 percent a year for three years, offering alternative training. Introduce a call centre and abolish double-payment for journeys passengers don't make.

Crime Provide an extra 500 police for Phuket based on its actual population. Take up the Australian ambassador's suggestion of obliterating all illegal weapons and make the island a no-guns, no-knives zone.


Comments have been disabled for this article.


About 18 months ago wearing a crash helmet became an 'enforced' legal requirement in Phuket. I was in Phuket town today between 10 am and 12 pm and witnessed 1 in 3 of all ages without a helmet. I saw 1 policeman. My point being these people have no respect for the law. Start at the bottom, educate them, warn them and while doing so, see what which other laws they are breaking or intend to brake. Bobbies on the beat is what's required. I know there are 700 on the way but what are the current lot doing?

Posted by gee on August 20, 2013 20:03

Editor Comment:

probably not worrying about helmets too much, gee. You may want to see it happen, and others may want to see it happen, but only with consistent pressure will change come. The current lot are on traffic duty.


Thanks Ed, it is beautiful here if one is lucky enough to live too talk about it. Keep up the good work.

Posted by gee on August 20, 2013 20:44


I expect that this operation from DSI is well planned and thus have a clear goal and also a way of measuring it so that DSI know and can show that the goal is achieved . So what is it ? Bringing all the persons from their list to justice for their alleged criminal activities ? Or is it to remove all illegal taxis ? Or maybe to make Phuket corruption free ? Or maybe it is something else , maybe DSI is less or more ambitious ? Would be nice to know so that we all can see when they are finished.

Posted by Sailor on August 20, 2013 22:51


It's great to see forward movement concerning cleaning up the rip offs and such. How about cleaning up the beaches...literally!! Just went to Nai Yang Beach yesterday and I had to remove trash in order to sit on the sand. There was not 1 square meter free of trash on the upper end of the beach more towards the airport. A very sad site indeed, I would attempt to pick it up, but I do not want to be arrested.

Posted by 9YearsInTH on August 21, 2013 12:53


I discovered location of DSI at the airport at last! It is between luggage' getting area and arrival hall. But anybody from outside can't go there without special permission from security, who even doesn't understand what means DSI. It means DSI limited access to themselves from the beginning.

Posted by Stranger on August 21, 2013 13:02


At the same time a lot of illegal guides and wild taxi drivers continue their activities inside the airport in front of securities (it has been lasting for years). What DSI is doing inside?

Posted by Stranger on August 21, 2013 13:06

Monday May 20, 2024
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa


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