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Tuk-tuk drivers protest to top officials in Phuket City today

Illegals Rip Us Off, Say Tuk-Tuk Drivers

Wednesday, June 26, 2013
PHUKET: About 200 tuk-tuk drivers from Patong and Kata-Karon staged a protest today in Phuket City over illegal tuk-tuks.

After driving in a procession to a park opposite Phuket Provincial Hall in Phuket City, the tuk-tuk drivers paraded to meet Vice Governor Dr Sommai Preechasin on the steps of Provincial Hall.

Five leaders of the group began talks with Vice Governor Jamleran Tipayapongtada, who takes charge of Phuket's transport-related issues.

Sakon Srisompote, Chairman of the Patong Tuk-Tuk Group, told Phuketwan that the drivers were seeking fair treatment from officials to prevent their legitimate income being ripped off by illegal tuk-tuk drivers.

''About 100 illegal tuk-tuks are operating along the west coast of Phuket,'' Khun Sakon said. ''They usually only appear after dark, when there are not so many police about.''

Khun Sakon said it was also unusual that the illegal drivers appeared to never be questioned or arrested by police or Transport officials: ''Is there any benefit flowing to police and officials? We are curious.''

Some of the placards posted on tuk-tuks or carried by protesters today read: ''It's a public problem. Need help from governor''; ''We are legal but still get bullied. How can we live?''; ''The city is full of ghost (illegal) Tuk-Tuks. Governors, please help us.''

Phuket Land Transport Chief Terayut Polprasert told the drivers that whenever his team investigated, the illegal tuk-tuks disappeared from the streets.


Comments have been disabled for this article.


wow. Ive seen it all now.

On the other hand here is a perfect opportunity for the governor to say scratch my back and ill scratch yours.....lets the buses run to kat and karon and ill get rid of the illegal tuk tuks

Posted by Ciaran on June 26, 2013 12:14


Interesting new development. I watch with interest. I am sure the legal tuk tuks are well capable of pointing the police to where the illegal ones are hidden off road. But will there be any intent to pursue this matter.

Posted by Logic on June 26, 2013 12:16


The tuktuk drivers bully everybody else, including legal initiativers, why don't they bully these illegal tuktuk's?

It seems to me there is more to this than meets the eye.

Posted by stevenl on June 26, 2013 12:20


Awesome, must be plenty of parking down in Kata right now. I can park and have lunch without being bullied but I better be quick. Bye bye.

Posted by Glen on June 26, 2013 12:21


Quick has anyone an atom bomb!

Posted by coxo on June 26, 2013 12:21


Must have been plenty of parking spaces available in Patong today...

Posted by Jimmy Rawai on June 26, 2013 12:27


So when things aren't going their way. They have to go and cry to the so called politicians. And why don't they just beat them (the illegal taxi ) like they usually do to their competitions.

Posted by Nicke on June 26, 2013 12:40

Editor Comment:

The governor and the vice governors are appointed administrators, not elected.


This is interesting. Has the tide actually turned where it actually matters to be legal now? Before it was more important to be part of the tuk tuk co-ops than to be legal. Or is this all subterfuge and the "ghost" tuk tuks are just that?

Posted by NomadJoe on June 26, 2013 13:05


Pot and Kettle spring immediately to mind! Wow, I can only guess these lot don't know what a mirror is as they would surely see the irony here!

Posted by Anonymous on June 26, 2013 13:59


This is the result of wrong incentives. Prices for TukTuk and Taxi are so high that everybody wants a piece of this cake and now the snake start to bite its own tail. Just relax and watch it all happening.

Posted by Jakub on June 26, 2013 14:18


If there ever was a case of the kettle calling the pot black.

Ripping THEM off ? Really ?

The nerve these "legal" drivers have is just out of this world.

With a mindset like that, it will be impossible to try to reason with them. They obviously think ripping off tourists is their birthright and theirs only.

Thank you PW for providing this weeks best laughs :o)

Posted by ThaiMike on June 26, 2013 14:22


What a golden opportunity for the governor to pursue a crack down as long as tuk tuks will let go and not disrupt the bus service planned connecting with the airport

Posted by joe on June 26, 2013 14:28


yeaha... are we seeing a civil war coming up between tuk tuks now? .. Will they exterminate each other... lol... anyway. funny though that they say they normaly coming out after dark,, i think the ripp off among the Sweet tuk tuk drivers are equal.. no matter what time it is. or if the sun shine or not... supply them with swords and let the best man win...

Posted by frog on June 26, 2013 14:34


Too many tuk tuks and taxis. Their hunt for customers is unbearable. They are idling and take too much parking. They park outside the city and are returning as a call center to create. This problem has been going on for years. If a solution would be found long ago that it would be like elsewhere in Thailand where it is a pleasure to take a tuk tuk or taxi at affordable prices. More taxis package but with a counter lit from the start. Tourists are not people to pluck ... The solution of the bus, as everywhere in Thailand still slow in coming. Who governs the mayor and the governor or the tuk tuks and taxis? Certainly, there must be peace socilae and each makes his living. On the coast of Phuket, this war is creeping destroy the reputation of Phuket if it is not already! Damage, the island is so beautiful!

Posted by Pepino on June 26, 2013 14:42


But its ok for these guys to squat in front of hotels and resorts, pester guests and threaten as well as carry out threats against "LEGAL" Limos, vans buses and private cars that service the hotel guests...Nice!

Posted by sky on June 26, 2013 15:32


Do I detect a distinct lack of sympathy for the subjects of this article?

Posted by juswunderin on June 26, 2013 16:10


I guess no one will show any sympathy to the poor, down trodden, hard working, honest well mannered tuk tuk drivers, well they bloody well won't get any from me either. We have seen Thai against Russians, Thai against Chinese and Thai against Koreans now we see the ultimate Thai against Thai. Now to sit back and watch it all unfold.

Posted by Phuket_IOC on June 26, 2013 16:32


Are this the same legal Tuk Tuk drivers, who let the brother and cousin park their 'private sedan' in line with their legal Tuk Tuk's? Only to know, who we talking about. In special this ' never be questioned or arrested by police' is a very interesting issue!
But one thing, he's right. In the night, a lot of Suzuki Minivans, converted to white Tuk Tuks, resort vans, park around the 'TukTuk reserved' spots, too.
Why no one of the legal guys is taking pictures and calling the police?
Ah, complaining, but don't wanna get 'wet' themselves, huu?
Oh, during the protest, any shortages of Tuk Tuks in Kata/Karon or Patong? No? So minimum this 200 are too many, anyway. To survive the 'green season', and to make money in the 'high season'.
But the solution, like always, can only be: make them legal Tuk Tuks! And all illegals after them, too!

Posted by Observer on June 26, 2013 16:42


How do you know if the Tuk-Tuk is legal or illegal as a passenger. Do the legal ones have any insurance if you are hurt in a crash, suppose they don't have any compulsory mechanical checks for being legal.

Posted by Donating Frang on June 26, 2013 16:42

Editor Comment:

Yellow plates are legal tuk-tuks, white plates illegal.


"Must have been plenty of parking spaces available in Patong today."

Only 200 of about 2000. That get filled easy by the black taxis. Without that you even see an empty parking spot, somewhere!

Posted by Observer on June 26, 2013 16:46


You do indeed, Khun juswunderin. I note that the article says about 100 "illegal" tuk-tuks are operating along the west coast of Phuket. Forgive my questioning, but isn't that a tiny amount compared to the thousands of so-called legal tuk-tuks jamming up the roads all round the island? Grow up!

Posted by Anonymous on June 26, 2013 16:52


Are they not bothered by the illegal black plate taxis that park along side them all day everyday then???

Posted by phuket madness on June 26, 2013 17:24


Karma really does work if you wish long & hard enough.I nearly had a tear in my eye NOT this lot have been ripping us off for years PAYBACK is a bitch no sympathy what so ever.

Posted by Scunner on June 26, 2013 17:51


I saw an illegal tuk tuk today at Nai Harn Beach. White plate, green writing and it wasn't even a Phuket license plate! But still, these guys are over the top. If you're not one of our gang, we want the police to chase after them? "drivers were seeking fair treatment from officials to prevent their legitimate income being ripped off by illegal tuk-tuk drivers." Legitimate income? Really? Oh that's right, they are the only one's that are allowed to rip off the tourists legitimately!

Posted by Jim McGowan on June 26, 2013 18:06


are the illegal tuk tuks cheaper? If so, roll on!

Posted by bill on June 26, 2013 19:14



Posted by Rim on June 26, 2013 19:24


Nothing better if they start to eliminate each others. Yellow plate vehicles might be legal, their prices are far away from being realistic. Would be more than delighted if they would start a tin can war.

Posted by Resident on June 26, 2013 19:58


good point about the tax discs likely not insured in case of accident either very tourist friendly

Posted by Michael on June 26, 2013 22:17


Not having a comment in this particular matter, wanting to Point out something;
If anyone in charge on Phuket, elected or by appointment, reads Phuket Wan and these comments MUST understand that the Tuk Tuk issue is an international matter. Why would we otherwise bother to make all these comments? When are you going to do something serious about it? The cops get hurt, and shoot people over a gram or so of amphetamine, but widespread fraud by Tuk Tuk drivers is accepted, I really don't get it...

Posted by Swede from Malmo on June 26, 2013 23:57


Great comments people just a pity the sarcasm is wasted

Posted by Scunner on June 27, 2013 00:35


remember how they were near begged to become legal,oh kettle how black you are,black cabs are in the same lines with them,seems the unwritten rule dont mess with another persons rice bowl apply but they wont mind the government
messing with it for them ,of course they only want the Laws applied selectively the ones that suit them,you made your own bed enjoy lieing in it

Posted by slickmelb on June 27, 2013 03:42


"Legal" tuk-tuks have to "purchase" their yellow plates and they go up for THB 100,000 at a time. Yellow plates must get proper insurance and could range from THB 30,000 as it covers passengers as well. "Queues" in Patong sell up to THB 80,000 onwards. Put it all together with the cost of the tuk-tuk, drivers are naturally more protective of their turf. Also given that a standard hotel queue consists of 20 - 30 taxis and the fact that a tuk-tuk cannot pick up a fare from another beach, these drivers need to ensure that their 1-2 fares per day give them enough income hence the exorbitant fares. Imagine you queued all day and then when it's your turn, your fare asks to go 200 m down the road, if you take the fare, you get THB 200 and then you come back to your queue and start from number 30 again, which means your income for the day is only THB 200.
Frankly to solve this taxi problem, the governor needs to get to the root of it all. Proper tests to get yellow plate license, not allow it to be purchased off the black-market. Hunt down those that sell queues and give the drivers back their money so they can now make a living like normal taxis chasing fares openly around the island. A meter system can then work if taxis can pick up people anywhere on the island.

Posted by May on June 27, 2013 10:07


Which Tuk tuks are illegal rear or side entry? I always believed side? If so then many of these, so called legal tuk tuks are actually......

Posted by eezergood on June 27, 2013 10:26

Editor Comment:

Side-entry tuk-tuks are illegal.


Actually given the mountain roads in Phuket, I would think side entry would be safer rear entry where an unbalanced or drunk guest could slide off...just thinking.

Posted by May on June 27, 2013 11:38


Editor Comment:
Side-entry tuk-tuks are illegal.

Ed, are you sure? It would make sense, but I remember the Aussie, falling from the Tuk Tuk:

"Phuket tuk-tuks with side entrances are legal, but tuk-tuks with rear entrances are illegal. "

Posted by honestmistake on June 27, 2013 14:56

Editor Comment:

Side-entrance tuk-tuks are the illegal ones.


Editor Comment:

Side-entrance tuk-tuks are the illegal ones.

I was driving along the Beach Road in Pating this afternoon and saw nearly 40 side entrance Tuk Tuks all of which had yellow plates. If side entrance Tuk Tuks are illegal how is it that they have legal yellow plates?

Posted by Richard on June 27, 2013 23:45


I can't find the old story, but I remember that the side Tuk Tuk entrance aren't allow to operate in Patong, but only in the rest of the Island...

Posted by dave on June 28, 2013 01:28


People fail to realize the tuk tuk has the following features not found in other vehs which are factory fitted
1/they travel faster in all gears epecially reverse
2/They accelerate at a phenomenal rate
3/they enjoy a much shorter braking distance
4/have a much tighter turning circle
5/can cross multiple lanes at high speed
6/can take bumps potholes flooded roads or any other hazard at twice the speed of normal vehs
7/battery water oil and tyres never need checking maintenance and roadworthy
need not be considered
8/the floor is designed like a ashtray
9/they can be driven for miles with dashboard warning lights flashing with no ill effect
10/they never need cleaning
11/they are adapted to allow reverse gear to be engaged whilst moving forward
12/The tyre walls are designed to bump into kerbs with impunity
13/Alarming engine noises are easily eliminated by adjustment of the radio volume control
14/they can be parked anywhere
15/The taxi meter is fitted with a design flaw so it never functions
16/can be overloaded with suspension on the ground beyond all known safe working loads

Posted by slickmelb on June 28, 2013 04:07


well, this is a very interesting story other. can I laugh out loud? lol
tuk tuk drivers legal or illegal mostly are just doing the same crap. Obviously. Make a good deal about price with them but later asks more. Refuse on paying them ridiculous amount then you'll be end up beaten.

Posted by ThaiGer_Lady on July 2, 2013 13:09

Wednesday February 21, 2024
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa


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