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The DSI-led investigation aims to sort out Phuket's problems

Phuket's Big Cleanup: Progress Report on Taxis, Tuk-Tuks, Corruption Expected

Tuesday, August 20, 2013
Brave Enough to Change Phuket

PHUKET: A landmark will come in Phuket's ''Big Cleanup'' campaign tomorrow when progress and future directions become clearer at a media conference.

The conference will follow two hours of talks at Phuket Police headquarters in Phuket City involving the major players in the campaign.

A consultant to the Thai Royal Police, Major General Woot Lipataphanlob, is likely to become more involved.

He will be joining representatives from the Department of Special Investigation, local police, Phuket's administration and the Tourism and Sport Ministry at the gathering.

Investigators have been at work across Phuket and tourists, expats and residents have had a chance to add their information.

Phuket's taxis and tuk-tuks remain top of the list for action. What's unclear yet is how deep the operation aims to cut into Phuket's multilayered corruption.

The future of the island as a tourist destination probably rides on how good a job the authorities make of this campaign - a second chance is unlikely to come along anytime soon.

A key test will be whether Phuket emerges from the campaign with a well-run, efficient taxi system that sees current extortionate fares slashed by half.

Taxi numbers also need to be not just limited but reduced. The whole foolish notion of Phuket's male population dreaming of a lucrative future behind the wheel of a cab must cease.

Passengers in Phuket taxis and tuk-tuks at present pay not just for the trip they take but also for the trip that the taxi or tuk-tuk takes back to its base, empty.

Until Phuket has a system where taxis and tuk-tuks can pick up and set down passengers across the whole island for a cost that rivals fares in Bangkok, there will be work to be done.

Corruption is the other big issue. The fancy title for the two Crime Crisis Centres now collecting data on Phuket are the ''Integrated Operational Centres for Prevention and Suppressing Organised Crime.''

The DSI announced its ''Phuket Target 11'' on arrival on Phuket. Clearly, nobody named on the list would expect to be pleased.

The promise on arrival day at Phuket airport was that someone connected with that list would face charges within 30 days. Ten days on, perhaps an element of realism will have entered the thinking.

Comments

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Let's all pray to whoever we choose that this works and all comes out the best for all of us. This might be make or break time for Phuket tourism. If this fails, the news will ripple all over the world.

Posted by rc on August 20, 2013 09:46

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There are shops in Kata & Karon still offering taxi services, clearly utilizing unregistered vehicles. Some of these officials need to get out on foot & walk those streets, see the signs, go into the shops & challenge the owners to produce the required registration documents or face the consequences.

Officials sitting behind desks in air conditioned offices, waiting for the problems to walk through the door, is not going to change anything. Nor can they rely on the public to bring the problems to them.

They know the problems. These have been well described by editors on various sites with readers input. I am sure they have been read. Time to get off their collective 'proverbials' & get out & take some action.

As the above article clearly states, it is action time with perhaps no second chance.

Posted by Logic on August 20, 2013 09:49

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The DSI is now conducting a checkpoint near Chalong circle. Not boys in brown but black jackets with DSI on the shoulder.
They aren't pulling over bikes, only mini vans and cars. It looks like part of the clean up on illegal taxis.

Posted by Glen on August 20, 2013 10:49

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Would be nice if a reporter would ask about scammers who are hijacking just-arrived tourists near Phuket Airport and persuading them to go to different accommodation than originally planned.

Posted by Sherlock on August 20, 2013 11:34

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Regarding the Taxis.
Has anyone else noticed the reduced owner and number details that were prominent on the sides of all licenced "legal" vehicles just a couple of months ago.
Wasn't that so that they could be tracked in the event of any dispute or accident? Seems it's back to the old system again?

Posted by Hugh Jarse on August 20, 2013 14:16

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Crime Crisis Centre at the airport doesn't operate. Why? Most of local Thais I know are sure that DSI can't solve the problem as far as big money are concerned. There is only one real solution for all problems. Sending countries should forbid its tourists to go here. But, alas unlikely to ever happen...

Posted by Stranger on August 20, 2013 15:36

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If DSI can't find the crime, I am sure many of the readers are happy to take them to the right places. I can start finding illegals right under my front door in Patong center.

Posted by Resident on August 20, 2013 18:37

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-Hugh Jarse

I've been paying attention to the very same thing. The other day I was at the airport, I could not see even a single limo or taxi with the driver name sticker and have not seen any on the roads either.

This is the typical Phuket strategy when serious problems draw too much media attention.

Local authorities create new "policies" and crackdowns designed to appease the pesky foreigners. They are introduced with all the pomp and fanfare with plenty of photo-ops, but when the media attention wears off, the policies are silently just "forgotten".

I can only hope and pray that the foreign Ambassadors and HCs are seasoned enough to understand this is the typical Thai window dressing show put up just for them and are not fooled by it.

Posted by ThaiMike on August 20, 2013 19:49

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The illegal cabs its easy you arrest the driver fine him 1000 bht on the spot take him & his cab to a car crusher and let him witness his veh being crushed into a 2 ft x 2ft cube,then give him back the cab
No more problem!

Posted by slickmelb on August 20, 2013 19:51


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