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An anti-corruption sign. What Phuket needs is an anti-corruption push

Coup Commander an Ideal Phuket Dictator

Wednesday, May 28, 2014
PHUKET: Phuketwan has often argued that what Phuket needs most to solve its problems is a benevolent dictator.

From what we've seen so far, coup commander General Prayuth Chan-ocha could be the perfect man for the role.

Over the years, plenty of readers have wished for the Army to intervene to sort out the holiday island's tuk-tuk and taxi drivers.

Well readers, your wish is now a whole lot closer to being reality. Push a little bit, and perhaps it will happen.

Unlike foreign correspondents raised in the belief that democracy is only about people voting, Phuketwan understands that Thailand's system falls apart if the individual's vote has been bought with a cash payment.

The whole country slips into the mire if corrupt politicians buy votes in the broader sense by offering populist policies intended purely to keep them in power.

It's the values that underpin any democracy that make democracy work and Thailand's version of democracy has always struggled to include enough of the right values.

If the coup commander honestly wishes to remove the flaws in Thailand's version of democracy, we would suggest he starts by attempting to obliterate corruption first.

Phuket, as an island-province with its mix of long-term residents, workers from other provinces and thousands of tourists, remains the ideal place to start.

We'd suggest the general heed the lessons of Singapore and that other benevolent dictator, Lee Kuan Yew.

Follow his example by introducing cleanskin police and Immigration officers and officials on the island. Punish severely anyone caught taking a bribe.

Put the Royal Thai Navy in charge of all the beaches and reefs and order the sailors to properly protect and maintain them for future generations.

Tell them to confiscate the jet-ski of any operator attempting to scam a tourist.

Order Phuket's taxi and tuk-tuk drivers to slash their fares in half so that tourists and residents no longer have to pay for the journey they don't take, back to the drivers' queues.

Let those drivers who don't like the fare's fair edict find other work.

Make any blockade by taxi and tuk-tuk drivers an offence that will be punishable by forcing the perpetrators to find a real job.

Arrest and imprison for a substantial period anyone caught polluting the sea. Make the penalty double for local officials who have failed to enforce environmental laws.

End the tourist retail rip-offs by imposing set prices on a list of 20 essential items so that people pay the same in Patong as they pay in Phuket City.

Put all future condominium developments on hold until the current oversupply has been bought and occupied. Avoid listening to the greedy rich and their bankers.

Create a weekly Phuket town hall forum where residents and tourists can speak their minds openly and debate the issues that hamper Phuket's balanced development and prosperity.

Make Phuket a great role model. And when Phuket has obliterated corruption and shown what's possible in a benevolent democracy, spread the good ideas one by one throughout all of Thailand.


Comments have been disabled for this article.


And why not a military governor? This in itself would make the biggest difference.

Posted by Laurie Howells on May 28, 2014 12:59



Posted by Tinkerbell on May 28, 2014 12:59


Excellent. Totally agree!

Posted by jimbo34 on May 28, 2014 13:27


yes i promise to never again post anything on PW but i feel obliged to make an exception due to this statement from PW. we need as many names sign this as possible and ofcorse i couldn't said it better myself... indeed this is exactly what Thailand and Phuket needs.. if this would be at force Thailands tourism would be saved for as long Thailand would enforce it...and i can't see why The commander wouldn't be able to enforce it and why he wouldn't see this problem. sure coup commander General Prayuth Chan-ocha could easily handle this... we all depend on ur action BOSS... make it happen for all people and Thais for sure... LONG LIVE THE KING!

Posted by frog on May 28, 2014 13:40


Totally agree with the intent and details of this article. Singapore is a perfect model to strive toward. A benevolent dictator is far better than a corrupt politician.

Posted by keeniau on May 28, 2014 13:56


no BBC news this sucks .. if they are so cool what are they afraid of ... or are you trying to be nice because your in Hot Water

Posted by capt canada on May 28, 2014 14:05

Editor Comment:

We're not in hot water. The Royal Thai Navy will be severely embarrassed if the case proceeds. But we don't blame the whole service for the foolish mistakes or one or two people, acting on bad advice. Perhaps you're different.


Ed: Can you quote a case whereby a junta's leader has been called a benevolent dictator? Generals that have taken over the running of a country via a coup include such people as Saddam Hussein, Gaddafi, Idi Amin, Nasser and others.
To become a benevolent dictator in Thailand the General would need to wipe out corruption at a stroke, rid the country of self serving, myopic politicians, introduce an effective police force; this just as a start to the country's many entrenched ills and yes I agree, ???heed the lessons of Singapore and that other benevolent dictator, Lee Kuan Yew?????. After all this has been achieved, maybe he could find the time to sort out the ills that exist on Phuket.

Posted by Pete on May 28, 2014 14:26

Editor Comment:

This is Thailand, Pete. Some in the foreign media have problems understanding the difference between Thailand and the rest of the world. What Thailand needs are reforms that give true democracy a real chance and that don't leave it open to a ruinous Marcos-style dictatorship. Of late, intervention by the military in Thailand has been benign and a last resort when all else fails. It could be a good starting point. And the general seems to know which way is up.


A lot of Thai people feel the same they are fed up with corruption and the Army is the only way to weed it out. No more reds, yellows multi colours just the cammo will do for now

Posted by Michael on May 28, 2014 14:26


I Fully support all mentioned

Posted by PhuketGreed on May 28, 2014 14:56


Fully Agree! 100%

Posted by Mr. K on May 28, 2014 14:59


also agree 100% even though the immediate loss in tourism is costing me bigtime.

Posted by benvenuto on May 28, 2014 15:19


Good article. 'General Prayuth Chan-ocha could be the perfect man for the role.' I couldn't agree more. It might be a good semi-retirement job for a man who will take action without appearing to have a personal agenda.

Posted by Logic on May 28, 2014 15:32


Another good example would be Park Chung-Hee. Even he ruled South Korea as a dictator, to present day he is the most popular of all presidents in South Korea.

Posted by Jakub on May 28, 2014 15:48


I agree with this article. What would also be great is having a military governor, rule, govern or what ever they do, for a period of six years. Any politician or official being caught and convicted of being corrupt, should be moved to an inactive life, not just moved to a new location.

Posted by Robin on May 28, 2014 15:54


Singapore also lost its identity thanks to LKY... how many innocent people died during the clean up years of his regime ? its now the most sterile boring country on the planet .. if we have it your way we will be back to Sieg Heil days!! oh what happened to your old fav Mr Suthep ? dropped him for the general ?

Posted by chris on May 28, 2014 15:58

Editor Comment:

Singapore became a first world island state with a prosperous and relatively contented population thanks to LKY. His legacy is self-evident. All the early sacrifices have proved worthwhile. It would be facile, foolish and ignorant to accuse us of supporting Suthep, something we've frequently denied. Perhaps you prefer your own fanciful take on the world, without the difficult reality bit. If you have nothing of value to add, now is not the time to waste ours.


Excellent, send this to him somehow

Posted by Robert on May 28, 2014 17:45


Radical action is needed, IF, Thailand wants to get on democratic footing, and corruption is indeed a great starting point. With regards to politicians (the crux of the political problem in my opinion), I would like to see all current and past politicians, and any relatives thereof, be banned from holding any future political posts. Ever. Perhaps a bit unrealistic, but I think drastic action is needed. A middle ground will, long-term, achieve nothing, in my opinion.

Posted by Duncan on May 28, 2014 18:03


Nauseating censorship on comments, but I suppose that's par for the course from here on out. You will all eating your words.

Posted by The Night Mare on May 28, 2014 19:30

Editor Comment:

We are always keen to have informed comments, Night Mare, especially when the information is based on personal experience or expert knowledge. Opinions provided in knee jerk fashion by nameless Internet entities are of next to no value. Please note the message on the front page: READERS who continue to add comments as if nothing has changed should note that a coup in underway in Thailand. The authorities are about as keen on Doomsayers and anonymous guesswork as the Editor.


yes I agree about one or two bad eggs giving the whole service a bad image ...

Posted by capt canada on May 29, 2014 00:49


That's funny. Do you think kissing the military's butt might get you off the hook for the made-up stories?

Dismissing the democratic elections of PT as simply "vote buying" is just delusional - there is no serious or impartial evidence of this fabricated partisan slur, but it's the usual reactionary rubbish from this sorry excuse for a news website.

Posted by shimuzu on May 29, 2014 11:36

Editor Comment:

You sound like a Marcos disciple. As the article says, vote buying and populist policies that are purely designed to keep ''democratic'' dictators, their families and their friends in control are two of Thailand's problems. Whether cash or favors are exchanged, populist power buying is not the democratic way. The rice subsidy scheme and the amnesty bill are two prime examples of a government running off the rails. ''Vote buying'' comes in many forms. All of them are corrupt, shimuzu.

Ferdinand Marcos: ''While in power he implemented wide-ranging programs of infrastructure development and economic reform. However, his administration was marred by massive authoritarian corruption, despotism, nepotism, political repression, and human rights violations.''


The journalists who wrote this article are being prosecuted by the Royal Thai Navy for expressing their views. The Navy is part of the armed forces who have taken control of the country. Two days ago a journalist was reprimanded for asking some awkward questions of General Prayuth at a press conference. The journalist was later summoned to explain his actions. And you support the idea of a benevolent dictatorship. What kind of muddled thinking is that?

Posted by Tony on May 29, 2014 14:02

Editor Comment:

Nothing muddled about it at all, Tony, unless you try to connect the dots from unrelated incidents.


Started to be like China

Posted by John Doe on May 30, 2014 04:42


That vote buying is a load of horse manure, go to a few sites easily fund by Google and learn a few truths. You are spouting propaganda- IN EVERYTHING btw IMO Thaksin was the world's first capitalist minded socialist leader, and that is why he is not allowed to rule. Can't have the poor getting health care...

Posted by The War Horse on May 30, 2014 16:59

Editor Comment:

You've stuck your head in the wrong end of the nag again, TWS. There's no such thing as a billionaire socialist leader. Everybody knows a profit-taking populist politician when they see one. ''Give a little then take a lot'' is the money shot.


The War Horse:
I live in the North-East; vote buying is the rule of thumb in all elections be they national or local. My wife, mother in law and all relatives and villagers are all offered up to 500 baht for their vote. Money is like horse manure ??? you have to spread it around! PS: Do Google fund sites?

Posted by Pete on May 30, 2014 19:25

Editor Comment:

Many of the anti-coup protesters in Bangkok are also being paid. This is how ''democracy'' works when it's all about buying power.


(moderated) The first thing to go in a dictatorship is freedom of the press - ergo PhuketWan

Posted by TWH on May 31, 2014 20:41

Editor Comment:

We have no complaints. Unlike the bleaters leading the anti-coup sheep, we believe the coup was essential to prevent imminent violence and possibly even civil war. Shamefully, the US and Australian governments don't recognise the sensible Thai path to a workable Thai democracy. Yet again, we wholeheartedly endorse a change for the better, and the move to end corruption. Everything the coup leaders have done so far indicates they understand Thailand, Thais and Thai politics a whole lot better than you do.


please ed your making me want to vomit with such obvious butt kissing...u think the general is reading PW ? what a turn around ... i bet u also supported Idi and Robert when they came to power ....

Posted by chris on June 1, 2014 07:46

Editor Comment:

What a pity, chris, that you make up your mind without a moment's thought. Comparing Thailand and Uganda? No two coups are the same, just as no two individuals are the same. And we're eternally thankful for that.


You believe the coup was essential you should be embarrassed to call yourself a journalist!

Posted by Mark on June 1, 2014 13:10

Editor Comment:

Of course the coup was essential. With Bangkok set for a bloody confrontation and neither side backing away, martial law had to be introduced. When both sides refused to compromise, a military takeover was the only option. The only embarrassing feature here is your brain.


Ed, your reply to chris is worrying, are you saying you are more intelligent than he is? If so you are treading on shaky ground, to put oneself above others is risking credibility and some would see a "holier than thou" complex, when in fact many know you are no better, in fact worse, than most, except of course, in you own mind.

Posted by Laurie Howells on June 1, 2014 13:54

Editor Comment:

As usual Laurie, you have nothing of value to say. Attempting to cause friction is all you seem able to do. And you're a failure at that, as well.


Maybe if the Army stayed out of politics like in other countries and supported the elected government things would be better or is that too simple for you?

Posted by Mark on June 1, 2014 14:00

Editor Comment:

Perhaps it's time someone told you that all countries are not alike, Mark. Your knowledge of Thailand and Thai politics is . . . well, simply missing.


backflip 101 ed !! i think you my have done a deal with the military , keep your mouth shut , dont mention the navy or trafficking problems for 1 year and we will let you off !! weak Ed, very weak!!

Posted by chris on June 1, 2014 15:13

Editor Comment:

There is no connection between the court case and the coup. Only in kindergarten is it useful to draw lines between the dots.


So Thailand is so different that it can't have a democracy your straw man argument does not stand up!

Posted by Mark on June 1, 2014 15:13

Editor Comment:

You are probably qualified to vote somewhere, Mark. Don't stretch your luck beyond that.


I am a US citizen who wants to retire in beautiful Thailand in two years. Been to Phuket many times. General comment: Police corruption seems to be based on the low pay attributed to be a cop in Thailand. Increase the pay of these men and you would cut down on bribes and would therefore have a more efficient and honorable force. I don't believe a military dictatorship is ever enviable in a democratic society but I agree with the editor that corruption at the highest levels negates a truly democratic nation. As an outside observer it has been an embarrassment to see the power that the tuk tuk drivers have shown. Good luck to the General to squash this blight on the island.

Posted by Vegas on June 3, 2014 21:12


"Arrest and imprison for a substantial period anyone caught polluting the sea. Make the penalty double for local officials who have failed to enforce environmental laws."


Posted by NomadJoe on June 4, 2014 13:54


How about showing a little respect? Here you are praising the good things the military is doing but then use the word "dictator". No wonder why you're facing legal issues with the Navy. This is Thailand as if you're supposed to know so well. Loss of face, remember? Nothing good about the word "dictator."

Posted by TMQ on June 9, 2014 14:01

Editor Comment:

''Benevolent dictator'' is our description of the general, TMQ. Loss of face? One of those old habits that needs to change.


@ TMQ @ Editor
enlightened despotism, also called benevolent despotism, a form of government in the 18th century in which absolute monarchs pursued legal, social, and educational reforms inspired by the Enlightenment. Among the most prominent enlightened despots were Frederick II (the Great), Peter I (the Great), Catherine II (the Great), Maria Theresa, Joseph II, and Leopold II. They typically instituted administrative reform, religious toleration, and economic development but did not propose reforms that would undermine their sovereignty or disrupt the social order.

Posted by Whistle-Blower on June 9, 2014 14:29

Editor Comment:

Better if Thailand goes forward, not backwards, WB.


You do realise that an actual true and fair democracy leads directly to increased transfers of income and support for the poor and relative "have-nots" of the North and North-East (because of the demographics)?
This being compared to current and past situation in Thailand.

This is how so called civilised democracies work without exception.
Is the so called Bangkok elite prepared for this and what of the tourism enriched South?

Posted by scandinavian80 on June 9, 2014 14:45

Editor Comment:

Are you testing us with a riddle, scandinavian80? There is no such thing as a ''civilsed democracy.''

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