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Thread: Phuket Taxi Cleanup

  1. #1
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    Phuket Taxi Cleanup

    New post to not interfere with the shutdown thread.

    I see people are cheering this cleanup. Not that its a bad idea, but i fear its misunderstood?
    It is after all the LEGAL taxis thats the main problem in Phuket? or have i missed something?
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    Just read another article. It seems they are now applying the law on the "legal" guys as well. Well done.

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    Super Moderator LivinLOS's Avatar
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    Yes I also pointed out simply taking the black cabs off the streets isnt a solution..

    However it really does appear that the political will is there to tackle the systemic issue..

    But they MUST at this point bring in and enforce the concept of competition.. Allowing free roaming meters and removing patches.. If they dont enforce and push into operation the right of free roam by ALL, theres little to stop any back sliding the first time the authorities eyes are not on them. They need to set a new standard, get it accepted as the new normal, and then it has a hope of sticking.

    Fingers crossed.

  4. #4
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    Patong taxi mafia ‘will be targeted soon’ as part of Phuket crackdown
    Tanyaluk Sakoot

    1401967133_1-org.jpg

    PHUKET: The police officer behind the four-month investigation of “mafia” taxi operation in Phuket, and the planner for the mass arrests and surrenders that have taken place over the past few days, says that Patong is also on his list of targets.

    Pol Maj Gen Paween Pongsirin: 'Pian Keesin called me. He asked me whether I was going to arrest him.'
    He confirmed that the former mayor of Patong, Pian Keesin, will be among those he will want to talk to at Phuket Provincial Police HQ.

    In an exclusive interview, The Phuket News, asked Pol Maj Gen Paween Pongsirin, Deputy Commissioner of Region 8 Police, whether action would be taken soon against “mafia” taxi activities in Patong.

    “If my commander [Pol Lt Gen Panya Mamen] gives the order for us to stay here and continue, we will.

    “The main target area here is Patong which is controlled by influential people – local politicians. If this were within our powers, we’d already have warrants for these people. But it’s not, so we’ve appealed to the National Crime Suppression Division and already sent them the case.

    “We believe that if we’re able to defuse the local power, the local people will step forward and help us to solve the problem with tuk tuks.”

    He added, “Pian Keesin called me. I was surprised because I have never before received a phone call from him.

    “He asked me whether I was going to arrest him. I told him, ‘It’s not your turn yet. But soon, for sure.’

    “Mr Pian asked me to take care of him.”

    Asked whether other people in Patong would be targeted, Gen Paween confirmed that Mr Pian’s son, Preechawuth “Prap” Keesin, was also on the list.

    Neither Mr Pian nor his son could be reached immediately for comment, but Gen Paween feels confident he can clean up Phuket’s party town.“I will do this, if [Gen Panya] lets me.

    “When he asked me to come to Phuket, I asked him, ‘Are you sure? Because if I go then I will do my very best. Please don’t put the brakes on.’”

    As he spoke with The Phuket News, municipal workers guarded by hundreds of police were backing up yesterday’s mass arrests of “mafia” taxi drivers by ripping down their drivers’ “offices” outside some of Phuket’s best-known hotels, including Twin Palms and the Doubletree at Surin Beach.

    Gen Paween told The Phuket News, “The Crime Suppression Police are carrying out this action against taxi drivers in Kata-Karon, Cherng Talay and Kamala.

    “It has taken us just three months to investigate and take action on 111 cases [of mafia taxi activity involving 108 people]. If I stay here longer I am confident we will be able to clean up all of the island.

    “There may be other officers who are better for this job than me, so long as they have the courage, and are steady and honest; officers who do not think about themselves.

    “I am a straightforward person. I never treat anyone badly. I simply follow what the evidence tells me. I’m not scared. The bad guys have to be scared of me.

    “I always tell my officers not to take bribes. If I find any of them doing so, I kick them out of the team.

    “I also tell them not to have any special agenda with people [outside the team]. They must think about one thing only: doing their jobs probably.”

    Gen Paween also spoke about the Mayor of Karon, Tawee Thongcham, who surrendered yesterday (June 4) to answer charges of collusion with taxi drivers in Kata and Karon.

    “During the four months of our investigations we found a lot of evidence pointing to Mr Tawee. He basically gave the municipal sala area to the taxi drivers, along with free electricity and water paid for by the public.

    “Mr Tawee had also failed in his duty to stop illegal activities. So we had to arrest him.

    “Some of the local police officers suddenly wanted to go and confront him but I knew that all we had to do was wait and he would turn himself in because he has a position [in society to maintain].

    “I do not give any value to him. If I’d had my way he would have been arrested and investigated by the lowest-ranking officers.”

    Asked how many other politicians, apart from Mr Tawee, were on the list for the anti-mafia-taxi drive, he said, “All of them.

    “In Mr Tawee’s case there was very clear evidence. But you can observe that every OrBorTor allocates to taxi drivers a place that belongs to the public. If the OrBorTor did not give them permission, they could not build their stands there.”

    He said that, for the drivers targeted, yesterday’s arrests came like a bolt from the blue. “The taxi drivers were confident of their power and were surprised and shocked to be arrested. Their families, too. They never thought this day would come. But the teams went in hard and fast.

    “I am confident all 108 will be arrested. They may escape for now, but they will be arrested. People on the run become tired and worried about where they can stay, where they can sleep.”

    At a press conference this afternoon, police announced that more of the wanted taxi drivers had surrendered, bringing the total in custody to 95.

    Gen Paween garnered a reputation in Phuket for honesty when he was assigned to take over Kathu Police Station in Patong, a decade ago, after growing resentment over rampant police corruption there got way out of hand. He very quickly damped down the situation.

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    I rode north through Kata and Karon yesterday and surprised at just how many enforcement officers there.
    A licence check of about 10 police near "Da Vinci's" and about 30 police about 400m before Karon roundabout by where I think there used to be a Tuk Tuk stand and about 100m from the roundabout were about 20 men in camou gear. (Would that be army or a police SWAT team? Also about 10 military vans with red lights on top were parked on the side of the road.
    I turned right to head to Chalong and 2 military vans passed me and went into the 1st temple entrance and 2 more went up the road to the temple's second entrance, all co-ordinated at the same time, but then I realised it was about noon and lunch was probably at the temple.

    Certainly an impressive allocation of resources

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    Senior Member WarProfiteer's Avatar
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    Well, I'd say there will still always be taxis there, the problem was their business practices of holding resorts hostage, enforcing their "turf", charging extortion prices, etc. As Sef said, the only real way to combat that is to provide alternatives/competition.

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    Senior Member soupdragon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WarProfiteer View Post
    As Sef said, the only real way to combat that is to provide alternatives/competition.
    The impossible becomes possible ?.......
    PHUKET: Plans are ready for a low cost, public transport system around Patong that could be implemented immediately, a meeting to follow up on the success of the Phuket taxi task force in crushing the ''taxi mafia'' will be told tomorrow.

    The gathering at Phuket Provincial Hall will also hear how resorts and local councils can help to create a more efficient system immediately to replace the intimidation and extortion that was part of the old system, Phuket Land Transport Department specialist Jaturong Keawkasisaid told Phuketwan.
    New Phuket Planned as Consuls Praise General Who Cracked Phuket's Taxi, Tuk-Tuk 'Mafia' - Phuket Wan

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    Definitely done a good job so far…………….and while the army are on the case and seem to have them all on the back foot would probably be a good time to get a bus service going! Either that or stick some bloody meters in those tuk-tuks !!!
    Someone been reading my posts ?!?

  10. #10
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    I remain cynical but will judge for myself next month because give me ten baht for every time I have heard that "this time" it is really going to change and I could probably afford a Patong to Karon ride by now....

    www.youtube.com/watch?v=xu3yCSQP26Y


    Enjoy...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Minder View Post
    I remain cynical but will judge for myself next month because give me ten baht for every time I have heard that "this time" it is really going to change and I could probably afford a Patong to Karon ride by now....
    1 mayor nicked, 1 soon to be leaving them exposed, lots of arrests (some looking at 10 years apparently), army with lots of resources….I would say this is the strongest position they have been in here to deal with the mafia and if changes are ever going to happen now would be the best time IMO – I see it as a done deal personally!
    Last edited by davis121; 9th June 2014 at 13:36.

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    The shacks built on/next to footpath from Baan Rim Pa north towards Kalim were being ripped apart by a backhoe this morning. These actions are being applauded by all except the thugs. I hope they can maintain the momentum and make no concessions.
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    Wow, real change. Maybe this is Geir's 'I told you so' moment? Baht buses plying the Kata-Karon-Patong route would be a real positive, wonder if that's what they mean by public transport?
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  14. #14
    Senior Member WarProfiteer's Avatar
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    I certainly hope so for the residents there. Doing the baht bus thing would be fairly easy... just guarantee the safety of anyone starting in the biz, maybe some kind of tax break or other incentive to get a first group going... once they were doing ok and making money, others would take up the trade. Maybe even some of the tuk-tuk guys would switch over. An honest living can be made at it... gotta be better than trying to gouge people and risking the ire of the current crackdown.




    p.s. One of the reasons the she-wok and I left Phuket was that twice when walking by Taxi stands, rude comments were made to her. Both times she waited until later in the day to tell me, but in general it just made us weary of walking around together. I'm glad they tore those stands down. Surely if it happened to us, it happened to others... perhaps many others... that definitely doesnt make people feel welcome or happy to be there. Good riddance.
    Last edited by WarProfiteer; 9th June 2014 at 15:47.
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    Senior Member Dodger's Avatar
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    They are not talking baht buses as yet, also personally I don't think they'd work and especially not from Patong to Karon/Kata, that will always be a taxi/tuk tuk fare.

    They are considering the public bus system, which is already operating from airport to PT, PT to Patong.
    Custard should be a colour...cos I could then paint over the mess I've just made!!!

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    Senior Member marc26's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve@thaib View Post
    Wow, real change. Maybe this is Geir's 'I told you so' moment? Baht buses plying the Kata-Karon-Patong route would be a real positive, wonder if that's what they mean by public transport?
    They are still repressing Freedom of speech, talking about rewriting text books for propaganda and punishing anyone with a contrary view......there isn't an "i told you so" to be had in that.....not even close
    Oh and the angelic Gen is now in charge of BOI

    This Phuket taxi issues is certainly an improvement

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    ^^whatcha talkin bout Paulie. I'm sure by this time next week the tunnel will be completed. All the history books will say so....
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  19. #19
    Super Moderator LivinLOS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kuhio View Post
    ^^whatcha talkin bout Paulie. I'm sure by this time next week the tunnel will be completed. All the history books will say so....
    The way the winds have shifted.. Pian out.. Etc.. The tunnel project might now come under that selective transparency they are about to implement..

    I am sure Sutheps palm oil price manipulation and dealings will all be given the exact same due process.
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by marc26 View Post
    They are still repressing Freedom of speech, talking about rewriting text books for propaganda and punishing anyone with a contrary view......there isn't an "i told you so" to be had in that.....not even close
    Oh and the angelic Gen is now in charge of BOI

    This Phuket taxi issues is certainly an improvement
    Geir was talking about 'real positives', if the army can manage to cut out the cancer of illegal taxis and neuter the tuk-tuk mafia then that is a positive. I'm not saying it's all sunshine and lollipops now, just that there may be a positive aspect. If they pin Suthep down for his palm oil scam then that would be another positive.

    The whole scenario of the army taking power is a negative that can't be overcome and can never be right to my mind, you are either a democracy or not. Thailand is proving to the world, again, that it is not. If some positive things come from it though we should recognise them I think.
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