German tourist complains about 5,000 baht traffic fine

PHOTO: A German tourist is fighting a 5000-baht traffic fine for driving his motorbike through the Chalong Underpass. (via Phuket News)

A German tourist is questioning a 5,000 baht traffic fine for riding a motorbike through the Chalong Underpass in Phuket when he saw no traffic signs indicating that it was illegal. The tourist was riding northbound through the tunnel on his way to visit the Big Buddha viewpoint on Monday when he was pulled over by traffic police after exiting the tunnel.

According to the tourist, the officer explained that it was illegal to ride a motorbike through the underpass, but the German man argued that he saw no traffic sign to that effect. However, the officer insisted on the fine and asked him to pay 5,000 baht. Since he did not have that much money on him, the officer agreed to accept 2,000 baht instead, which the German paid on the spot by the side of the road.

But now the German man is questioning the legality and fairness of the fine, which he claims is exorbitant even by German standards. He also asked why he was not given a receipt for the 2,000 baht he paid, and why he was asked to pay the money by the side of the road, The Chalong Police Station sits just 100 metres away from where he was stopped.

The Chalong Police Chief said he was aware of the incident and that his officers were checking the German man’s claim that there are no traffic signs informing motorists that it is illegal to ride a motorbike through the underpass. The Phuket News investigated and found that as recently as August last year, there was only one sign. It is at the entrance to the tunnel, which means the only information about the tunnel comes when it is too late to turn back.

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Police are determined to not take the blame for this problem though, as the chief pointed out that the Phuket Highways Office is responsible for installing roadside traffic signs.

While it is illegal to ride a motorbike through any underpasses in Phuket, police did not confirm what the maximum fine for the violation was. The police chief assured the public that the officer involved would be questioned over the incident and that the police would cooperate with the German tourist to resolve the matter.

The incident has been reported in several local Thai-language media channels focussing on Phuket, prompting a backlash against the police and questions about the fairness of traffic regulations and fines in Phuket.

German tourist complains about 5,000 baht traffic fine | News by Thaiger

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Neill Fronde

Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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