Connect with us

Opinion

Taking Phuket tourists’ safety to heart

Published

 on 

Malika Chergui, 61, originally from Morocco, has been a Tourist Police volunteer for nine years. Before retiring in Phuket, she was a successful business and family woman in Italy. Now, she spends her time helping tourists alongside the Phuket Tourist Police. She patrols the streets of Patong every night from 9pm, using her language skills – she is fluent in Italian, Spanish, German, French, Arabic and speaks English well – to assist in any way possible.

Here, she talks about the importance of police volunteers and discusses what she believes are the biggest issues and most pertinent safety tips for Phuket tourists.

PHUKET: A lot of tourists come to Phuket, and local police are sometimes not enough when one of them needs help. Language differences pose a significant barrier when police are trying to sort out what has happened and what needs to be done.

Tourist Police volunteers can act as go-betweens, helping police and tourists understand each other.

I appreciate the effort Phuket police have made to help tourists, and that they have organized a group of volunteers to work with them. Some officers can speak English, but that does not guarantee that they will be able to understand what is being said, especially when tourists call them on the phone.

Tourists could help the police by being aware of their surroundings and staying safe while on holiday.

If I could offer my advice to all incoming tourists, I would suggest that they always keep a copy of their passport.

Also, I would advise them not use illegal taxis. Use registered ones, or use the taxis that the hotel provides. That way, the hotel can track down the driver, if something goes wrong.

Furthermore, I would urge tourists to check carefully before getting out of a taxi to make sure they have not left anything behind. If they must use a tuk-tuk, I would suggest they take a photo of its licence plate.

When renting a motorbike, it is very important to have a valid driver’s licence and to be an experienced rider. Helmets are also very important. They are designed to protect both drivers and passengers – so anyone riding a motorbike should always wear a helmet.

I think one of the biggest issues among Phuket tourists is fighting. Tourists come here to have fun, and there are a lot of people coming from many different countries. This sometimes makes it hard for them to get along – especially when drinking is involved.

Our job as volunteers is to calm them down, give them some water and assist them if they need to go to a hospital. We can also call an ambulance for them. Whatever the situation, we cannot – and will not – walk away.

Another issue I often see is tourists who are not properly informed about Thailand’s laws and regulations, and what services or activities they should avoid.

One example of an activity to avoid is renting a jet-ski. We have gotten reports many times from tourists that were scammed by jet-ski operators for “damaging” the rented jet-ski.

One way we can help tourists avoid situations like these is by encouraging police, hotel staff and airline staff to inform incoming Phuket visitors about what they should avoid while here, and to hand out safety tips.

We want them to have a great, safe trip and to keep coming back.

It is very important to me that people who are in trouble get the help they need, so that they can continue to enjoy the rest of their holidays. This is my favorite part of volunteering for the police, and what I find to be the most rewarding.

Just a few months ago, I was able to reunite an Australian boy with his family after he became lost on Bangla Road (story here). I was very touched by the event, and I thought to myself, “I love my job”.

I have been volunteering for nine years. My husband and I had been coming back and forth between Italy and Phuket for almost twenty years. We loved it here.

In 2005, my husband were in Phuket when he suffered from a heart attack and died. I had to do everything myself to get his body back to Italy for the funeral, despite being in the deepest state of grief. Nobody helped me.

I don’t blame anyone for what happened or for what I went through. But his death made me realize that this country needed help. So I became one of the first police volunteers on the island.

I am doing what I love. I help people as much as I can because it makes me happy. Every day I go home and pray, and am thankful that I am able to help people.

This is what I do, and I won’t give it up.

 

Get more from The Thaiger

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Visa8 hours ago

CCSA to consider extending Thailand tourist visa to 45 days

Bangkok8 hours ago

Man caught taking drugs inside a Bangkok police booth didn’t give a crap

Thailand8 hours ago

Thailand News Today | Thailand no longer considers Covid “dangerous infectious disease” 

Sponsored17 hours ago

Enjoy a splashing time and immerse yourself in Thai Mythology in Andamanda Phuket

Crime9 hours ago

Wife says boss of Mountain B in Pattaya is ‘not a villain’

Crime9 hours ago

Policeman poses as Buddhist monk to trick drug dealers in central Thailand

Travel10 hours ago

Stress-free travel with AXA Travel Insurance

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Guides10 hours ago

Mother’s Day in Thailand 2022: 5 fun ways to pamper your mom

Thailand10 hours ago

Thai minister insists minimum wage increase is not electioneering

Bangkok11 hours ago

Swedish Embassy hailed for giving 6-month parental leave to Thai staff

Travel12 hours ago

Everything you need to know about the Bangkok Skytrain (BTS)

Environment12 hours ago

PM warns Thailand to brace itself for potential flooding

Travel12 hours ago

Watch Koh Samui’s magical sunset from these sunset bars

Thailand12 hours ago

Local hero predicts building collapse, saves countless lives in eastern Thailand

Phuket12 hours ago

9 year old boy kills a 7 year old girl with a police pistol in Phuket

Press Room13 hours ago

Southeast Asia’s sauciest tech event, Techsauce Global Summit to return to Bangkok in physical form

Thailand11 months ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand1 year ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism1 year ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket1 year ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism1 year ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand1 year ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism1 year ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Trending