Connect with us

Phuket

Army invades Phuket to clear violent, illegal taxi drivers

Legacy Phuket Gazette

Published

 on 

image
image

PHUKET: A deployment of 100 soldiers from Southern Thailand today provided military support to a huge task force of 1,110 police officers and 40 volunteers who swept along the west coast of Phuket to purge the island of illegal, violent, abusive and cheating taxi, tuk-tuk and minivan drivers.

The soldiers were acting under orders from Maj Gen Peerapol Wiriyakul, Commanding General of the 41st Military Circle, which operates out of the Fourth Army Area Command in Nakhon Sri Thammarat.

Over 70 drivers were taken into custody in a single blitz led by Lt Gen Panya Mamen, Commander of the Royal Thai Police Region 8 division.

“I assigned a squad headed by Maj Gen Paween Pongsirin to start tackling this problem on January 30,” Gen Panya told the press this afternoon.

“His team questioned the staff and owners of 51 businesses, totalling 150 witnesses, which led to 111 arrest warrants issued for 108 people,” Gen Panya explained.

In the blitz today, 32 warrants were served in Kata-Karon, eight in Thalang, nine in Cherng Talay and 27 in Kamala.

Although no drivers in Patong were arrested today, the Phuket Gazette has been informed that some of the 35 drivers yet to be arrested are based in Phuket’s main resort town – and the raids will continue tomorrow.

“Some of the suspects worked illegally as a taxi or tuk-tuk drivers,” Gen Panya said. “Others were legal, but were wanted for specific incidents, such as abusive or violent behavior, or for cheating tourists.”

All of the drivers arrested were denied police bail.

“Some of them face up to 10 years in jail,” Gen Paween told the Gazette.

Not included in the 73 arrests was that of Kata-Karon Mayor Tawee Thongcham (story here).

“Mr Tawee surrendered himself to police today after a warrant for his arrest was issued,” said Gen Paween.

During the months-long investigation by Gen Paween’s team, officers discovered that an illegal taxi booth in Kata-Karon had electricity and running water supplied by the Kata-Karon Municipality.

“This is evidence enough that the illegal taxi operators were being supported by Kata-Karon Municipality. An arrest warrant for Mr Tawee was issued on that basis,” Gen Paween said.

Mr Tawee had long been at the head of local politics in Kata-Karon. He was elected Karon Mayor for the third term running in July 2012.

“If any tourists or business operators want to let us know about any wayward taxi and tuk-tuk drivers, let us know, and we will investigate,” Gen Paween assured.

Complaints can be filed at either of the two Department of Special Investigation (DSI) Organized Crime Centers in Phuket, said Gen Paween (click here).

“Or they can be filed at the local police station,” he added.

Considering Phuket’s growing tendency for local taxi and tuk-tuk drivers to stage blockades, when asked whether police were concerned that some drivers might try to protest at the police station, Gen Panya replied, “We are not worried. If they try to create a blockade, we will arrest all of them.”

— Saran Mitrarat

 

Get more from The Thaiger

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS
👋 Have your say on our Thailand forum
🔔 Subscribe to our daily newsletter
📺 Subscribe / Join for daily shows
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🐦 FOLLOW us on Twitter
📷 FOLLOW us on Instagram

image

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.

Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

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

Follow Thaiger by email:

Media4 hours ago

No sex please, we’re Thai

Events5 hours ago

An aquatic meal with Olga Belka – taking art to new depths

Transport9 hours ago

Hua Lamphong (Bangkok Train Station) – History and future | VIDEO

Sponsored3 days ago

CBRE recommends top 5 luxury condominiums in Phuket with fantastic locations

imageimage
Thailand9 hours ago

Bug-eating challenge with Natty, feat. Mark Abbott | VIDEO

Coronavirus (Covid-19)10 hours ago

UPDATE: Israel bans ALL foreign entry over Omicron

Thailand13 hours ago

New variant could dampen Thailand’s reopening enthusiasm

image
Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Coronavirus (Covid-19)14 hours ago

UPDATE: Latest news on Omicron – what we know

Tourism1 day ago

Songkhla prepares for tourism across the Southern land border

Thailand1 day ago

French expat being denied re-entry to Thailand over repeated criticism of the Thai monarchy

Coronavirus (Covid-19)1 day ago

COVID-19 SATURDAY: 6,073 infections, 32 deaths, provincial data

Coronavirus (Covid-19)1 day ago

Omicron causing concern, Thai authorities ban travellers from 8 countries

Coronavirus (Covid-19)1 day ago

Thailand’s nightlife venues and bars told to keep closed until January 16

Protests1 day ago

Amnesty International under investigation for defending activists

Coronavirus (Covid-19)2 days ago

New Covid-19 strain named “Omicron” and a variant of concern

Thailand2 days ago

Entertainment venues will not open before January 16

Thailand3 months ago

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

Thailand9 months ago

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

Tourism9 months ago

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

Phuket9 months ago

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

Tourism9 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand9 months ago

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

Tourism9 months ago

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

Thailand10 months ago

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

Thailand10 months ago

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

Thailand10 months ago

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

Thailand11 months ago

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

Thailand11 months ago

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

Thailand11 months ago

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

Thailand11 months ago

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

Thailand11 months ago

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

Trending