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Army invades Phuket to clear violent, illegal taxi drivers

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Army invades Phuket to clear violent, illegal taxi drivers | The Thaiger

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

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

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Events

The 15th Mai Khao Marine Turtle fun run attracts more than 4,000 runners

The Thaiger

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The 15th Mai Khao Marine Turtle fun run attracts more than 4,000 runners | The Thaiger

4,000 runners from Thailand and overseas took part in the 15th Mai Khao Marine Turtle Fun Run and Half Marathon 2019 yesterday, starting from the Phuket Gateway.

The event is expected to raise 700,000 baht for the charity, now in its 15th year. The money raised goes towards to The Mai Khao Marine Turtle Foundation, which is committed to protecting the marine and coastal environment, and ecosystems, for the wellbeing of sea turtles that nest in the Mai Khao beach and the surrounding areas.

The annual race also provides funds for thePhuket Marine Biological Centre’s Injured Turtle Rehabilitation Program and The Third NavalArea Command’s Turtle Hatchery Program.

The race was in its 15th year and runners of all ages and abilities took part in the race. The morning’s racing was divided into five categories – the 21.1km half marathon, 10.5km mini- marathon, 5km fun run and 3k family run and VIP participants for all the races. The route of 21.1 kilometre race took runners northwest along the Haad Sai Kaew beach towards Thao Thepkasattri bridge, past the rural road No. 3006, run along the road – Pi Lai viewpoint area returned back along the T. Baan Tha Nun to the iconic Sarasin bridge before finished the half marathon in the Phuket Gateway.

For Mini Marathon 10.5 km – Over all category, Mr. Chinnawat Changlek clocked 39 minutes and 40 seconds to clinch victory in the male half marathon, winning prize money and a trophy with the signature of Phuket’s Governor. The winner in the female mini marathon was Surakarn Wanna with a time of 47 minutes and 47 seconds.

Winners also received a prize gift voucher as well as a medal. Congratulations to all participants.

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Events

‘Phang Nga Bay and Beyond’ exhibition by Marilyn Band at Mom Tri’s WOK Gallery Kitchen in November

The Thaiger

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‘Phang Nga Bay and Beyond’ exhibition by Marilyn Band at Mom Tri’s WOK Gallery Kitchen in November | The Thaiger

The Art exhibition “Phang Nga Bay and Beyond” by Marilyn Band is being held at Mom Tri’s WOK Gallery Kitchen, Chalong, Kata Hill, Phuket from November 30, 2019 – January 31, 2020. The opening will take place on Saturday November 30, 2019 at 6.30 pm.

Artist’s Statement

“For the current exhibition, I am presenting recent work, a more abstract expression of Phang Nga Bay’s beauty, which intends to encourage the viewer the opportunity to interpret and appreciate a little bit of paradise. I am quite excited about these more abstract works as it has allowed me to explore the essence of these limestone monuments in the bay.

“I find the natural world a beautiful, magical place. My paintings are inspired by many sea voyages. Though based on reality I try to introduce my own feelings and vision which will delight others.”

Biography

Marilyn Band has been creating art since childhood, influenced by a family who surrounded her with paintings and the creations of several generations of her ancestors who were famous stained glass artists. She went to Florence, Italy for life drawing and then went on to study graphics at High Wycombe Technical College in Buckinghamshire, England and started her career as a graphic designer in a variety of advertising agencies in London.

On Holiday in the Seychelles, she met her future husband, Nick Band, and they have been sailing around the Indian Ocean and SE Asia for more than forty years allowing Marilyn the chance to draw and paint the now disappearing tropical cultures from Zanzibar to Sri Lanka to Phuket, and beyond.

She arrived in Phuket in 1980 and immediately built a studio that has been the center of her art projects. Between sea voyages and other travels, Marilyn has become one of Phuket’s most significant artists with one person exhibitions at Mom Tri’s Boathouse and Villa Royale Galleries.

She has also designed and developed the graphics for the island’s world famous Phuket King’s Cup Regatta media.

She continues to explore new avenues of self- expression in acrylic, oil, watercolour, ink, collage and silkscreen.

'Phang Nga Bay and Beyond' exhibition by Marilyn Band at Mom Tri’s WOK Gallery Kitchen in November | News by The Thaiger

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Crime

Thalang Police arrest local Phuket drug dealer with amphetamine pills

The Thaiger

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Thalang Police arrest local Phuket drug dealer with amphetamine pills | The Thaiger

PHOTOS: เหยี่ยวข่าว ภูเก็ต Newshawk Phuket

Thalang Police have arrested a local drug dealer with more than 192 amphetamine pills. Thalang police in Phuket arrested 29 year old Wimon Songkong from Nakhon Si Thammarat with 192 amphetamine pills that he was carrying when they nabbed him in front of a 7-Eleven store inside a PTT gas station on Thepkasattri Road, in Thalang District.

The amphetamine pills were packed in a black zip-lock plastic bag, which was hidden in his grey shoulder bag. Two of the pills were green and 190 of them were orange, while each pill had the letters ‘wy’ printed on them.

Wimon was charged for possessing and trading illicit drugs and was sent to Thalang police station for further investigation and processing.

STORY: Newshawk Phuket

Thalang Police arrest local Phuket drug dealer with amphetamine pills | News by The Thaiger

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