Connect with us


Black taxis scoff at Phuket Airport organized crime center

Legacy Phuket Gazette



PHUKET: A taxi company using illegal “black taxis” to serve Phuket International Airport said it will continue to do so despite the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) opening its Organized Crime Center for Tourism there on Friday (story here).

“Our black plate taxis will still work as usual. If the DSI officers arrest them, I will explain to the officers why we are unable to get green license plates [become legal taxis],” Mook Andaman Business & Travel Co-operative secretary Ittipol Mekmanee told the Phuket Gazette.

Mook Andaman, not one of three co-operatives with Airport of Thailand (AoT) concessions to operate at the airport, has a fleet of 136 taxis, only 10 of which are legally registered, Mr Ittipol said.

The company has had limited success adding its vehicles to the legally operating co-operatives at the airport. Even that success came about only after stalking Phuket Governor Maitri Inthusut at his home (story here).

“I understand the rules and that officers want illegal operators to register their vehicles to make the system better. However, we have encountered difficulties,” said Mr Ittipol.

“Finance companies require deposits of around 70,000 baht [sic] in order to release a registration book, which they hold as collateral for loans taken out to buy cars. How can we find that much money?” he asked.

The drivers need the books in their hands in order to present them to the Phuket Land Transportation Office (PLTO) so officials can physically register the change from private vehicle to public.

Many banks and finance companies do not readily hand car registration books to people who have taken out loans to buy cars, as it is the only collateral the companies have to ensure the vehicles remain in their legal possession.

Mr Ittipol’s concern was formally recognized by PLTO chief Teerayut Prasertpol earlier this year (story here).

Mr Teerayut explained that at the time the biggest remaining obstacle stopping taxi drivers from becoming legal was the cost of changing the registered use of their vehicles with their finance companies.

However, a breakthrough deal was brokered six months ago.

“Drivers claimed banks and finance companies required deposits of up to 10,000 baht in order to release the registration books which they hold as collateral for loans taken out to buy cars,” Mr Teerayut said in February.

Mr Teerayut had already raised this issue with Land Transport Department Director-General Somchai Siriwattanachoke in December last year.

The result was a meeting with representatives from Thanachart Bank headquarters in Bangkok, which provides financing for about half of the 2,882 illegal taxis operating in Phuket.

“Thanachart Bank has agreed to waive the deposit for drivers who give permission for the bank to hand the registration book directly to the PLTO in order to change the registration type. This saves the taxi drivers from having to come up with the money needed for the deposit,” Mr Teerayut explained in February.

“Other financial services companies are taking care of their customers in the same way. This is a big help to the taxi drivers who want to get green license plates [have their vehicles registered as legal taxis],” he added.

Despite this progress made months ago, Mr Ittipol yesterday made it clear that financial companies were still what was preventing him, and the drivers of the Mook Andaman fleet, from becoming legal.

“As I said, what are we going to do? We do not have the money to pay the financial companies. If the government wants to make this rule more effective, they should provide more help to us. For example, they could allocate some funds for us to pay off our debts,” he said.

“Then, things would be much easier,” he added.

Though Mook Andaman is struggling with legality, Vice Governor Chamroen Tipayapongtada has maintained that many other taxi operators had been very cooperative since the announcement of the new rules (story here).

Mr Ittipol’s disregard for the DSI crackdown flies in the face of Vice Governor Chamroen, who urged all illegal taxis to have their vehicles registered, warning them that they will be prime targets for the DSI come Friday.

“On Friday, the Organized Crime Center for Tourism will start to operate at the airport. DSI officers and airport officers will be keeping an eye open for any black plate taxis operating at the airport,” Vice Governor Chamroen said.

“Any taxi operator who hasn’t registered their vehicle yet, better be quick. Because if they aren’t – we will arrest them,” he warned.

— Orawin Narabal


Want more Thailand news from the Thaiger family?

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS for instant updates on your mobile
📝️ Join the conversation on Thaiger Talk - discuss news & life in our Thailand forums
📧 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🔔 Subscribe to or Join our YouTube channel for daily video updates


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

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

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

Follow Thaiger by email:

World29 mins ago

Fire at Chinese martial arts school kills 18, mainly kids

Thailand1 hour ago

Man allegedly steals almost 300,000 baht from monk

Thailand2 hours ago

Illegal cigarette shipment busted, valued at 30 million baht

Phuket Sandbox July 1st


Thaiger is getting behind local businesses for the restart of tourism in July - up to 50% discounts across all advertising packages in June!

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Thailand4 hours ago

Pair arrested for allegedly stealing prepaid phone cards worth 240 million baht, take home almost 150

Best of4 hours ago

Top 5 Indian Restaurants in Bangkok

Phuket5 hours ago

A Korean restaurant catches fire at a Phuket shopping centre

Best of5 hours ago

Top 10 Provinces to visit in Thailand

Coronavirus (Covid-19)5 hours ago

Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine approved for emergency use in Thailand

World5 hours ago

1 dead 99 unaccounted for in Florida building collapse

World6 hours ago

Airlines participate in trials of IATA Travel Pass app

Best of6 hours ago

Top 8 Street Foods in Thailand

World6 hours ago

A bed in the sky: Shanghai opens world’s highest luxury hotel

Thailand6 hours ago

GMT Live | Bangkok Covid situation, Klongtoey slums, Sandbox squabbles

Coronavirus (Covid-19)6 hours ago

Covid-19 cluster found at children’s home outside Bangkok

Best of6 hours ago

Top 5 Floating Markets in Bangkok

Thailand4 months ago

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

Tourism4 months ago

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

Phuket4 months ago

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

Tourism4 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand4 months ago

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

Tourism4 months ago

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

Thailand5 months ago

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

Thailand5 months ago

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

Thailand5 months ago

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

Thailand5 months ago

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

Thailand5 months ago

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

Thailand5 months ago

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

Thailand5 months ago

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

Thailand5 months ago

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

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Southern floods, Face mask fines, Thai Air Asia woes | January 8