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Gov orders probe into tour company

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Gov orders probe into tour company | The Thaiger

PHUKET CITY (Khom Chad Luek, Phuket Gazette) : Phuket Governor Udomsak Usawarangkura has ordered an investigation into a tour company for allegedly intimidating tourists into buying overpriced package tours.

The Tourist Police denied having received any complaints about the company in question, which is located close to their office on the bypass road .

The Governor ordered the investigation while chairing the monthly CEO Governor’s Meeting at Phuket Provincial Hall on Wednesday morning.

During a discussion of Phuket’s “transport mafia” woes, former Phuket Town Mayor Phummisak Hongsyok, who attended the meeting in his capacity as President of the Phuket Real Estate Club, mentioned that a high-ranking police official was involved in operating a “tour company” that picked up fares at the airport.

“I have received many reports from tourists about one ‘influential’ company that [somehow got the right to and does] pick up passengers at the airport. From there, they take them to their company offices, sometimes detaining them for one or two hours and forcing them to buy highly overpriced tour packages,” he said.

K. Phummisak said that the tour company would also call around to various hotels and arrange accommodation for the tourists, charging them in some cases a 1,000 baht fare or more upon arrival at their hotels. He added that the company also received a commission from the hotels involved.

“If we don’t take action against this soon, it will create big problems for Phuket tourism in the future,” he said.

Gov Udomsak readily agreed to take action against the tour company, which he already knew to be located next to the Tourist Police Station [on the bypass road].

“The Tourist Police can’t tell me that they don’t know anything about this … This issue has come up time and time again in these meetings…but I don’t see anybody taking the initiative to do anything about it. We talk about it all the time, then nobody does anything. I just don’t understand it,” he said.

It is understood that Provincial Police Deputy Commander Pol Col Kokiat Wongvorachart will head the investigation.

The Governor also suggested putting the owners of the company on the provincial list of “influential figures”, thus allowing those responsible to be dealt with at a higher level as part of the the Prime Minister’s “war on corruption”.

The Gazette contacted the Phuket Tourist Police office and was told by inspector Pol Maj Bundit Khaosutham that it was “100% untrue” that any Tourist Police officers were involved.

“As for the tour company next to our office, we don’t know each other. I don’t think that they would be brave enough to treat tourists like that right next to the Tourist Police office because it would be so easy for people to report them…

“In fact, we never get complaints from tourists about being forced to buy overpriced tours or being dropped off in the wrong locations [after refusing to buy them],” he said, adding that he had nevertheless assigned a team to investigate the allegations.



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Phuket

Police searching for the killer after shooting near Saphan Hin

Kritsada Mueanhawong

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Police searching for the killer after shooting near Saphan Hin | The Thaiger

A Thai man has been shot dead near Saphan Hin in eastern Phuket earlier today. The arrest warrant has already been issued for the suspect.

The Wichit Police were notified of the incident on Rattanakosin 200 pi Road near Saphan Hin at 3.40am this morning.

Police and rescue workers arrived to find the body of 30 year old Teerasak Saeong from Phuket covered with blood and laying on the road. Two bullet wounds were found on his right and left temple.

Seven bullets were also found around Mr Teerasak’s body. Nearby they found a motorbike. His body was taken to Vachira Phuket Hospital for full autopsy and identification.

Witnesses told police that Mr Teerasak was stopped on his motorbike and was talking with the suspect who was in a black car. The suspect shot at Mr Teerasak and sped away.

Mr Teerasak was the son of a member of Rassada’s Municipal Council. At this stage police believe that the two had personal conflicts. Police are now searching for the driver of the vehicle who shot Mr Teerasak.

Police searching for the killer after shooting near Saphan Hin | News by The Thaiger Police searching for the killer after shooting near Saphan Hin | News by The Thaiger Police searching for the killer after shooting near Saphan Hin | News by The Thaiger

 

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Phuket

Danish tourist dies in Phuket road accident

Kritsada Mueanhawong

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Danish tourist dies in Phuket road accident | The Thaiger

A male Danish tourist, driving a motorbike, has died after colliding with a truck in front of a market in Kathu.

The Kathu Police were notified of the incident on Phra Phuket Keaw Road in front of the new outdoor Vintage Market in Kathu at 3am yesterday morning.

Police and Kusoldharm rescue workers arrived at the U-turn to find the truck and driver waiting. The driver of the truck was 36 year old Sontaya Suchata waiting in the middle of the U-turn area.

Nearby they found a damaged Honda PCX and 51 year old Claus Pathuel Jensen, a Danish national from Glostrup. He was found unconscious under the truck. He was rushed to Vachira Phuket Hospital but was pronounced dead upon arrival.

Police report that the truck was going to take a U-turn outside the market area. The truck driver says he was unaware that Mr Jensen was coming from behind in the right lane. The motorbike was unable to avoid the collision with the truck and Mr Jensen PCX ploughed into the rear of the vehicle.

Danish tourist dies in Phuket road accident | News by The Thaiger Danish tourist dies in Phuket road accident | News by The Thaiger Danish tourist dies in Phuket road accident | News by The Thaiger Danish tourist dies in Phuket road accident | News by The Thaiger

 

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Phuket

Australian woman deported for overstaying visa by over 100 days

Kritsada Mueanhawong

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Australian woman deported for overstaying visa by over 100 days | The Thaiger

PHOTOS: Facebook/Claire Johnson

An Australian woman, who was caught overstaying her visa by 111 days, will be released from detention and deported by Thai authorities tonight.

She came to the media’s attention on Monday after sending urgent messages to a friend saying that she was being taken to a detention centre and that “they are taking my phone”.

46 year old Claire Amelia Johnson is an Australian Gold Coast resident. She will depart Bangkok on a QANTAS flight scheduled to arrive in Sydney tomorrow (Friday) morning.

She was due to return to Australia more than a week ago but on Monday evening sent messages to her friend Juliet Potter and told her that she was in an immigration detention centre in Bangkok and begged her to please “help me”.

Read The Thaiger story about her desperate pleas HERE.

Ms Johnson had been running a medical tourism business called Cosmetic Holidays International that offered cosmetic packages in Phuket”.

The business was voluntarily deregistered with the Australian Securities Commission in May 2017, after five years of operation, but her social media accounts continued to promote her cosmetic-surgery tourism business.

Thailand’s immigration chief, Surachate Hakparn, told Australia’s Fairfax media that Ms Johnson had been arrested, as well as fined, and would be deported after overstaying her tourist visa by more than 100 days.

“My Immigration Department will send her to Australia. She leaves tonight.”

Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade would say only that it was “providing consular assistance to an Australian woman detained in Thailand”, without naming Claire.

Australian woman deported for overstaying visa by over 100 days | News by The Thaiger

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