PATONG: Municipal officials will patrol the streets of Patong day and night this high season in a crackdown on touts and street vendors harassing tourists, Patong Deputy Mayor Chairat Sukbal has announced.
“We need to ensure that [touts] do not distribute leaflets or grab tourists’ hands to try to persuade them to buy from their shops. We will arrest them for being a public nuisance, which carries a maximum fine of 2,000 baht,” K. Chairat said.
“We have received many complaints from tourists who had been harassed by touts,” he added.
The latest move to curb street touts intrusive methods has already upset some shop owners. Patong tailor Niphon Narula explained to the Gazette that municipality officers arrested one of his shop staff for “just standing” in front of his shop on Thaweewong Rd.
“We weren’t handing out leaflets … If we annoyed tourists, we would be in the wrong, but he was just standing in front of our shop. How could they have arrested him?” he said.
K. Niphon said that on November 22 was the fourth time his staff member had been arrested. The first time incurred a 500 baht fine, and a 1,000-baht fine followed for each of the following two times. However, in his most recent arrest the staff member was let off with a warning.
K. Chairat said, “If they are just standing [in front of the shop], we will not arrest them. But we will be more strict in ensuring that tourists have a good holiday in Phuket.”
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