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Phuket expat volunteers back on beat after misunderstanding, says Patong’s new top cop

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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PHUKET: Striking Region 8 International Volunteers are back to work after negotiations with police, announced Acting Patong Police Superintendent Sakchai Limcharoen.

Col Sakchai told the Phuket Gazette this afternoon that the entire issue had stemmed from a misunderstanding.

“They are all back on the force. Patong Police and the expat volunteers were patrolling together last night,” Col Sakchaisaid. “Even the five that quit are back.”

The volunteers walked off the job when charges a tourist had to pay after damaging a hotel room allegedly went up after he sought help from the volunteers.

“The tourist was also threatened with a greater fine and jail if he were to talk with the volunteer again… This is one of a number of issues where the international volunteers have been used against the tourist,” explained Wal Brown, head co-ordinator of the Royal Thai Police Region 8 volunteers on the island, on Wednesday when the news broke (story here).

The incident was the second connected to police demanding money in Patong that was deemed a misunderstanding in the last month. The first occurred when an Italian was charged by Phuket Tourist Police with working without a work permit, and was told to pay police 20,000.

The money was returned to the Italian in exchange for his not filing a formal complaint (story here).

Col Sakchai attributed the problem this time to communication issues between his officers and police volunteers.

“Thai police don’t speak English very well and sometimes don’t explain themselves clearly,” he said. “I think that at times this may have led to the volunteers feeling that they were not well treated.”

“I’m responsible for the Kathu [Patong] Police Station now, and I don’t want to see any misunderstandings here. The Thai police and expat volunteers should be talking together more. If any issues arise between them, I want them to come to me.”

Col Sakchai went on to praise the volunteers for their service.

“They are working very hard, and not asking for anything in return.”

Col Sakchai has been in charge of the Patong Police Station since Patong Police Superintendent Chiraphat Pochanaphan was transferred out to satisfy the demands of tuk-tuk drivers who shut down the town with blockades on Tuesday night (story here).

“I have no idea when Col Chiraphat will be back. I was told to take over Kathu Police Station and I will do my job here to the best of my ability. The rest is beyond my authority,” Col Sakchai said.

— Chutharat Plerin

 

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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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