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Phuket illegal taxi blitz nets 194 drivers on first day

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Phuket illegal taxi blitz nets 194 drivers on first day | The Thaiger
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PHUKET: A total of 194 drivers were charged and fined yesterday for illegally operating a taxi or for not displaying the now-mandatory stickers that publicly identify the drivers on the sides of their vehicles.

The haul in arrests came on the first day of an island-wide crackdown on illegal taxi drivers in Phuket as officers from the Phuket Land Transportation Office (PLTO) joined forces with their Bangkok counterparts in setting up checkpoints on major roads across the island.

Phuket Vice Governor Chamroen Tipayapongtada, who inspected the checkpoint in front of the Thung Thong Police Station in Kathu late yesterday afternoon, told the Phuket Gazette that checkpoints were also set up at Muang Mai, in Thalang, and near Nai Yang Beach.

“We randomly checked vehicles and found people working illegally as taxi drivers or operating taxis not in accordance with our agreement. We fined them and warned them that they have to strictly abide by the law,” he said.

PLTO Chief Teerayut Prasertpol explained that drivers who had not applied to register their vehicles as taxis were charged and fined 2,000 baht each.

“Drivers who have already registered – or applied to register their vehicles – but were found not displaying the stickers on the sides of their cars were fined 500 baht,” he said.

Mr Teerayut explained that his office had received applications to register 2,882 vehicles that were previously being used as illegal taxis.

“That’s about 93 per cent of the 3,595 illegal taxis that our office found in operation in Phuket. However, that still leaves 713 vehicles that need to be registered as taxis, most of those are vans,” he added.

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

“The drivers have to the change their vehicles from being ‘personal use’ to ‘public use’. This process can cost up to 30,000 baht per vehicle.

“However, we have contacted several finance companies to ask for their help in reducing the fee. They are now considering it,” he said.

The checkpoints will continue to be set up at random locations around the island until May next year, as drivers now have until the end of February to apply to have their vehicles registered as taxis, said Mr Teerayut.

After that deadline, the process of becoming a legal taxi will be much more difficult, explained PLTO officer Jaturong Kaewkasi.

“After February, each application must be reviewed and approved by the PLTO and the application must be endorsed by an existing taxi company or taxi rank,” he said.

“Once all the taxis in Phuket are registered, it will help reduce crime. If passengers forget their belongings in a taxi, it will be a lot easier to find the taxi since we will have a database of all taxis on the island,” Mr Teerayut said.

— Kritsada Mueanhawong

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

Tourism

Phuket prepares to welcome first Chinese tourists in over 6 months

Maya Taylor

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Phuket prepares to welcome first Chinese tourists in over 6 months | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Jing Daily

The first group of tourists to arrive under Thailand’s new Special Tourist Visa scheme are expected to land in Phuket on October 8. The Bangkok Post reports that a flight from Guangzhou in southern China will carry 120 tourists, who will spend their first 14 days in alternative state quarantine. They are reported to be travelling under the government’s new STV.

Arrivals who do not pass the initial health screening will be transferred to specially chosen hospitals, as “Patients under Investigation”. Those who do pass the screening will be transported to alternative state quarantine once they’ve gone through immigration processing.

A Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration spokesperson says the resort islands of Phuket and Koh Samui will be the first to welcome travellers under the Special Tourist Via scheme. He pointed out that Guangzhou has not recorded any new cases of the Covid-19 virus for a prolonged period, meaning next week’s tourist arrivals are deemed “low risk”. His assertion is confirmed from the official figures at worldometer.info website recording world Covid-19 cases.

The CCSA reports that there will be a limit of 300 foreign tourists admitted each week, but this will be reviewed after the first phase of the re-opening. All arrivals will be subject to 14 day quarantine, although the Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn has suggested reducing this to 7 days eventually. The CCSA says they are not considering reducing the quarantine time at this stage.

Thiravat Hemachudha from the Thai Red Cross Emerging Infectious Disease Health Science Centre is not opposed to the idea.

“We can study this with foreign visitors who will arrive next month. During the 14 day quarantine they will be tested on the first, the seventh and the fourteenth day. If they are free of infections, we can shorten the quarantine to 7 days.”

However, not all are in agreement, with a doctor from Bangkok’s Chulalongkorn University cautioning against any shortening of the quarantine period.

Meanwhile, Phuket governor, Narong Woonsiew, says the province is ready to welcome the new arrivals, with Covid-19 labs in place at Phuket airport, and officials due to carry out a full dress rehearsal today.

Thanit Sermkaew, chief of the Phuket Public Health Office, says over 1,200 rooms at 9 hotels have been chosen as alternative state quarantine properties, with a total of 73 hotels, providing over 5,800 rooms, applying for consideration.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Phuket

Woman arrested for abandoning newborn baby on a bench in Phuket

Caitlin Ashworth

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Woman arrested for abandoning newborn baby on a bench in Phuket | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Siangtai/Newshawk Phuket

Police tracked down and arrested a Burmese woman who allegedly left her newborn baby on a bench in Phuket’s Patong area last week. The mother faces charges of abandoning a baby.

The newborn was left in a reusable shopping bag on a bench behind a Krungthai Bank branch. A woman in the area heard the baby crying and found the newborn in the bag along with a bottle of milk, diapers and clothing. Police reviewed surveillance camera footage shows a woman, police later identified as Ei Ei Phyu, leaving the bag on the bench.

Police say the woman gave birth on September 9 at a local hospital in Surat Thani’s Phun Phin district. Ei Ei allegedly took a van from Surat Thani to Phuket on September 22 and stayed with a friend in Patong. The early the next morning, she allegedly left her baby on the bench before boarding a bus back to Surat Thani.

Burmese workers in the Patong area told police Ei Ei used to work at a local Indian food restaurant before she moved to Surat Thani to work as a rubber tapper. Ei Ei allegedly told police she is not in the position to raise a child.

In earlier reports, police said the baby is healthy and does not appear to have any injuries.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Thailand

Phuket police arrest 6 after finding large amounts of methamphetamine in raid

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Phuket police arrest 6 after finding large amounts of methamphetamine in raid | The Thaiger

Phuket Provincial Police have arrested 6 people after finding large amounts of methamphetamine and other drugs during a raid. One suspect alone allegedly had 7.6 kilograms of crystal meth (ya ice) and over 12,500 methamphetamine pills (ya bah). 29 year old Surasak ‘Bank’ Wijit and 27 year old Panida ‘Mei’ Saeyang were arrested at an apartment car park in Soi Lookkaew, Moo 6, Rassada, in eastern Phuket, after they were found in possession of the drugs.

Police also found 2 mobile phones and a red Honda PCX, registered in Phuket, as evidence. Both suspects have been charged with posessing a Category 1 drug with the intent to sell.

Other suspects arrested at the same time include 36 year old from Chiang Rai, 42 year old Sarawut ‘An’ Srichanon, from Ranong and 31 year old Pornthep ‘Iew’ Thepchampa, who were charged with the same crimes in Chalong after police found more drugs in their possession. 33 year old Kamon ‘Kung’ Sae-ngow, was arrested as well after police found kratom juice and leaves at a house in Rassada. He was taken to Phuket City Police station and was charged with a Category 5 drug possession.

SOURCE:The Phuket News

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