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Phuket officials blasted for inaction over mafia

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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PHUKET: Phuket Tourist Association Vice President Sarayuth Mallam yesterday lashed out at local government heads for failing to see the importance of solving tourism issues and succumbing to the pressures of “foreign mafia”.

“Department heads are not placing the proper importance on solving these problems. Even at this meeting, for example, many heads of the relevant organizations are not here, such as the Phuket Police Commander, the Tourist Police Superintendent and the Immigration Superintendent.

“Instead, they send their subordinate officers to represent them,” said Mr Mallam at a meeting headed by Phuket Governor Tri Augkaradacha.

“It seems they don’t see the importance of solving the issues tourists are facing,” he claimed.

Mr Sarayuth explained that it was necessary for the heads of relevant offices to listen to the meetings in their entirety. “Many of them would like to work in Phuket, but some of them don’t know anything [about Phuket],” he said.

Mr Sarayuth said that mafia in Phuket, especially those headed by foreigners, were having deep-reaching effects on public safety.

“The presence of foreign mafia in Phuket is more frightening than local mafia. They are not afraid of the police,” he said.

Mr Sarayuth cited for Governor Tri the recent example of a staff member of a Patong timeshare company attacking a tourist.

“The tourist reported the attack to the police and the timeshare worker was questioned at Patong Police Station. However, the company called a powerful policeman from outside Phuket, who cleared the case. All the Patong Police could do was issue him a warning,” he explained.

Mr Sarayuth is already very familiar with suffering violent intimidation tactics. In 2002, he was attacked from behind and hit in the head with a hammer after leaving an appointment at Phuket Provincial Court.

Phuket Vice Governor Chamroen Tipayapongtada pointed out that at a recent meeting in Bangkok, Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yoobamrung had made it clear that every province needed to monitor its major issues.

Once assessed, the strong points in the system could stand, but the weak would have to be addressed.

“Deputy PM Chalerm also ordered provincial governors to send reports to Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra every 30 days, especially provinces that have issues with jet-ski rentals, “black taxis” (ordinary vehicles being used as taxis) and tourists being taken advantage of,” V/Gov Chamroen said.

“He said that if any places were having issues with mafia who officials were afraid to take action against, they should be named to him,” he added.

— Atchaa Khamlo

 

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