Phuket tourism court on hold

PHUKET: The opening of a new tourist court in Phuket has been delayed while a sortie of judges, Tourist Police and officers from the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) complete a 14-million-baht, two-week fact-finding trip to France.

The fact-finding tour, which started September 7 and is scheduled to end September 19, is aimed at giving the experts a first-hand view of how such courts can operate.

The news follows Tourism and Sports Minister Somsak Pureesrisak officiating at the opening of the first of seven tourist courts nationwide, formally called the “Tourist Protections Section”, in Pattaya on September 5.

The goal of the special courts is to provide advice and information, as well as to expedite the settlement of cases for tourists.

“Tourism cases are different from other cases because tourists are in Thailand for only a short time. I want to provide a fair and faster process for them,” Mr Somsak said.

“We will provide tourists with information that can help expedite their cases. If they have to go back to their country, staff will question them and assign officers to follow their cases and notify the tourists once cases are resolved. This is the best way to be fair to everyone under Thai law,” he explained.

When the idea for special tourist courts first gathered momentum in May this year (story here), Mr Somsak explained why they were necessary.

“Tourists who are the victims of thefts and robberies may have to face a lengthy trial and experience inconvenience because they only intended to stay in the country for a short time,” he said.

Cases involving consumer fraud will be solved the fastest, within one day, said Wirat Shinwinijkul, Secretary-General of the Courts of Justice.

The budget and dates for opening the other planned tourist courts – in Phuket, Chiang Mai, Samui, Krabi and the Pathum Wan and Dusit districts in Bangkok – have yet to be determined, Mr Somsak said.

— Saran Mitrarat

Phuket News

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