PHUKET CITY: Following a wave of Phuket Gazette reports of crimes against foreigners in recent weeks, British Ambassador to Thailand Quinton Quayle today voiced his concern over the personal safety of British citizens in Phuket.
Speaking to the Gazette at the Royal Phuket City Hotel this morning, Mr Quayle said, “I think safety is a worrying aspect…
“[Safety] is one of the things I will be talking with the governor about. Crime happens all over the world – we have a lot in Britain – but if there is a particular spate of attacks targeting tourists or targeting people on motorcycles, one would expect the authorities to take some countermeasures,” he said.
Although Mr Quayle said he had been informed of a police manpower shortage on the island, he said, “If crime is going up, then the measures need to somehow react to that. Policemen can’t be everywhere, but if there is a pattern like that, then you would imagine there would be some sort of reaction to it.”
Possible solutions included more plainclothes officers patrolling on motorbikes and increased surveillance around the island, said Mr Quayle.
“I understand there is a problem with lighting and that the streets are quite dark, so these may be issues for the governor,” he added.
As part of his two-day visit to Phuket, Mr Quayle will meet Phuket Governor Niran Kalayanamit tomorrow.
Mr Quayle said that crime affects all types of tourists on Phuket: short-stay visitors, long-stay property buyers and those attracted by the marine tourism industry.
“One of the attractions of coming to Thailand is that it is a comparatively safe country, so this is an issue that needs some attention,” he added.
While in Phuket, Mr Quayle will visit British citizens incarcerated in Phuket Provincial Prison. “In Thailand there are about 50 Brits in prisons; in Phuket there are just two [British] prisoners.
“We have a consular responsibility to look after Brits who get in trouble. I will go and [visit] them, see how they are, see if they have any requirements we can help them with, and see the conditions in the prison,” he said.
Mr Quayle added that almost one million Brits visit Thailand every year, “which creates a lot of consular issues,” he noted.
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