The orders came from Phuket Provincial Police Commander Pigad Thantipong after he made a frank admission during a press conference that some police officers were knowingly allowing jet-ski operators to get away with massively overcharging tourists for repairs to the vehicles.
This was going to have to stop, he said.
Maj Gen Pigad said he had received a constant stream of complaints about the infamous Phuket jet-ski scam.
“When tourists damage the jet-skis, some operators are asking them for 50-60,000 baht for the repairs,” he said.
“The real cost is often just a couple of thousand baht, but the operators threaten the tourists if they don’t pay up.”
Maj Gen Pigad said Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban had told both himself and Phuket Governor Wichai Phraisa-ngop that they had to end the practice.
There were around 200 jet-skis on the island, with 167 of them licensed, he said.
Maj Gen Pigad said he had set three new policies to end the problem.
First, police would prosecute any jet-ski operators who threatened tourists.
Second, police officers would not ignore or collude in the scam.
Third, six unbiased “trusted” people in the community would be appointed to adjudicate in arguments between jet-ski operators and tourists.
These independent adjudicators would determine the real cost of any repairs to jet-skis when arguments broke out.
“Their decisions will have to be accepted by both the tourists and the jet-ski operators. If they don’t accept, they can go to court,” Maj Gen Pigad said.
Maj Gen Pigad said he would be meeting with Governor Wichai to discuss the new measures again this week.
— Atchaa Khamlo
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