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Tuk-tuk, jet-ski, taxi scams: Ambassadors name the bane of Phuket

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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PHUKET: In their first official visit to Phuket, the British, Canadian and Dutch Ambassadors to Thailand today plainly described their chief concerns about the scams and cheats continuing to plague Phuket’s tourism industry.

Speaking with Phuket Governor Maitri Inthusut at Provincial Hall this afternoon, ambassadors Mark Kent of the UK, Philip Calvert of Canada and Joan Boer of the Netherlands focused on why tuk-tuk and taxi drivers are continuing to charge tourists in Phuket higher fares than are charged elsewhere in the country.

They also asked why metered taxis are not as common in Phuket as they are in other major tourist destinations across Thailand, including Bangkok and Chiang Mai.

“They are very concerned about why taxis are so expensive compared with other tourist areas in Thailand,” Governor Maitri said.

The governor explained to the ambassadors the steps Phuket authorities have taken in recent months in an attempt to regulate taxi drivers.

Phuket Land Transport Office [PLTO] chief Teerayut Prasertpol, who was present at the meeting explained further, “The PLTO is trying to get metered taxi drivers to charge by the meter, but the drivers do not want to because if they charged only by the meter they would not make enough as a living.”

“This has also deterred any private investors from even wanting to start a metered taxi service company,” Gov Maitri added.

British Ambassador Kent also introduced the governor to the website Phukettuktuks.com, which lists incident after incident of tourists in Phuket being cheated, scammed and even violently attacked by tuk-tuk and taxi drivers.

“The police are doing their best, but there is a serious shortage of officers in Phuket,” Gov Maitri replied.

Ambassador Boer specifically cited his concern about jet-ski operators keeping tourists’ passports as a condition of renting jet-skis.

However, Phuket Marine Office chief Phuripat Theerakulpisut replied that keeping customers’ passports was a practice of the past.

“They no longer do this, and I passed that message along to Ambassador Boer,” Governor Maitri explained.

In addition to sharing his concern over the fares charged by tuk-tuk and taxi drivers in Phuket, Canadian Ambassador Calvert also raised the issue of the media using photos of dead bodies and photos of passports in news stories.

Despite the contentious nature of the chief concerns discussed today, Ambassador Kent was supportive of the Thai government’s efforts to resolve Phuket’s perennial problems.

“Most tourists who come to Phuket enjoy their holidays and have a good time,” he said.

He also praised the governor’s willingness to work with embassy officials in tackling the major issues affecting Phuket.

As a closing note, Ambassador Kent also praised the government’s efforts in raising the number of motorbike riders and passengers in Phuket who wear crash helmets.

“I think the government has done a great job in getting people to wear helmets – you can see it just driving around the island,” he said.

— Chutharat Plerin

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

For travellers to Phuket, testing is out, quarantine is in

Neill Fronde

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PHOTO: Phuket Vice Governor Piyapong Choowong (via Facebook)

The on-again-off-again plans for testing people for Covid-19 as they arrive in Phuket will be replaced by quarantine after May 15, according to Vice Governor Piyapong Choowong’s latest announcement. In an online video broadcast last night, the vice governor confirmed the new scheme after Phuket Governor Narong Woonciew first mentioned it in an executive meeting at Phuket Provincial Hall yesterday.

There are now 25 provinces on the Phuket red zone list that they instated on April 22, with anyone arriving from those places required to have proof that they are either fully vaccinated or tested negative for Covid-19 within the last 72 hours. Without proof, people have to take a rapid antigen test to confirm they did not have Covid-19 before they would be allowed on the island. The test was first set to be 300 baht for everyone, and later controversially made free for Thai people and 500 baht for foreigners.

There had been some back and forth with budget concerns of being able to provide the mass testing and who would pay how much for continued testing. Perhaps requiring people to quarantine in Phuket is cheaper than testing them when they arrive. The original scheme was set to expire May 15, and announcements were made about extending the plan and stopping testing right away. For now, this debate seems to have settled on replacing the testing with a mandatory quarantine upon entering Phuket.

The vice-governor explained that the rapid antigen test will continue through May 14, and then starting May 15, anyone who arrives without a vaccine or a negative Covid-19 test within 72 hours of arriving in Phuket will be required to quarantine for 14 days. They set a goal of zero new infections by the end of the next two weeks. And he stated they are committed to doing whatever it takes as “Phuket cannot continue with this risk”.

Speaking to The Phuket News… β€œWe want to send a sign to the country that we are cleaning up our province. The 3 vice governors [in Phuket] have been ordered to take care of each district by cooperating with local administration officers as well as community leaders to do proactive screening,”

After announcing the quarantine plan for Phuket, the vice governor spoke confidently that in the near future the island will have enough jabs to vaccinate every person on the island. Religious leaders from any faith are currently being vaccinated because of their general proximity to people during religious ceremonies and practices.

Vice Governor Piyapong pled with people with the people of Phuket who were on the fence about Covid-19 vaccinations, anti-vaxxers, or those otherwise resisting getting the jabs needed to reach herd immunity.

“If you are still deciding whether or not to get vaccinated, please come to get vaccinated”

SOURCE: The Phuket News

 

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Phuket

Thailand News Today | Pfizer vaccines on the way, Phuket’s July re-opening | May 7

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Disease Control Department back-peddled saying that that foreigners living in Thailand WILL also be vaccinated, governor of Chiang Mai is calling for the ban on dining in at restaurants in the northern city to be lifted and for eateries to be allowed to serve food on-site until 9pm, Tourism and Sports Minister insists the southern island of Phuket must record zero Covid-19 cases if a planned July re-opening is to go ahead, and 150 million baht worth of methamphetamine pills were impounded in Nakhon Phanom yesterday

 

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Phuket

We’re looking for a Video Editor/Production Assistant in Phuket

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The Thaiger is seeking a full time video editor and production assistant for a new project based in Phuket. The role is open to a Thai national but with great English skills as well. You will need to be able to work to deadlines with a crazy bunch of stressed out news hosts, guests and the rest of The Thaiger team.

You’ll also need a general knowledge of the Thai news cycle as the content will be largely centred around daily news and current affairs. Knowledge of social media, and especially YouTube, will be an advantage.

Prior work in the TV or video production industry would be a requirement; we couldn’t care less about your educational qualifications. The role would be Monday to Friday.

The work hours would be earlier in the day, probably starting around 7am. There may be some occasional travel to Bangkok involved as well. Salary would be between 30-40,000 baht per month, depending on experience with opportunities for bonuses. The initial contract would be for 3 months, renewable.

If you are interested, or know someone who could fit the job, send an email to THAIGER EDITOR at info@thethaiger.com

 

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