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Use licensed cabs, airport warns after murders

Legacy Phuket Gazette



Use licensed cabs, airport warns after murders | Thaiger

BANGKOK, June 9 (AFP) – Bangkok airport authorities Wednesday warned travellers not to use unlicensed taxis following the apparent serial murders of six foreign tourists abducted from the terminal. “We are trying hard to make them understand to use licensed taxis or (regulated) limousines at the airport to avoid any trouble,” said Bangkok international airport director Wing Commander Uthai Thaisanthad. Police are holding an Egyptian in connection with the murders. The victims are believed to have been lured into unmarked taxis by three gang members, over a period of ten months, just after arriving at the airport. Their bodies were discovered hours later with deep stab wounds. Uthai had repeatedly warned about the dangers of unlicensed cabs and said the airport had funded production of a tape last June for airlines serving Bangkok, warning passengers to take licensed transportation. “We have spent five million baht (135,000 dollars) to prepare tapes to guide passengers through immigration, customs, and transportation at the airport,” he said. Airport authorities secured a budget before the murders to expand police operations at the airport, he added. “A combined squad of air force, police and tourist police patrol the airport premises around the clock.” Uthai said the airport regularly invited diplomats from various embassies and tour operators to the airport for briefings which focused especially on unlicensed taxis. Closed circuit surveillance cameras were also operational in “dangerous areas” of the terminals and plain clothes security officers approached loiterers, he said. Egyptian suspect Chanam Said Muhamad, 35, was remanded in custody for 12 days on Saturday in connection with the murders of two Frenchmen, an Austrian, a German, an Iranian and a citizen of the United Arab Emirates. Muhamad is suspected of working in a gang with another Egyptian and a Saudi Arabian but denies any involvement. Police have declined to comment since the news of the murders broke at the weekend. The French embassy has already warned its citizens not to take unlicensed taxis from the airport. A British embassy official said Monday that the Foreign Office in London planned to amend its travel advisory for Thailand.


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