PHUKET: Suthara Huangsuwan, the boss of the Phuket International Airport, was abruptly moved to a new post in Chiang Mai yesterday. An airport official denied that his transfer was the result of his inability to solve the problem of “black” taxis at the Phuket airport, which came to a head on December 16 when a licensed taxi driver was beaten to death during a fight with an unlicensed driver. The killing resulted in a protest by the licensed drivers, which dispersed after their representatives met with Phuket Governor Pongpayome Vasaputi. One of the demands the representatives made to the Governor was that K. Suthara be removed. The Governor told them that he would pass their demand on to the Airports Authority of Thailand (AAT). Pracha Janpathrak, who was named acting director of the AAT in Phuket until K. Suthara’s replacement arrives, told the Gazette that K. Suthara had been moved to Chiang Mai Airport on the instructions of the Governor of the AAT in Bangkok. “He was not removed because of the problem of the ‘mob’. This was simply the time for him to be reassigned. He was not the only one moved; about 15 other people from other provinces were also shifted,” K. Pracha explained. Lt Cdr Boonchart Prompoon, the director of the AAT’s cargo division in Bangkok, has been named as K. Suthara’s replacement. He will arrive on January 3. K.Suthara worked at Phuket International Airport for 10 years, the last three of them as director.
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