Another meeting with French consul on French motorbikers in Phuket

Photo by The Phuket Express.

There’s been yet another meeting with the French Consul in Phuket addressing the issue of dangerous motorbike driving by French nationals on the island. This is after the former French Consul in Phuket met with Patong Police over the issue just last month.

The Honorary Consul of France in Phuket, Alain Faudot, along with the Consul at the French Embassy in Thailand, Cristophe Hemmings, attended a meeting with several Phuket officials yesterday. These officials included Phuket Vice Governor Anupap, tourist police, and the chief of the Phuket Land Transport Office (PLTO), The Phuket News reported.

Hemmings thanked Anupap for the work done to take care of French nationals in Phuket, according to a report of the meeting. Hemmings said…

“If French tourists who travel in Phuket do not comply with the laws of Phuket, I ask Phuket [officials] to take decisive steps, including enforcing the deportation rule for tourists who do not comply with Phuket’s regulations… France strongly supports the highest enforcement of the law for non-compliance tourists, especially regarding the traffic rules in Phuket.”

Anupap said that Phuket was pleased to welcome tourists of all nationalities, which included reducing any harmful effects on tourists as well. He thanked the French envoys for their understanding of the action taken by government officials.

This news comes after Anupap last month reported over 500 motorbike accidents in Phuket involving foreign tourists. Anupap said that 80% of foreign tourists who rented motorbikes did not have driving licenses, and some were driving at high speeds while unfamiliar with the routes. Anuphap added that the rental businesses were also contributing to the issue by renting motorbikes to tourists without proper documentation.

Last week, police tracked down and fined a Frenchman for annoying residents by revving his loud rented motorbike on Bangla Road in Patong.

On the night of Wednesday, February 8, cops busted a large group of French motorbike racers in Patong. Footage of the racers went viral on local social media platforms, causing outrage among residents. The residents complained that the racers were disturbing them when they were trying to relax, and potentially posing a threat to the safety of the people. Most of the riders were not wearing the required protective motorcycle helmets as per Thai law, the residents added.

The incident became so highly publicised that on February 10, the former French Consul met with Patong Police and Phuket Tourist Police to address the issue. During the meeting, the Head of the French Consulate received a letter of cooperation from the Patong Police, which requested the consulate to inform French tourists visiting Phuket and Thailand about the country’s traffic laws and the requirement for valid driving licenses.

Will French officials in Thailand, and Phuket officials, manage to get a handle on the problem?

Phuket NewsThailand News

Tara Abhasakun

A Thai-American dual citizen, Tara has reported news and spoken on a number of human rights and cultural news issues in Thailand. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in history from The College of Wooster. She interned at Southeast Asia Globe, and has written for a number of outlets. Tara reports on a range of Thailand news issues.

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