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Phuket jet-ski operators face insurance scheme

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Phuket jet-ski operators face insurance scheme | The Thaiger

KATHU, PHUKET: Phuket’s jet-ski operators will soon have to insure their craft  for damage, the Phuket governor told a crowd of industry representatives at a crisis meeting at Patong Municipality offices yesterday.

The measure is aimed at ending the island’s infamous ‘jet-ski scam’, in which unsuspecting tourists are made to pay thousands of baht for spurious repairs to the vehicles after they are returned.

The meeting followed the arrest earlier that day of a jet-ski operator for threatening a group of British Royal Navy Marines with a gun during a dispute over ‘damage’ to one of the vehicles. The Marines were on shore leave in Patong.

Footage of Winai ‘JJ’ Naiman, 28, brandishing the BB gun was broadcast on British TV on Monday night as part of a show entitled ‘Big Trouble in Tourist Thailand’.

The show has since been uploaded to youtube.com and has provoked widespread debate among Phuket residents on the Phuket Gazette/Thai Visa forum.

The incident captured on camera took place at the end of June this year, while the HMS Bulwark was docked in Phuket.

After a 21-year-old marine is accused of damaging a jet-ski, a heated argument breaks out between a group of marines and Thai jet-ski operators.

Mr Winai demands 44,000 baht for damage which the young marine claims he was not responsible for.

At one point Mr Winai grabs an air rifle and brandishes it at the marines, who appear visibly frightened and apologize profusely.

Tim, a Royal Navy Marine Police officer, enters the argument, demanding, “How come every time one of my guys hires your jet-skis there’s something wrong with it? He didn’t hit anything, nothing has happened.”

After examining the damage, Tim adds, “That’s old damage, that’s not new damage; I can tell by the staining, I know fiber glass.”

Mr Winai is unmoved.

“I don’t worry if you are their boss or you are a captain. This is my business; you’re not my Dad,” he tells Tim in a statement of a type not unusual for jet-ski operators in Patong.

The two become increasingly hostile as Tim offers to pay first 10,000, then 30,000 baht.

Tim then calls Mr Winai a crook and tells the marines to get back on the minibus.

On Mr Winai’s instructions, his workers surround the marines to prevent them from boarding the minibus.

The marines are only allowed to leave after Tim offers to pay Mr Winai 35,000 baht.

Phuket Governor Wichai Phraisa-ngop and Kathu Police Superintendent Grissak Songmoonnark announced Mr Winai’s arrest at Kathu Police Station yesterday morning.

Mr Winai faces weapons possession and extortion charges.

In the afternoon, Gov Wichai moved on to Patong Municipality office where many of the island’s jet-ski operators had assembled for a meeting aimed at ending incidents like the one depicted in the British documentary.

The governor opened the meeting on a tough note.

“In my hand right now are written complaints from Japanese, Chinese, Australian and even Thai tourists, claiming that jet-ski operators in Phuket have cheated them,” he said.

He told the operators they would have to get insurance for their vehicles as it was the best way to put an end to any disputes.

However, some of the operators in attendance said their businesses would not be economic if they had to get insurance.

Tewan “Jom” Promyoung said, “We only have four months to make money on jet-skis during high season, which doesn’t amount to much. If we have to pay 40-50,000 baht a year for insurance, where is our profit then?”

There were additional costs when damage was done to the vehicles, he added.

“How can we be sure the insurance agents will come to the scene as fast as possible? If they’re not quick, we’ll lose money doing the maintenance ourselves,” he said.

Suwimon Saelim, director of the Phuket Provincial Insurance Office, said, “We have never had insurance for jet-skis in Phuket before. We’ll need to have more discussion about this, and we’ll need to find a company willing to insure jet-skis.”

A meeting to hammer out details of such an insurance scheme would take place on September 18 she said.

Look for an extended report on Phuket’s jet-skis in next week’s Phuket Gazette, available on the newsstands from September 19.

— Kitima Pornmongkhonwat & James Goyder

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Hua Hin

Southern Thailand braces for rough weather and rain

May Taylor

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Southern Thailand braces for rough weather and rain | The Thaiger

The Thailand Meteorological Department issued a weather warning for southern Thailand with torrential rain forecast to hit the region throughout the weekend. The heavy monsoon over the Gulf of Thailand and south of the country is being blamed for the rough weather, with the TMD predicting flash flooding in many areas.

(Phuket, Hat Yai and Hua Hin’s forecast below)

“Waves are expected to reach 2 metres in height in the lower Gulf of Thailand and possibly higher at the height of the storm. Ships are advised to proceed with caution.”

For the north and northeast of Thailand, the TMD forecasts strong winds and cooler mornings as the arrival of the “winter” season, coupled with a moderate high-pressure system, causes temperatures to dip.

Hua Hin’s five day forecast

Southern Thailand braces for rough weather and rain | News by The Thaiger

Phuket’s five day forecast

Southern Thailand braces for rough weather and rain | News by The Thaiger

Hat Yai’s five day forecast

Southern Thailand braces for rough weather and rain | News by The Thaiger

SOURCE: The Nation | weather.com

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Crime

Now you see him, now you don’t… Patong Police hunt foreigner over $30k theft

Greeley Pulitzer

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Now you see him, now you don’t… Patong Police hunt foreigner over $30k theft | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Patong Police

Patong Police have yet to develop any tangible leads tracking down a foreigner who made off with US$30,000 in cash from a currency exchange booth in Kalim, north of Patong in Phuket, last Tuesday.

The man is about 168 centimetres tall with grey hair and around 60 years old, Patong police told The Phuket News.

“We have no clue what nationality he is.”

He was last seen at the currency exchange booth wearing a purple polo shirt, blue jeans and black cap. Police have checked hotels in the area, police stations across the island and Phuket Immigration, but have yet to join the dots and come up with firm leads.

“Investigators have checked CCTV in the area and collected what evidence we have but we still do not know the man’s name or where he was staying.”

The man had visited the booth several times before Tuesday, when he disappeared with the $30,000 in US banknotes, according to police.

“It was always small amounts”, he added, noting that the amounts didn’t warrant staff at the exchange booth to check the man’s passport before making the exchange.

The man arrived at the booth again at about 1pm on Tuesday, saying that he had 900,000 baht cash to exchange.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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Crime

Mystery surrounds security guard found dead in his Phuket room

The Thaiger

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Mystery surrounds security guard found dead in his Phuket room | The Thaiger

PHOTOS: Phuket Hot News

The security guard of a hotel in Nai Yang, northern Phuket, 52 year old Yingyot Butsabong, from Maha Sarakham province, was found dead yesterday (October 16) in his room. Police remain mystified how the man came to grief.

A woman named Supattra received a call from the hotel he worked at and was informed that he didn’t show up at work yesterday, so she went to his apartment to check on him.

She saw that his room was locked from the inside, so used the key she had in her possession to open the room and found Yingyot laying on the floor, face down. She thought he was just sleeping so she tried to wake him up but once she flipped him, she found that he already passed away.

She immediately called Saku police, and once on the scene, police found that there was some blood on the floor. The man had a 2 centimetre wound on his left eyebrow which was deep into his skull. There was also a wound on his chin about 1 centimetre long and about a centimetre deep. His left eye had a bruise which looked like he was attacked by a hard object.

Police report that he had been dead for around four hours in the room.

The room was not ransacked and there was no sign of fighting or theft. His body has been sent to Thalang Hospital for a detailed autopsy and to look into the cause of death.

SOURCE: Phuket Hot News

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