AoT, through a statement issued yesterday, also affirmed that passenger van tout was able to freely walk throughout the terminal illegally soliciting tourists, which in the current scandal saw the two tourists taking the van from the airport to Kata.
The incident became public only after the two tourists, both women, filed a complaint with the Karon Police.
The news then made international headlines after Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha promptly issued a statement calling for people to help curtail scams and rip-offs in Phuket to help preserve Thailand’s tourism image. (See story here.)
The statement issued by AoT reported that airport management had conducted an investigation with the Tourist Police into the “incident”.
The statement, posted yesterday (click here), did not name any offenders.
Officers confirmed through CCTV footage and confirmed that two people were involved in the case.
“One of them is not allowed to enter the Phuket International Airport service area. It is the same person who persuades passengers to use the van service,” the statement read.
AoT staff “brought in” the passenger van tout at 9pm on Wednesday (July 17) and levied a fine for entering a controlled area under Article 8 of Ministerial Regulation No. 14 (BE 2543) issued under the the Airports Authority of Thailand Act, B.E. 2522 (1979), the statement added.
The amount of the fine was not mentioned.
As for the van not being registered with one of the companies or co-operatives that are legally entitled to pick up passengers at the airport under the government concessions, AoT has forwarded the matter to the Karon Police for further action, the statement said.
AoT did not report which public transport company or co-operative the van used was registered with, if any.
AoT confirmed that the B3,000 charged was more than the fare allowed under airport policy, a moot point as the van was already being used to illegally pick up passengers at the airport.
AoT also gave its description of the incident, reporting that that the Australian tourists boarded the van, with license plate 30-0481, at 10pm on Tuesday (July 16) to travel to their accommodation in Tambon Karon.
When they arrived at the destination, the driver charged the fare of B3,000. Later, after the tourists knew that the fare they charged was more expensive than the set fare rate, they filed an official complaint to Karon Police Station, the report noted.
AoT assured that the company “has safety measures for all visitors”.
“For public transport, the airport has set standard prices which are shown at the terminal to prevent overcharging. The profiles of drivers and visitors’ destinations have been examined for safety,” the statement read.
“The airport also has measures for tour agency representatives who come to pick up their guests inside the airport. They have to deposit their ID cards and be handed a security card and write down their name for registration before going inside,” the statement added.
“From this overcharging case, AoT urges that the matter is dealt with quickly to prevent such incidents from happening in the future. If visitors see and have a problem about any airport services, please inform the airport officers,” the statement concluded.