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Army opens fire with fines on Patong tuk-tuk, taxi drivers

PHUKET: Soldiers from the Royal Thai Army began their campaign against tuk-tuk, taxi and van drivers occupying public parking spaces in Patong in earnest this week with more than 76 drivers fined since Monday (Aug 21).

patong, tourism, transport, crime, military, police,


Tanyaluk Sakoot

Friday 25 August 2017, 06:43PM


“The warning period is over,” Col Santi Sakuntanark, Commander of the 25th Infantry Regiment and the highest-ranking army officer stationed in Phuket, told The Phuket News today (August 25).

Soldiers, along with Navy personnel, police as well as officials from Patong Municipality and the Phuket Land Transport Office (PLTO), launched the campaign quietly and politely on Aug 3, with nothing more than warnings. (See story here.)

However, that changed on Monday.

“On Monday, we found 22 vehicles parked in the wrong parking spaces. Since then we have found 18 vehicles parked in parking spaces reserved for the public each day,” Col Santi said today.

All of the drivers caught were fined B1,000 baht each, for each infraction, he confirmed.

“The warning period is over, no more requests. If they want to be fined at least B1,000 each time, let them be fined. Be neat and tidy, we are managing this problem,” Col Santi said.

Col Santi pointed out that three more taxi and tuk-tuk ranks, or “stands” as they are called in Thailand, were added to the original 21 allowed on Aug 3, bringing the total number of taxi, van and tuk-tuk ranks in Patong to 24.

“We kept warning them since the campaign began, now that time is over. Any drivers who continue to ignore us will be nominated to have their commercial driver’s license revoked (by the PLTO),” he warned.

Speaking to The Phuket News yesterday, Patong Police Chief Col Tassanai Orarigadech repeated that the campaign to reclaim parking spaces for the public was a multi-agency effort, not just that of the Patong Police.

“Every arrest is considered fully before deciding to charge,” Col Tassanai added.

“We collect evidence and then officers consider each case before issuing any fines. Many drivers have complained about this to police. If they have ignored repeated warnings, they will be fined,” he explained.

One van driver who was fined on Tuesday (Aug 22) after being caught parked in a public parking space told The Phuket News, “I just was going to buy some food and water, but when I came back the front wheel of my van was chained and locked. It is really not fair.

“Police did not explain what they were doing, they didn’t even ask what I was doing. Then I had to pay B1,000 fine because I went to buy food. My friends were fined too,” said the driver, who asked not to be named.

Asked what he will do next, the driver said, “I have no excuse for breaking the rules, but it is just not fair for us and others who work in the transport industry, but there is nothing more I can go than put up with it.”

 

 

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Nasa12 | 28 August 2017 - 10:57:20

Fine them whit  B10,000 baht each every time they parking wrong, then you se what happen.

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Discover Thainess | 27 August 2017 - 23:21:04

Having driven through Patong tonight I can assure you all that nothing has changed. Plenty of yellow lines painted for the new taxi stands, but taxis and tuktuks parked the entire length of both Ratuthid 200 and the beach roads. I think the army needs to be out enforcing the law 24 hours a day. Just an occasional whiz around doesn't appear to be working. Come on Army, if you really want to do this, let's do it properly please.

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SueOriginal | 27 August 2017 - 14:27:47

The mistake is on Patong city authorities side, who, in order to indulge developers, did not stipulate within Patong planning/zoning rules appropriate requirements that all new building have to provide a (public) parking, which capacity usually is determined in relation to the size and function of that building. In the absence of such regulation yes, no parking slots were built (yes, that would reduce developers' margins, sometimes significantly), so all stakeholders who have interest in using parking slots are left in the cold now, both day visitors to Patong, and professional taxi operators. Parking slots are not donated by charity, that buys land for that purposes, in most cases parking spaces need to by carved out of every private property that is developed by the means of administrative coercion (here planning and zoning rules). Moreover, Patong authorities haven't learn a lesson and no modification of planning and zoning rules took place, so all this bad city planning continues, so no reason to moan and complain then if elected representatives are not tasked by this by voters or didn't get such idea themselves, based on knowledge and professional competence.

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malczx7r | 27 August 2017 - 12:19:28

Yeah but that would take logical thinking, that'll never happen!

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Michael K | 27 August 2017 - 10:08:45

Tuk-Tuk drivers talk about fair treatment.??.. Well.. If they started out with FAIR prizing we would sort out several problems. Farangs would be able to use the transportation without the feeling of getting robbed at broad daylight. They would on the other hand be so busy transporting us around, leaving Tuk-Tuk drivers with no time to occupy public parking spots.. And an increased income i suspect as well.. :-)  

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malczx7r | 26 August 2017 - 13:41:52

Yep, that famous cultural attitude, me, me, me, i don't care about you as long as I get what I want!
Great work, keep it up.
Notice how it's took the army to enforce this?  
I've no excuse for breaking the rules, it's not fair! haha, Then don't break the rules, then again, rules don't apply to the locals, red lights, nope, speeding, nope, driving on the phone, don't care, now someone is enforcing the rules, they are like a child who has tasted punishment for the first time, pick up your dummy and follow the rules! great news!

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Sir Burr | 26 August 2017 - 06:16:24

"but it is just not fair for us and others who work in the transport industry".

The thought that it's not "fair" to the general public to have no parking spaces doesn't even occur to him. Me! Me! Me! Just sums up their attitude.

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Foot | 25 August 2017 - 23:21:34

Holy ****!  Something is actually being done!  Good for them!

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Discover Thainess | 25 August 2017 - 20:13:44

So the anonymous driver and all his friends all went for food together and all got fined? Hmmmm

Well done col Santi this is great progress. Please don't give up. Is there a phone number or line account for people to report illegally taxi stands? Something like they have in Bkk to report motorbikes driving on the pavement. 

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Kurt | 25 August 2017 - 20:13:42

Great initiative!  Time for tuk tuk drivers to experience they are thai citizens and have to obey thai laws.
No funny excuses. Remember, this are the drivers who scratch your car paint, or deflate your tire when they not like you to park at for you ment parking space.
Crooks, crying crocodile tiers.

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