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Catching illegal guides is tricky: ‘They disguise themselves like tourists’

PHUKET: Phuket Vice Governor Thanyawat Chanpinit has pointed out that catching illegal guides leading tours around the island was more difficult than it seems as they tend “dress like tourists”, he told a meeting yesterday (Nov 6).

By The Phuket News

Wednesday 7 November 2018, 04:25PM

Tourists wait at Chalong Pier. Catching illegal tour guides is difficult because they disguise themselves like tourists, Phuket Vice Governor Thanyawat Chanpinit said yesterday (Nov 6). Photo: The Phuket News / file

Tourists wait at Chalong Pier. Catching illegal tour guides is difficult because they disguise themselves like tourists, Phuket Vice Governor Thanyawat Chanpinit said yesterday (Nov 6). Photo: The Phuket News / file

The meeting was called after a formal complaint was filed by some 50 members of the Andaman Tour Guides Association (ATGA) at Phuket Provincial Hall last Monday (Nov 5), calling for the government to take steps to counter the growing incidence of illegal tour guides operating in Phuket and the surrounding region. (See story here.)

Present at the meeting yesterday were officials from the Tourism and Sports Phuket office, military officers, Tourist Police officers, officers from Tourism Authority of Thailand Phuket office, representative of tourism businesses as well as local officials from relevant departments.

Vice Governor Thanyawat assured, “The checking process of illegal tour guides is still proceeding strictly. Police are continuously checking that guides are formally registered.”

However, Vice Governor Thanyawat also pointed out, “The illegal tour guides avoid arrest by disguising themselves like tourists.”

“So Phuket Police have ordered for a Special Task Force on the Suppression of Aliens to check for illegal tour guides,” he added.

V/Gov Thanyawat also noted at the meeting, “Next I will order the officials with the legal authority to strictly enforce the law regarding tour guides, and ask them to check genuine tour guides for any information they might know about illegal tour guides.”

Regarding the ATGA members’ grievance about having to undergo training by the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP) before being allowed to enter DNP-protected areas, V/Gov Thanyawat noted, “There is no need to do this anymore, as registered guides already have to pass the same training in order to become qualified tour guides.”

Regarding the ATGA members’ final grievance about non-guides picking up tourists at the airport, V/Gov Thanyawat said, “There are limitations for tour guides and even taxi drivers holding signs to pick up tourists. It is complicated.

“This is due to the rules set by the airport (Airports of Thailand). We will ask Phuket International Airport to improve the process,” he said.

V/Gov Thanyawat concluded, “Relevant departments in Phuket have to introduce these solutions to relieve the problems that legally registered tour guides are facing – and to arrest illegal tour guides quickly.”



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CaptainJack69 | 08 November 2018 - 12:22:56

Yeah, they're difficult to spot with their megaphones umbrellas and flags on poles. If you can't spot a tour guide then they're not doing their job, so what's the problem.

Shwe | 08 November 2018 - 11:54:52

Maybe they expect illegal tour guides to wear red jackets with signs stating they are illegal, but then again even if they did that I doubt the idiots in charge would find them, just look at the number of helmetless motorcyclists, very difficult to spot them too.

Kurt | 08 November 2018 - 09:57:06

Complaints of official tour guides only happen during periods of few tourists.( less work). When enough tourists everybody happy with the illegal guides. The official guides ( can not serve the overload), the officials ( brown envelopes), tourist organisations ( illegal guides are cheaper), the tourists ( not see difference), and of course the illegal guides themselves.

Asterix | 08 November 2018 - 08:52:09

Catching illegal guides is not rocket science as all tours must provide the full list of passengers and crews.
The same tourists going several times with the same tour are automatically illegal guides as even the most stupid tourists will not go two times on the same tour but will go to all different tours as possible during their stay in Phuket.

Asterix | 08 November 2018 - 08:51:31

Illegal guides need to renew visa at regular space and all illegal guides have their passports full of immigration stamps.

Rorri_2 | 08 November 2018 - 06:02:34

So, even if dressed like tourists, the Thai authorities cannot tell who is in charge of a group.... total losers, or more likely full of crap.

Kurt | 07 November 2018 - 17:15:45

Of course catching illegal guides is tricky. Illegal guides shuffle brown envelopes to officials. Officials just fantasy about the dressing of illegal guides. They not want cut off their 2nd 'salary line'. Just bla bla difficult, and everybody happy. Bamboo bows with the wind, not break, yes?Next week this topic will be forgotten. Every body happy again, as many years in the past and futur...

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