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Phuket Opinion: The price of going public

Phuket Opinion: The price of going public

PHUKET: On Monday (Nov 20) The Phuket News revealed that at long last, business operators in Phuket had gone public to confirm that they have to pay bribes to local police and officials from other agencies to keep their businesses operating.

patongpolicecorruptiontourismcrime
By The Phuket News

Sunday 26 November 2017, 11:37AM


Bangla Rd in Patong is about as 'in your face' as it can get when it comes to late-night partying, but not when it comes to exposing just how much money changes hands to allow bars and nightclubs to stay open late. Photo: The Phuket News / file

Bangla Rd in Patong is about as 'in your face' as it can get when it comes to late-night partying, but not when it comes to exposing just how much money changes hands to allow bars and nightclubs to stay open late. Photo: The Phuket News / file

Sadly, and unexpectedly, this was met with a barrage from our regular commentators along the lines of “how is this news?” We are not quite sure what these commentators believe passes as important local news, but as they go, this one is pretty big.

These commentators seemed to believe this is not news as they personally have known this bribery has been common practice for years. Now, one can only assume that by making these comments, that they have in their possession concrete evidence, that for several years as they claim, they have been paying these regular bribes to police.

Who are we to question whether they have or not, but if they have, then the question has to be asked why they have never come forward to either the media or the authorities with their evidence to expose this allegedly endemic corruption.

Allow us to explain how news works in as simple terms as possible. With evidence we can report, with no evidence we cannot. It’s as simple as that.

It’s fair to say that for a long time, The Phuket News had an “inkling” that bribes were being paid to police by entertainment business, for example, to stay open late. However, without evidence, or someone coming forward to The Phuket News, we cannot report hearsay. If we did it is certain that we would not be reporting for you today. We would be destitute from a barrage of defamation cases.

One has to consider why, up until now, no business operators have gone public with their evidence to back up their claims of bribery and racketeering. As Weerawit Kreuasombat has now pointed out, the evidence has been handed to the Royal Thai Police for years – and so far for the officials involved that has not been a problem. (See story here.)

The problem is not reporting it to the police, it is going public with evidence. The operators who went public last Sunday not surprisingly were “intimidated” by officials. In reality, considering the amount of money involved, the most serious consequence is that they could end up dead.

Now, if those who have had the opportunity to expose their personal experiences of corruption think that people coming out on the public record to do exactly that is not “news”, then please, tell us what is.

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MartinK | 27 November 2017 - 10:32:57

Oh come on.  Me thinks the woman doth protest too much.  You really had no idea that there were illicit payments being made in Patong?  Seriously?  That's the path you are taking? The "Tiger Fire" didn't tip you off? The fact that raids on illegal businesses failed to find their mark? That you could ask any foreign owner in Patong and get a "yes of course"? Sorry, like ...

Timothy | 27 November 2017 - 07:32:33

There have been several articles written in the past about this subject. Some have even listed each and every department that receives the cash. I guess those stories were written by different publications. There were people speaking out with evidence...Maybe that's why some commentators seem to have prior knowledge of this...

Nasa12 | 27 November 2017 - 07:18:44

Yes a BIG  thank`s to all workers in Phuket News.

Rorri_2 | 27 November 2017 - 06:43:16

Phuket News, shame on you, attacking those who comment, it is encumbent on news media, including Phuket News, to investigate any reports of corruption, I hope you understand the meaning of investigate, this story would have you and your reporters made a laughing stock in all western, democratic, countries.
The public relies on honest investgative reporting, you have failed the thai public.

bojon | 26 November 2017 - 21:39:57

Phuket News, you are very right. I must tell I appreciate Phuket News very much. Without it I would not know anything about what is going on. I don't have to read everything, just knowing it happened.
Thank you very much.

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