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Phuket Opinion: Time to send a message

PHUKET: The recent arrest of a Patong tuk-tuk driver who threatened his passengers with a sword has served once again to reinforce the perception of tuk-tuk drivers as thugs and rip-off merchants.

patong, tourism, transport, crime, violence,


The Phuket News

Sunday 10 September 2017, 09:00AM


Patong tuk-tuk and taxi drivers have long dominated Phuket's key tourism beach resort town. Photo: The Phuket News /file
Patong tuk-tuk and taxi drivers have long dominated Phuket's key tourism beach resort town. Photo: The Phuket News /file

Patong Police Chief Col Tassanai Orarigadech’s condemnation of the driver’s behaviour as “unacceptable” seemed appropriate enough, but so far the punishment meted out does not square with Col Tassanai’s strong words.

The driver, Pannawich Nakamin, 35, was fined B500 for carrying a weapon in a public place and will face a criminal charge of using a weapon to threaten a person for benefit at Phuket Provincial Court.

“The tuk-tuk driver’s behaviour was unacceptable, and it damaged Phuket’s image among tourists. Tuk-tuk drivers must not do this to tourists,” said Col Tassanai, and The Phuket News agrees with this statement wholeheartedly.

We urge Col Tassanai to press any and all other possible charges against Pannawich, including section 267 of the Thai Criminal Code on falsifying evidence – due to the fact that the driver did not hand over the actual weapon used in the altercation.

“Whoever causes an official in the execution of their duty to make any false entry in the public or official document for the aims to be used as evidence, shall be imprisoned not more of three years or fined not more of six thousand baht, or both,” states section 267 Thai Criminal Code.

C and C Marine

Police should also strongly recommend that the court impose a custodial sentence on Pannawich if he is found guilty, in order to send a strong message to other tuk-tuk and taxi drivers that thuggish behaviour like this will not be tolerated.

The initial B500 fine issued by the police is almost comical, considering that the violence broke out due to an argument over the B400 fee Pannawich was demanding of his passengers for taking them from McDonald’s on Thaweewong Rd to Soi Kebsup – a distance of about 1.5 kilometres.

Clearly, this paltry fine will have no deterrent effect on drivers who considering resorting to violence and threats during disagreements with passengers. An example needs to be made.

Given the recent army crackdown on tuk-tuks usurping public car parking spaces in Patong, now is the perfect time to further reinforce the message that tuk-tuk drivers are not above the law and will be held accountable when they break it.

 

 

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malczx7r | 11 September 2017 - 16:52:18

Yes strong words, how the tuk tuk mafia must be shaking in their boots at such strong action!

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joel | 11 September 2017 - 15:43:20

The fact that the  tuk-tuk driver  received 500baht fine just encourages other tuk-tuk drivers to behave badly. On  Sept. 6th during the day I was on Bangla rd. a tuk-tuk driver must have been driving 80km a hour, I motioned him to slow down he veered toward me to try to hit me. I went to the policeman on Bangla/ #2 road. gave him licence plate #. He did nothing.  Licence # is 
30-5052. So much for tuk-tuk drivers following the law.. So much for protection by the police

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CaptainJack69 | 10 September 2017 - 23:26:24

Glad to see the offender (alleged? 555) has now been named at least. Is there an non-blurred picture of this weasels face available yet?

Re Patong parking, it is a bit better recently, but they're all still there. Sometimes you can park and other times it's business as usual. That includes in front of the Honda garage where it's nose to tail tuk-tuk's every time I drive past ("near a bridge" or not).

It's a change for the better, but as soon as the authorities stop enforcing it they will all be right back in their usual spots.  As this article so correctly points out these guys think they are above the law and are a blight on our reputation. Redressing this situation will require a concerted, consistent and sustained effort by both the local police and the army.

Unfortunately this and other recent incidents involving taxi drivers (the driver who crashed into a parked car in Kamala and fled the scene only to be let off scott-free with both his anonymity and license in tact) continue to reinforce rather than remedy the taxi drivers' position that they can, in fact, do whatever they like.

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J Cunningham | 10 September 2017 - 16:41:09

Col Tassanai did his job. The Tuk Tuk driver was arrested. It is the Prosecutor's office that must assess additional charges and agree to press the charges Col Tassanai has recommended. The system is bigger than one man...as it should be. Give Col Tassanai time and he will clean up Patong. 

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MJJA | 10 September 2017 - 16:07:13

Thank you, Patong Police! Today I parked my car in Patong and NOT challenge by a Tuk Tuk driver to move. Thank you!

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Discover Thainess | 10 September 2017 - 14:22:03

Excellent article and I couldn't agree more, but we all know it's never going to happen, and we all know why. I commented on this previously, last week I was fined B1,000 for parking "near a bridge" outside the Honda motorcycle shop in Patong - a place with no restrictions on parking. Read a very interesting article on thailands "black economy" and the fact it's around 50% GDP, and without it thailand would collapse overnight. It's impossible to change it.

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