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Silent Nights: Phuket Police ordered to tackle noisy motorbikes

PHUKET: Police in Kathu as well as the Phuket Provincial Police are cracking down on illegal, excessively loud motorbikes disrupting the peace after a 90-name petition was filed to the Governor of Phuket from a neighbourhood in Kathu.

police, transport, crime,

Shela Riva

Sunday 10 September 2017, 09:00AM

The action follows a request by the Phuket Damrongtham Centre (Ombudsman’s Office) for Provincial Police to investigate the issue, resulting in an order from the Provincial Office to tackle the problem of overly loud motorbikes roaring through residential areas.

Local residents fed up with noisy motorbikes in their area in Kathu saw 90 names on the petition in less than three hours, the filer of the complaint, who asked not to be named, told The Phuket News.

In response, Kathu Police Deputy Chief Lt Col Sarawut Chupathit said on Wednesday (Sept 6), “Last week we began patrolling the area where the complaint was raised, around the Kathu market.

“We are sending police to patrol the area every night, all night. We have been able to catch and fine some of them [offenders],” he said.

“We also conduct body searches for any suspicious items. A few of them have been found carrying illegal drugs, but that is not too common. A lot of them are teenagers,” he added.

Col Sarawut noted that issuing fines for excessive noise was not as straightforward as people might believe.

“Police do not have any sound-measuring equipment, so we do not fine them based on how ‘loud’ they [exhaust pipes] are – but we are able to fine them [the riders] for other offences, such as illegal customisation of a vehicle, racing or not having a licence,” he said.

Phuket Provincial Traffic Police Deputy Superintendent Lt Col Teerawat Laemsuwan, who was also notified of the petition, explained that police continue to do their best to catch excessively loud vehicles.

“We have always been checking for illegal vehicles, and we are continuing to,” he said this week.

“Traffic officers are on duty officially until about 10pm, however they often stay [out] until about midnight. We are far more likely to catch these offenders when people report them to us,” he added.

“So if you are suspicious that people have illegally customised vehicles that are causing annoyance to others, or other illegal behaviour, please report it to police. If it is after midnight, call the 191 hotline,” he said.

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Col Teerawat explained that by law certain modifications of vehicles, including of the engine, changing the colour of the vehicle, or modifying or replacing the exhaust, must be reported to and permitted by the Phuket Land and Transport Office (PLTO).

“There are other kinds of modifications that do not need to request a permit, such as accessories for convenience including bicycle racks, roll-bars, bumpers, ladders for high vehicles and so on. However, modifications which may affect others or change the ability to identify the vehicle, such as altering the exhaust, the engine or the colour must be reported,” he said.

“If offenders are found with modifications not approved by the PLTO, and hence not entered in the green registration book, we will seize the vehicle and keep it at the police station,” Col Teerawat warned.

“The offender must be picked up by somebody while we withhold their vehicle. The offender must come to properly revert the illegally modified part to its original state here at the station, and it must be approved by an officer, and pay a fine of not more than B1,000,” he said.

“Right now, we have about 50 motorcycles in our possession that have been seized,” he added.

In Chalong, cases like these are not as common as in other districts, Chalong Traffic Police Chief Lt Col Suchat Singha assured.

“We do not have that many cases of groups or individuals driving excessively loud vehicles, but we do have more in Nai Harn on off-days and during the night,” he said.

“However, from what I know the area with the highest number of these cases is Saphan Hin,” he said.

“Most commonly they are teenagers driving modified motorbikes. Occasionally, we do find they are in possession of other illegal items. If they do, it is most commonly kratom.

“However, occasionally we find offenders also in possession of ya bah [methamphetamine],” he noted.



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Kurt | 11 September 2017 - 13:50:19

A new Police Chief in town! The Ombudsman's Office!

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fedepar | 11 September 2017 - 09:17:45

Is it necessary to make a petition through the Ombudsman in order to inform the police that in Phuket we have this problem ?

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Sam hayman | 10 September 2017 - 20:19:36

How about the techno music coming from huge sound systems installed in cars?

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Fritz Pinguin | 10 September 2017 - 18:56:23

I invite the police to spend a night in Nanai Road, Patong. Unless it is raining they will catch about 30 to 50 bikes in one night. 

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MJJA | 10 September 2017 - 16:00:54

GOOD NEWS - Thank you!

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CaptainJack69 | 10 September 2017 - 12:42:49

"Police do not have any sound-measuring equipment". Yeah they do. They all have smart phones, sound measuring apps are not expensive (free if you put up with the adverts). They might not provide 100% accuracy but when has that ever stopped they BIB's from issuing a fine?

Also real sound measuring devices are not that expensive. They would only need to collect 2 or 3 fines to pay f...

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csabo | 10 September 2017 - 10:28:26

I was INSIDE an office with doors closed on Chaofah East the other day and had to pause the conversation several times because it was impossible to hear each other over the screaming motorbikes.  Same goes for trying to eat at any restaurant any where near a road.  Impound these bikes now!

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Rich 44 | 10 September 2017 - 10:17:44

I once owned a Honda 750. Very powerful and very quiet.
I was struck by how much noise came from the machines filling Thailand's roads. An enormous roar from so many machines seriously hurts the quality of life and makes for a stressful day to day. When walking down the road , all it took was ONE noise maker to totally disrupt the peace for as long as it traveled. Hurting everyone's ears....

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Discover Thainess | 10 September 2017 - 10:12:29

Police should listen out in Patong as well, constant stream of illegal bikes 24x7 tearing around.

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malczx7r | 10 September 2017 - 10:11:25

We don't have a noise meter.  Well if you went out and fined everyone for not wearing a helmet, all those driving crazy, collect the fines from the automatic cameras (which you switched off) then you could afford probably one for every employee, you could probably employ another 200 officers!  But hey, what do we know.

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