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Phuket taxi drivers charged with attempted murder over Freedom Beach hit-and-run, alleged attempted shooting

Phuket taxi drivers charged with attempted murder over Freedom Beach hit-and-run, alleged attempted shooting

PHUKET: Father and son taxi drivers operating at the entrance to Freedom Beach, south of Patong, have been charged with attempted murder – and released on bail – after running down a competing taxi driver with car after they allegedly attempted to shoot the man dead. The gun apparently failed to fire.

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By The Phuket News

Sunday 12 January 2020, 07:20PM


A screenshot from a video of the incident shows taxi driver Suwan Chaowadee, 47, being run down by the black Fortuner near the entracne to Freedom Beach last Sunday (Jan 5). Image: Supplied

A screenshot from a video of the incident shows taxi driver Suwan Chaowadee, 47, being run down by the black Fortuner near the entracne to Freedom Beach last Sunday (Jan 5). Image: Supplied

Lt Col Chompoonuch Anantayakul of the Patong Police confirmed that Natchaphon “Tong” Plodmanee and his father Jarat “Dae” Plodmanee were charged with attempted murder earlier this week.

“Jarat and Natchaphon reported themselves at Patong Police Station and were charged with attempted murder. Both denied the charges and they were released on bail on Jan 7 [last Tuesday],” Lt Col Chompoonuch told The Phuket News.

The charges follow a dispute between taxi drivers just before 3pm last Sunday (Jan 5) at two different taxi queues operating near the entrance to the private road that leads to the beach.

One of the queues is beside the entrance, the other is down the road in front of a local bar.

Prajop “Nuan” Chankaew – who described himself as a “witness at the scene” and not as a taxi driver at one of the two queues – told police that the drivers at the two taxi queues had agreed to allow only three taxis to wait at each queue.

However, a “black taxi” – a regular passenger car registered for private use being used illegally as a taxi – had turned up and was parked at the front of the queue near the entrance to the beach.

Mr Prajop said he walked up to the drivers at the beach entrance and asked them to not allow the “black taxi” to pick up passengers.

He said the drivers agreed, but later he saw the “black taxi” delivering passengers to the entrance of the beach.

Soon after, two taxi drivers Natchaphon and Jarat arrived in a black Toyota Fortuner.

A fight broke out and taxi driver Suwan Chaowadee, 47, fled the scene of the fight, Mr Prajop said.

Natchaphon and Jarat followed Suwan in the Fortuner and ran him down, leaving him in a heap in the middle of the dirt road before speeding off, Mr Prajop explained.

Mr Suwan in his report to police said that Natchaphon was behind the wheel when he and his father Jarat arrived in the Fortuner.

Jarat pulled Suwan’s shirt collar and shouted at his son to shoot him, Mr Suwan alleged.

Mr Suwan said he pushed Jarat away to escape while Natchaphon tried to shoot him, but the gun failed to fire.

Jarat took the gun from his son and tried to shoot Mr Suwan, but the gun still failed to work, Mr Suwan said.

Mr Suwan said that he ran and made it about 300 metres before he was run down by the Fortuner, which he said was being driven by Jarat.

Lt Col Chompoonuch was brief in her summation of the case.

“All the information is from taxi driver witness interview reports. They were fighting over the taxi queues is only presumption at this stage. I cannot make a conclusion until I find out the facts,” she said.

Lt Col Chompoonuch declined to reveal the monetary amount of the police bail posted.

“We are now looking for the gun that Jarat and Natchaphon allegedly uses to try to shoot Mr Suwan,” Lt Col Chompoonuch volunteered.

Asked what kind of gun police were looking for, she said, “It is a handgun, but not homemade pistol (Thai Pradit).”

Lt Col Chompoonuch declined to confirm or deny whether Mr Suwan was the driver of the illegal “black taxi”.

“The ‘black taxi’ is another issue to follow up on later. After the attempted murder case is finished, I will raise the black taxi issue with the Patong Police Chief for further advice.”

Lt Col Chompoonuch said that Mr Suwan’s medical condition had improved and that he had been discharged from hospital care, but declined to confirm whether police were providing any protection for him.\

“I cannot reveal the details [of this case]. This case is not finished. I am working on this case,” Lt Col Chompoonuch said.

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Kurt | 14 January 2020 - 09:42:35

Would it not be normal to have at least the taxi license suspended of the 2 attempting murderers? At least until the outcome/ruling/conviction in Court.  Right?

Discover Thainess | 13 January 2020 - 21:30:23

How can they possibly be released on bail. As they are taxis, one can only assume the next few months will be delays for some unfathomable reason, then more excuses, then hoping everyone will forget and that will be it. PN please keep following up on this story once per month at very least. Video seems very clear as to what happened.

Kurt | 13 January 2020 - 15:58:11

Well, tourists now know you can as taxi drivers attempt 3 times in a row murder as taxi drivers, and next they 2 walk freely around on bail. Welcome on Phuket,  get your taxi driven by failing murderess, out on bail. Is this the meaning of Phuket Officialdom thinking to serve tourists? OMG. What a idiotism.

CaptainJack69 | 13 January 2020 - 14:30:46

Wont someone PLEASE get these scum bags under control. Doesn't anyone realize the damage a single story like this does to Phukets' economy? a dispute about in illegal taxi involving an illegal firearm illegally carried in a public transport vehicle on land illegally acquired through blatant fraud. Yeah, bring your family to Phuket for a holiday, it's very safe...

Kurt | 13 January 2020 - 10:17:14

Son shoot to kill, gun fails, father take over gun, try to shoot to kill, gun fails, ( probably never cleaned). Than trying to run the guy over with the Fortuna. Wow, triple attempts of murder.  And after denial free on bail?  Unbelievable.  Oh, yes, don't forget it are holy taxi drivers,  RTP wai for them.

Nasa12 | 13 January 2020 - 09:01:55

The same whit Nui B problem every day, 300 Bath for drive down to the beach NO grab cars are allowed one the streets ore parking place. 

MartinK | 12 January 2020 - 23:52:19

Phuket really is a family destination. Here is a fine example of another fun father son activity. So nice to read about families doing things together.

Fascinated | 12 January 2020 - 22:13:25

Once again  a clear cut message that the taxi'Mafias' are in control, not the authorities.

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