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Phuket Consuls Keep Pressure On Tuk-Tuk, Jet-Ski Scams

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Phuket consuls keep pressure on tuk-tuk, jet-ski scams

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German Honorary Consul Dirk Naumann asks why a trip from Patong to

Phuket Airport in an open-air tuk-tuk costs three times as much as a trip

from central Bangkok to Suvarnabhumi Airport in an air-conditioned taxi.

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Phuket Marine Police chief Phuripat Theerakulpisut denied that influential

figures were involved in systematic extortion of tourists who rent jet-skis in Phuket.

PHUKET: -- Following the success of the honorary consuls’ meetings in Phuket, the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) has announced that a nationwide gathering of all honorary consuls will be held at the ministry in Bangkok next month.

News of the meeting was announced by Korn Suwanasai, director of the MFA Passport office in Phuket, at the first Phuket Honorary Consuls Meeting in 2011, chaired by Phuket Governor Tri Augkaradacha at Phuket Provincial Hall yesterday.

Organized by the MFA Department of Protocol, the Bangkok meeting will take place at the MFA offices on Sri Ayudhya Road on March 9, starting at 10:30am.

All honorary consuls in Thailand will receive formal invitations, Mr Korn said.

Tuk-tuks

Jet-ski scams and overpricing by taxi and tuk-tuk drivers dominated the agenda at yesterday’s meeting.

Governor Tri began the meeting by outlining progress made since the previous meeting, including the introduction of maximum rate fares agreed to by some 80% of tuk-tuk drivers in Patong, all members of the Patong Taxi Federation.

The consuls were also shown slides of uniforms and ID badges to be worn by the federation members.

German Honorary Consul Dirk Naumann lauded Gov Tri for his efforts to address taxi and tuk-tuk issues, saying, “Our new governor has done more in three months than his predecessors did in three years.”

A tangible result of this was freeing up of parking spaces along the beach road in Patong, which before were almost completely monopolized by taxi drivers, tuk-tuk drivers and vehicle rental operators, he said.

However, Mr Naumann said the set fares in Patong were too expensive, producing documentary evidence that the rates were several times higher than in Bangkok – and more expensive than in Germany, where the cost of living overall is much higher.

Patong Deputy Mayor Chairat Sukhaban argued that Patong’s mountainous terrain, one-way road system and other factors all conspired to make operating costs in the seaside town higher than many realized.

Open-air tuk-tuks were more expensive to buy than air-conditioned taxis, he added.

Mr Naumann said that if that was the case, then air-conditioned taxis should be used instead of the two-stroke tuk-tuks.

Governor Tri said that the fares, which impose a maximum fare of 200 baht for journeys within Patong, plus 50 baht per head for each additional passenger above four, would be reassessed after a three-month trial, after gaining feedback from tourists.

The 200-baht fare was a maximum and passengers were free to negotiate cheaper fares for short journeys, he added.

The ultimate goal was to have all tuk-tuks legally registered with yellow plates and fitted with meters, which would naturally lead to a reduction in fares, he said.

He asked for three more months to make further progress on this and several other matters of concern raised by the consuls during the meeting.

Jet-skis

Referencing a recent report in the Australian media, Honorary Consul Larry Cunningham said systematic extortion of tourists by jet-ski rental operators was driving tourists to rival destinations.

One recent report generated within six hours some 150 online comments by other tourists who said they had been similarly taken advantage of during their holidays in Phuket, he said.

The level of abuse had already prompted the Australian government to issue a formal advisory not to rent jet-skis in Phuket, yet problems persist and Australian tourists don’t know where to turn for help when they are victimized, Mr Cunningham said.

He called for police to establish a police box on Patong Beach to report such abuses.

Informed that both Patong Police and the Tourist Police already maintain boxes on the beach, he said they were too distant from where the abuses were taking place, typically on the stretch of beach near the Holiday Inn resort.

The mandatory insurance scheme for jet-ski operators was “gone with the wind” due to lack of compliance, he said.

Noting that Krabi province recently banned jet-skis, he also queried whether the actions of “influential people” were responsible for perpetuating the situation, which he said badly damaged Phuket’s reputation worldwide.

Phuripat Theerakulpisut, Chief of the Marine Police branch in Phuket, denied that influential figures were involved.

Jet-ski operators were just typical Thai people living a hand-to-mouth existence, he said.

“They aren’t rich people like you,” he told the Australian.

He also pointed out that his officers lacked the legal authority to arrest operators who brought in jet-skis from other provinces.

Drugged tourists

British Honorary Consul Martin Carpenter told the governor that he had received at least two reports of tourists who claim to have been drugged, one remaining unconscious for 16 hours afterward.

He also called for more police officers with special training in dealing with victims of sexual assault.

Phuket Provincial Police Superintendent Pekad Tantipong said officers with this kind specialized training were few in number throughout Thailand, and most that did have the training were assigned to Bangkok.

Airport security

Norwegian consul Pornphan Sitthichaivijit asked for increased security clearance at Phuket Airport.

Consular staff should be allowed to accompany VIP visitors and other special cases right to the gate when departing, as they are allowed to do at other airports in Thailand, she said.

Missing people

Irish Honorary Consul Helene Fallon-Wood thanked Maj Gen Pekad for his assistance in helping to track down an eight-year-old boy who had been reported missing since June 2010.

German arrested for fraud

Mr Naumann thanked Phuket Immigration Police Superintendent Panuwat Ruamrak for help in arresting German national Lars Scheffczik, 38.

Mr Scheffczik, arrested on Monday at his home in Chalong, will be charged with Internet fraud.

He had been living illegally in Thailand for three years with his Thai wife and two children since his passport was taken away.

Mr Naumann said he had personally taken away the German’s passport.

Numerous other issues were discussed during the two-and-a-half hour meeting.

The next local consuls’ meeting is scheduled to take place at Phuket Provincial Hall at 2pm on May 23.

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-- Phuket Gazette 2011-02-22

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Open-air tuk-tuks were more expensive to buy than air-conditioned taxis, he added.

WHAT>>>>> 800,000 baht for a tuk tuk???

Please get real and what does the

Patong’s mountainous terrain, one-way road system and other factors all conspired to make operating costs in the seaside town higher than many realized.

have to do with Blatent ripping off of tourists.

400 baht for a trip from Patong to Kamala 8 kms!!! 50 baht/km

800 baht to the airport from Patong when a taxi is 500, shared mini bus 150 and even a aircon luxury hotel limo is less

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This German consul appears to be the guy we all need here in Thailand. Its a pity the rest did'nt have as much guts. Congratulations and good luck to him.

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Phuket marine chief says " jet ski operators are just ordinary Thai people"..........................how right you are,at the slightest chance, rip off the rich farang. And another of his nice friendly Thai welcoming remarks "they are'nt rich people like you "...........bugger me, never have thought it :D So i guess on those grounds, he is saying,its ok to cheat visitors to his country.

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This German consul appears to be the guy we all need here in Thailand. Its a pity the rest did'nt have as much guts. Congratulations and good luck to him.

Yes, Mr. Naumann is a go-getter. I knew him from my frequent business trips to Thailand in the 1970s. A successful businessman, good negotiator.

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Each country represented at these meetings needs to post official travel alerts and travel warnings for their citizens on their consular, embassy, and/or state dept. websites about jet ski and transportation scams in Thailand, specifically Phuket. Or at the very least, threaten to do so if no action is taken to remedy the problem.

This is one thing that pisses off the likes of the TAT and other officials in the Kingdom, and would be another unwelcomed black eye for the country. Of course many of them are leading the cushy life here themselves, and they may be unwilling to rock the boat. But these folks hold their positions for one reason only: to serve the needs of their citizens in Thailand. And it's obvious, after years of inaction, that only a hard lined stance will have any effect.

And I agree that Naumann seems to be the only one with a pair of balls. Dirk rocks!

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You're being so unfair about the Consuls and the staff at the embassies! They are so busy attending cocktail parties and going shopping that they don't have the time to help their country's citizens. ... You just don't understand them...

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Open-air tuk-tuks were more expensive to buy than air-conditioned taxis, he added.

Clearly a joke, right?

The ultimate goal was to have all tuk-tuks legally registered with yellow plates and fitted with meters, which would naturally lead to a reduction in fares, he said.

Like "metered" taxis in Pattaya? I have yet to hear of a taxi driver actually turning the meter on!

A tangible result of this was freeing up of parking spaces along the beach road in Patong, which before were almost completely monopolized by taxi drivers, tuk-tuk drivers and vehicle rental operators, he said.

Now here's a brilliant idea that could be applied on Beach Road and a variety of other places in Pattaya (sorry, I'm having a sarcastic day).

It's great to see people "in positions" with good intentions. But albeit some TAT dudes promise to look into things and make 'em better, this is still Thailand, where any such thing will eventually bump off a very high concrete wall because there are too many -- errr -- interested parties involved.

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Last man throw the keys in the sea when they leave Phuket !

They had dicked their own grave for years !

That bullshit with it is more expensive to run a Tuk tuk then a metered taxi, then they should buy some from Europe, i saw one in denmark last year, it cost 77.000 Baht and that is inclusive 205% tax and VAT, so they can buy it for 30.000 or less ! How many do they want ?

Most Tuk Tuks are also very old, more then 15 years, rebuild and rebuild again, i not think they can pass test at the motor office !

Jetskis are easy to ban, as it is ilegal to ride a jetski if you not have a captains license ! That is Thai law, so the marine director actually break it every day he not step in and stop it.

All these peole who live from hand to mouth they say, driving around in new cars, living in new houses that cost several millions etc. so bullshit !!

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Open-air tuk-tuks were more expensive to buy than air-conditioned taxis, he added.

WHAT>>>>> 800,000 baht for a tuk tuk???

Please get real and what does the

Patong’s mountainous terrain, one-way road system and other factors all conspired to make operating costs in the seaside town higher than many realized.

have to do with Blatent ripping off of tourists.

400 baht for a trip from Patong to Kamala 8 kms!!! 50 baht/km

800 baht to the airport from Patong when a taxi is 500, shared mini bus 150 and even a aircon luxury hotel limo is less

I've taken an air-conditioned car from Pattaya to Suvarnabhumi for 800 within the last year. There's also the Bell Bus that runs on the same route for 200. Phuket is a total rip off.

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I've taken an air-conditioned car from Pattaya to Suvarnabhumi for 800 within the last year. There's also the Bell Bus that runs on the same route for 200. Phuket is a total rip off.

Yes, to all those people who love to put down Pattaya, the Bell Travel service from your hotel and a nice bus to the airport in 1 hour, 20 minutes, all for 200bt. Most taxis around the country will try to get 200 from you to travel 15/20 minutes from their respective cities to the local airport.

Phuket guys will always try for 800 - 1000. Sure, it is a distance, but not further than the Pattaya run.

Phuket is killing itself.

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Yes, to all those people who love to put down Pattaya, the Bell Travel service from your hotel and a nice bus to the airport in 1 hour, 20 minutes, all for 200bt. Most taxis around the country will try to get 200 from you to travel 15/20 minutes from their respective cities to the local airport.

Phuket guys will always try for 800 - 1000. Sure, it is a distance, but not further than the Pattaya run.

Phuket is killing itself.

:coffee1: People have been coming on TV since the day it started saying that the end is nigh for Phuket, and I will wager they still will be in another 10 years.

Things aren't perfect here, but the people that flood through the doors every year, don't seem to think it will be dying any time soon,

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Incredible isn't it? Here we have the consuls, whose citizens they represent are the tourists who pump in the money and keep Phuket alive, trying to get some law and order on the island. And these incompetents in charge talk a total load of horse manure to their faces!! The cost of a tuk tuk? The difficult terrain adds costs?! The uniforms? Maximum fares? The 200 baht fare within Patong...say your journey is under a kilometre? The arrogance of Phuripat Theerakulpisut, Chief of the Marine Police branch in Phuket, with his remark about "you rich people". What is the cost in Thailand of, say, 6 jet skis, the jeep. trailer and storage for them? Is this a poor Thai person?

These fools are living in a whole different universe. Do they honestly think the consuls, usually all very successful people, bought this? This farce of a meeting will be reported back to the foreign departments of each country involved.

I have said it here for a long time...Phuket has no chance at all and things will get worse because it is just too much of a gold mine to let go and change. I like Phuket itself....but hate the way it is run.

The consuls are diplomats and have to be careful with their language but it is clear they know full well what is going on and who is involved. The fact the jet ski scam has to be brought up at all at a diplomatic meeting, and has not been shut down by the marine police and the remarks made, speaks volumes for who is involved in this appalling fraud and scam.

I for one will write to the Governor and raise some of the points raised. Will anyone else do the same? Or will we just talk about it here and do nothing else?

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Incredible isn't it? Here we have the consuls whose citizens are the tourists who keep pump in the money and keep Phuket alive trying to get some law and order on the island. And these incompetents in charge talk a total load of horse manure. The cost of a tuk tuk? The difficult terrain adds costs?! The uniforms? Maximum fares? These guys are living in a whole different universe. Do they honestly think the consuls, usually all very successful people, bought this? This farce of a meeting will be reported back to the foreign departments of each country involved.

I have said it here for a long time...Phuket has no chance at all and things will get worse because it is just too much of a gold mine to let go and change. I like Phuket itself....but hate the way it is run.

The consuls are diplomats and have to be careful with their language but it is clear they know full well what is going on and who is involved. The fact the jet ski scam has to be brought up at all at a diplomatic meeting, and has not been shut down by the police, speaks volumes for who is involved in this appalling fraud and scam.

I for one will write to the Governor and raise some of the points raised. Will anyone else do the same? Or will we just talk about it here and do nothing else?

Like somebody else said. These consuls are never going to do anything that will jepordise their cushy jobs in the sun.

The Thais in charge couldn't really give a rats arse what a bunch of Farang embassy bods think. They will continue to do it their way, as they always have.

It's the Thai people in charge we have to hope do the right things. The consuls are for mere decoration.

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Regarding the price of Tuk Tuks, I think the price he was refering to does not only include the Tuk Tuk but also includes the license plates which are very expensive.

When you are buying a taxi, you also need to buy the license plates and these are expensive too. If you buy a taxi without plates and a Tuk Tuk with plates then the Tuk Tuk is going to be more expensive. It would be good if someone could shed some light on the actual cost of plates for both Tuk Tuks and Taxis.

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Regarding the price of Tuk Tuks, I think the price he was refering to does not only include the Tuk Tuk but also includes the license plates which are very expensive.

When you are buying a taxi, you also need to buy the license plates and these are expensive too. If you buy a taxi without plates and a Tuk Tuk with plates then the Tuk Tuk is going to be more expensive. It would be good if someone could shed some light on the actual cost of plates for both Tuk Tuks and Taxis.

Almost all the Tuk Tuks on Phuket Island are owned by a few prominent families and are hired out at a daily rate to the drivers. I wonder how many actual drivers own there own Tuk Tuk with licence..... not many I think.

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Noting that Krabi province recently banned jet-skis, he also queried whether the actions of “influential people” were responsible for perpetuating the situation, which he said badly damaged Phuket’s reputation worldwide.

Phuripat Theerakulpisut, Chief of the Marine Police branch in Phuket, denied that influential figures were involved.

Jet-ski operators were just typical Thai people living a hand-to-mouth existence, he said.

They aren’t rich people like you,” he told the Australian.

Quite a telling response from the Chief of Police, who I would wager "earns" more baht than the consul, as he gets his cut from the scams in his jurisdiction.

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Like somebody else said. These consuls are never going to do anything that will jepordise their cushy jobs in the sun.

The Thais in charge couldn't really give a rats arse what a bunch of Farang embassy bods think. They will continue to do it their way, as they always have.

It's the Thai people in charge we have to hope do the right things. The consuls are for mere decoration.

"cushy jobs in the sun"?

These are mostly honorary consuls who are not on a proper Embassy salary and probably only work for expenses. Please correct me if I am wrong. They have other jobs as well and the role is part-time.

The odd cocktail party is hardly recompense for some of what these guys have to put up with: having to help crime victims, the bereaved, deportees, prisoners, often with little in the way of thanks and much in the way of abuse as they have to work within the strict parameters issued by their Embassy as well as dealing with Thai officialdom.

You sound like a bit of a diplomat, BangtaoBoy. Maybe you should apply for a cushy job next time there's a vacancy for your home country.

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Like somebody else said. These consuls are never going to do anything that will jepordise their cushy jobs in the sun.

The Thais in charge couldn't really give a rats arse what a bunch of Farang embassy bods think. They will continue to do it their way, as they always have.

It's the Thai people in charge we have to hope do the right things. The consuls are for mere decoration.

"cushy jobs in the sun"?

These are mostly honorary consuls who are not on a proper Embassy salary and probably only work for expenses. Please correct me if I am wrong. They have other jobs as well and the role is part-time.

The odd cocktail party is hardly recompense for some of what these guys have to put up with: having to help crime victims, the bereaved, deportees, prisoners, often with little in the way of thanks and much in the way of abuse as they have to work within the strict parameters issued by their Embassy as well as dealing with Thai officialdom.

You sound like a bit of a diplomat, BangtaoBoy. Maybe you should apply for a cushy job next time there's a vacancy for your home country.

You obviously know more about it than me, so perhaps you are right.

I doubt however, that any of them wake up in the morning and think ' Oh I wish I didn't have this role as consul to wherever'. Because if they did, they would all resign!

There must be a reason they all do it, unless their is a lot more selfless, charity driven people in Phuket than I gave credit for.

I wasn't actually insinuating that they don't do a good job. I have met Mr Carpenter on one occasion , and he was very nice and helpful.

I just don't think they have any role to play in dictating how the local people run their affairs. And like I said in my post, I don't believe they will really make a difference.

The powers that be will appease them, so they can then appease the people of the country they represent. Everyone's happy (or happier at least) but it was only because the Thais made it so.

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You obviously know more about it than me, so perhaps you are right.

I doubt however, that any of them wake up in the morning and think ' Oh I wish I didn't have this role as consul to wherever'. Because if they did, they would all resign!

There must be a reason they all do it, unless their is a lot more selfless, charity driven people in Phuket than I gave credit for.

I wasn't actually insinuating that they don't do a good job. I have met Mr Carpenter on one occasion , and he was very nice and helpful.

I just don't think they have any role to play in dictating how the local people run their affairs. And like I said in my post, I don't believe they will really make a difference.

The powers that be will appease them, so they can then appease the people of the country they represent. Everyone's happy (or happier at least) but it was only because the Thais made it so.

Consuls are Honorary Consuls.....honorary is the word here. They don't get paid. They do a good job and often get little thanks for this.

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Consuls are Honorary Consuls.....honorary is the word here. They don't get paid. They do a good job and often get little thanks for this.

Are you saying that they get no perks or benefits what so ever? That they do it 100% for the greater good of their fellow country men?

Like I said, I have no personal knowledge of their arrangements, so am only guessing, are you doing the same, or do you know for sure what do or don't get?

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Consuls are Honorary Consuls.....honorary is the word here. They don't get paid. They do a good job and often get little thanks for this.

Are you saying that they get no perks or benefits what so ever? That they do it 100% for the greater good of their fellow country men?

Like I said, I have no personal knowledge of their arrangements, so am only guessing, are you doing the same, or do you know for sure what do or don't get?

I do happen to know something about the Hon British Consul position. The position only offer a very small annual stipend and a mileage allowance for using own vehicle on official business. In my opinion they accept this position for the greater good of their fellow countrymen and not for any financial gain. The position does offer some status in the community.

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Consuls are Honorary Consuls.....honorary is the word here. They don't get paid. They do a good job and often get little thanks for this.

Are you saying that they get no perks or benefits what so ever? That they do it 100% for the greater good of their fellow country men?

Like I said, I have no personal knowledge of their arrangements, so am only guessing, are you doing the same, or do you know for sure what do or don't get?

I do happen to know something about the Hon British Consul position. The position only offer a very small annual stipend and a mileage allowance for using own vehicle on official business. In my opinion they accept this position for the greater good of their fellow countrymen and not for any financial gain. The position does offer some status in the community.

I stress the point, I'm not bashing them, but I think you've hit the nail on the head with that last statement. Reward comes in many different packages, and status is a popular one.

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BANGKOK 28 March 2017 11:23
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