Ambassador urges drive against tuk-tuk weapons
PHUKET: James Wise, Australian Ambassador to Thailand, has said that a crackdown on the carrying of weapons by tuk-tuk drivers in Phuket is essential, and that any driver found in possession of a weapon should have his tuk-tuk taken away.
Friday 29 June 2012, 06:19PM
Briefing members of the press after a closed-door meeting with Vice-Governor Dr Sommai Preechasin and honorary consul Larry Cunningham, he said he felt Phuket would be much safer if tuk-tuk drivers did not have weapons of any kind.
The meeting followed the recent murder of Australian travel agent Michelle Smith.
“Tuk-tuk drivers quite often have weapons,” Mr Wise said. “They shouldn’t have. They don’t need weapons to drive a tuk-tuk.
“One way to stop them having weapons would be not just to take the weapons from the tuk-tuk drivers but to take the tuk-tuk away as well.
“I think the weapons would soon be taken from the streets [if that happened].”
“I and some of my ambassador colleagues had a meeting a few months ago in Bangkok with senior officials about some of the problems of Phuket, and we will be having another meeting with senior officials, scheduled for July 11.
“We will be conveying to the central government the strong wish of authorities here for strong support from the central authorities.”
He added that he thought the taxis in Bangkok, in contrast with transport option in Phuket, were “very well organised”.