'Mafia gangs gone in three months'
PHUKET: Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yoobamrung vowed yesterday (June 22) to get rid of mafia gangs in Thailand tourism hotspots, including Phuket, within three months.
Saturday 23 June 2012, 01:02PM
Chalerm spoke of the threat posed by mafia gangs in tourist destination towns following a meeting with tourist police, senior officials from the Tourism and Sports Ministry and governors of tourist-destination provinces at the Royal Thai Police headquarters, the Nation reported.
Attending the one-hour meeting were the governors of Phuket, Ayutthaya, Nakhon Ratchasima, Khon Kaen, Chiang Mai, Ubon Ratchathani, Sukhothai, Tak and Kanchanaburi.
Representatives from the Land Transport Department and the Harbour Department also attended.
The deputy prime minister said from now on he would ensure that all government agencies concerned would integrate their efforts to step up security for tourists.
Chalerm said he held the meeting because he has been assigned by the prime minister to step up security for both Thai and foreign tourists.
He was quoted as saying the government would solve problems specific to each tourist destination province and would deal with the organised gangs that have been preying on tourists.
For example, Phuket faces problems with unlicensed taxis and local mafia overcharging tourists for beach seats and jet skis, Chalerm said.
He said local officials would have to crack down on these gangs or he would visit the provinces himself to deal with the problem.
"Within 90 days, the people and tourists will see that the situation has improved," Chalerm said.
He added the government wants to increase revenue from tourism to B2 trillion within five years.