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91 taxi drivers to appear in Phuket court

91 taxi drivers to appear in Phuket court

PHUKET: Following the massive sweep yesterday to round up “mafia” taxi drivers and other involved in the taxi industry, 91 people will appear in the Phuket Provincial Court today (June 5) when police apply for their stay in the cells to be extended.

By Tanyaluk Sakoot

Thursday 5 June 2014, 11:22AM

'I believe we will get all of them soon': Pol Maj Gen Paween Pongsirin.

'I believe we will get all of them soon': Pol Maj Gen Paween Pongsirin.

Seventy-three taxi drivers were arrested yesterday, along with the Mayor of Karon, Thawee Thongcham.

Another 18 have since surrendered to police to answer charges that they had threatened businesses, extorted money from tour company drivers and threatened them with weapons such as pieces of wood or guns, blocked hotel entrances, and forced tourists to get out of minibuses that arrived at hotels to collect them for tours.

Mr Thawee surrendered yesterday to answer charges of supporting mafia taxi activities in the Karon area, abusing his position to allow these mafia men to use a public sala as a taxi station, and allowing them to use, free, electricity and water that are paid for from national coffers.

A total of 111 arrest warrants were issued, involving 108 people. So another 17 have yet to be arrested or to surrender.

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Maj Gen Paween Pongsirin, Deputy Commissioner of Police Region 8 in Surat Thani, who was one of the organisers of the mass round-up and the months-long investigation that preceded it, told The Phuket News, “Ninety-one people will appear in court today, and more are expected to surrender to us today.

“I believe we will get them all soon.

“Everyone has the right to request bail [at today’s hearing],” he noted, though it is expected that police will apply to the judge to keep them in custody until all have been thoroughly questioned.

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