The incident, which occurred on Nov 28, was formally reported to Kamala Police on Friday (Dec 9). The mother of the girl told The Phuket News that she attempted to report the incident to Tourist Police in Kamala on Nov 29, but the Tourist Police office was closed.
She took no further action after friends advised her that authorities would not do anything about the incident “because we are foreigners”. The mother, a Russian national, revised her stance after further encouragement to file a formal report with police. She spoke highly of the support from the officers who handled her complaint.
Lt Col Somprasong Labaisaard of the Kamala Police received her initial formal complaint, but advised her to file another formal report with the Chalong Police, as the incident occurred in their jurisdiction. She was then subsequently directed to Karon Police Station, to file her formal complaint there. Regardless, the mother praised all the officers she interacted with for their polite and positive assistance.
The 14-year-old girl was picked up by the Bolt driver, a woman driving a black Z5 model MG, from an international school in Chalong at 6:50pm after the girl had completed after-school gymnastics training.
The driver had agreed through the Bolt app to take the girl to her family home in Kamala.
However, along the way the driver asked the girl if she could pull over so she could eat a meal. The girl asked how long the driver needed. She was told just five minutes. The girl agreed, but spent the next 25 minutes waiting for the driver to return.
While waiting in the taxi, the girl tried to call the driver via the Bolt app, but the driver did not answer the call. The girl, worried about her situation, called her mother to explain what was happening.
At that time the mother thought nothing horrible about the driver’s behaviour. She was surprised, but thought her daughter was just tired from a long day at school. In the end, the girl had to leave the taxi to ask the driver to continue the journey home.
After resuming their journey, the driver pointed out that she had to stop for fuel. The daughter asked the driver to take her straight home. Again, the driver refused.
As the girl’s phone’s battery was almost out of charge, she asked the driver to stop at a cafe they had passed so she could recharge her phone and call her mother.
This time, more than just refusing, the driver locked the doors and told the girl that if she could not pay the B452 fare immediately, she would not take the girl any further.
As the girl had only B120 with her, the driver turned the taxi around and started heading back to Chalong, the mother said. Usually the parents paid the taxi when it arrived at their home in Kamala, the mother explained.
Now the driver started speeding, scaring the girl, who repeatedly asked the driver to slow down.
According to the mother, the driver started screaming at the 14-year-old, shouting at her that she didn’t care if they crashed and died. The driver repeatedly said that the girl needed to be taught a lesson, without clarifying what she meant, the mother said.
While the girl was trying to contact her parents, the driver allegedly shouted at the girl, and at one time even removed the phone from the girl’s hands. The girl managed to get her phone back and contact her parents, and even share her location through her phone. By that time the parents had already left the house to get their daughter, the mother added.
“She was driving extremely fast and scared our girl by saying that she would call her friends and that they would come and teach her [a lesson], and they would do such bad things,” the mother told The Phuket News.
The driver then pulled into a dark street on the Kata side on Kata Hill and ordered the girl out of the taxi. The girl had to walk about one kilometre before she reached a massage-spa centre near the entrance to the Green Heart Garden resort in Kata, where the manager was happy to let the girl recharge her phone and contact her parents.
“She was screaming that the girl will be lost and die here. I realized then what fear my daughter was feeling, but me and my husband just breathed out, because we knew the location and our daughter was now separated from that woman,” the mother said.
The parents then arrived and took their daughter safely home.
After initially failing to respond to messages sent by the mother, Bolt have now responded and received a copy of the police report
At last report, Karon Police had been unsuccessful in contacting the driver by phone. They will continue their attempts to locate her and bring her in for questioning.
In filing her complaint, the mother has screenshots identifying the Bolt driver and evidence of the incomplete fare. She also has recordings of voice messages from her daughter, who can be heard crying with the driver screaming angrily in the background.
The mother told The Phuket News that her top priority was to let people know what had happened in order to prevent similar incidents occurring, especially involving minors.
“I just want other people to be careful and to have copies of all information about their drivers in their phones,” she said.