The crackdown, order by Patong Police Chief Col Sujin Nilbadee, was carried out throughout Patong from 7:30pm to 10:30pm.
Through a post online earlier yesterday, Patong Police noted they had received repeated complaints about foreigners on motorbikes in Patong, including rude and dangerous behaviour. The complaints specifically noted French tourists as the culprits, Patong Police said.
Many video clips of bad behaviour and dangerous driving by foreigners on motorbikes had been posted online, accompanied by comments from local residents urging police to take action, Col Sujin noted.
Some of the videos posted online plainly showed specific groups of foreigners gathering together to rev motorbike engines and zoom dangerously along the streets, he said.
The behaviour was dangerous, and through social media could easily promote a negative image of tourism to Patong, and Thailand, he said.
During the crackdown last night, seven people were charged with offences under the Traffic Act, Col Sujin confirmed.
Adcha Buachan, Chief of the Phuket Land Transport Office (PLTO), pointed out that central to the problem was that tourists renting vehicles, notably ‘big bikes’, did not have a valid driving licence to operate such vehicles in Thailand.
Foreigners without a Thai driver’s licence must have an International Driving Permit in order to legally drive in Thailand, he said.
A driver’s licence from their home country is not enough, he said.
This responsibility fell to rental shops to make sure the tourists renting the vehicles have the correct licence, Mr Adcha said.
Those who rent a car or motorbike to a person without the correct driving licence are breaking the law and face a fine of B2,000, he said.
“The vehicle must be registered, its road tax must be up to date and the vehicle must be covered by [compulsory insurance under] the Accident Victims Protection Act,” Mr Adcha said.
“In the case of Patong with tourists driving in the manner of obstructing traffic or using the roads as a group [as in, like a motorbike gang], it is the PLTO’s responsibility to0 check that the tourists have the correct driver’s licences and that the vehicles are fully legal,” Mr Adcha explained.
“For those who operate a car rental business, in order to solve the initial problem they must confirm that the person who rents the vehicle has a licence that allows them drive in thailand.
“If the person does not, do not let him rent the vehicle, otherwise you will be breaking the law,” Mr Adcha concluded.
Before the crackdown on the streets of Patong last night, officers from the Patong Police and PLTO started visiting car and motorbike rental shops in the area to check the vehicles avilable for rent, and to whom vehicles had already been rented out to.
kiwiian | 11 February 2023 - 22:05:03