The Phuket Anti Corruption Network, led by its president, Dr Surin Bamrungphol, yesterday (October 7) revealed the results of the survey in a document entitled Situation and Trends in Corruption in Phuket.
It revealed, among many other statistics, that 13 per cent of the 611 people who responded to the survey, conducted between May 8 and October 6, thought that corruption involving government officials is acceptable.
This contrasts with an ABAC poll in June this year which found that 65 per cent of respondents believed corruption was acceptable so long as they benefited from it.
Oddly, 17 per cent in the Phuket poll said that they had received contracts of work from government bodies, with 15 per cent saying they had paid a bribe to get the contract – more than the 13 per cent who found corruption acceptable.
10 per cent said they agreed with bribing the government officials “in order to get on the fast track”.
The police were named as the government organisation that the largest number of respondents had paid bribes to in order to get things done faster or “more conveniently”. Out of the 611 polled, 140 admitted to having paid a bribe to the police.
Following close of the police heels were officials at the Land Office, bribed by 138 respondents. Other leaders in the corruption stakes were:
Local Administration Organisations (OrBorJor, OrBorTor), 128;
Thalang District Office, 77;
Muang District Office, 70;
Land Transport Office, 70;
Kathu District Office, 65;
Immigration Office, 64;
Natural Resources and Environment Department, 57; Tourist Police, 56;
Satree Phuket School, 51;
Highway Department, 49;
Phuket Wittayalai School, 49.
Dr Surin said, “Corruption in Phuket is on the increase, because of the urbanisation of the province and the growing gaps between the rich, the middle class and the poor.
“Also it is the attitude of the younger generation who are under the misconception that corruption is normal [and acceptable] in Thai society. This is wrong and if we let it continue it will cause big trouble in Phuket. That is why our network conducted the survey.
Forty per cent of the respondents said the government had failed to curb corruption. Just 17 per cent were confident the government could make a difference.
Confidence in the private sector was much higher, with 56 per cent confident that members of the tourism industry bodies could make a difference, 53 per cent confident about the Chamber of Commerce and 57 per cent confident of the media’s role in fighting corruption.
“Asked whether they would join in the fight against corruption, 48 per cent said they want to participate, 39 per cent said they would like to, but are not yet ready to do so, and just 13 per cent said they do not want to participate.”
Dr Surin told The Phuket News, “We formed the network about 18 months ago and we have members from every part of society. Our purpose is to oppose all kinds of corruption. Our focus is on prevention rather than suppression – which requires action by the country’s legal apparatus.”
But, he said, even this focus is having an effect. “[Government officials] are afraid about what we are going to do; are we going to check them? But that’s not the point. We want them to realise that corruption damages our society. We want them to change their attitudes.
“Some people think that corruption has nothing to do with them but that’s not true.
“For example, we all use roads. If there is a budget of B100 million and officials put B20 million in their pockets, the road will be sub-standard and will eventually have to be rebuilt. That affects all road users.”