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Grab taxi deemed ‘unauthorised’, driver fined, suspended over Kamala incident

Grab taxi deemed ‘unauthorised’, driver fined, suspended over Kamala incident

PHUKET: The woman Grab taxi driver whose car was damaged by an angry taxi queue driver in front of Cafe del Mar in Kamаla last Saturday night (Oct 1) has been fined B2,000 and suspended for 30 days for using an “unauthorised” application for providing taxi services.

By The Phuket News

Tuesday 4 October 2022, 09:15AM

Provincial Police Commander Maj Gen Sermphan Sirikong announced the news yesterday (Oct 3).

The taxi driver who damaged her car in the incident, Wilas Soison, 41, has also been suspended from operating a taxi for 30 days, Maj Gen Semphan said.

Of note, a report by the Phuket office of the Public Relations Department (PR Phuket) explained the news as such that the “Phuket Governor”, Narong Woonciew, unnamed in the report, had annouced the news, saying that it was the decision of the Phuket Provincial Land Transport Office (PLTO).

The punishments followed Mr Wilas refusing to take a passenger from in front of the popular night venue to Patong for less than B400. The passenger ordered a taxi from JustGrab instead.

The woman Grab taxi driver, named as Ms Narumon (family name withheld), arrived in front of the venue in a red MG sedan at 9:40pm, Phuket Provincial Police explained in a statement issued earlier.

After she made a U-turn to pick up the passengers, Mr Wilas and two to three companions approached her car, with Mr Wilas standing in front of the car to prevent Ms Narumon from leaving.

During the “confrontation”, as police called it, Mr Wilas struck Ms Narumon’s car, causing dents and scratches, the police statement confirmed.

Mr Wilas told reporters on Sunday that he did not hit the car. “I was only defending myself,” he said, claiming that the damage was from the car hitting him.

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“Phuket Provincial Land Transport Office officials and related agencies summoned both parties to investigate and take legal action, with the Grab driver fined for using the wrong application. It is an unauthorised application,” Maj Gen Sermphan said yesterday.

Not explained yesterday was that from June 13 JustGrab in Phuket has been restricted to providing taxi services within two zones only: Phuket Town, and Patong-Karon.

JustGrab is not to provide taxi services outside those areas.

“Passengers can book JustGrab to pick-up and drop-off within Old Town, Patong & Karon only,” the JustGrab website explains (see image gallery above for service area maps).

Maj Gen Sermphan and the police statement confirmed that Mr Wilas “agreed” to pay B5,000 for the damage to Ms Narumon’s car.

“It appears that the PLTO has used the powers under Section 21 of the Motor Vehicle Act to fine the amount of B2,000 for using the wrong type of car,” Maj Gen Sermphan said.

“Mr Wilas is also guilty of destroying public peace on roads or highways, threatening, insulting, harassing or disturbing drivers or passengers under Section 54(4) of the Motor Vehicle Act, and has his driver’s license suspended for 30 days,” he added.

“I would like to ask everyone of any occupation that they must operate properly according to the prescribed laws. The Phuket Provincial Police will strictly and resolutely deal with those who violate the law to ensure fairness in society and to create peace in order to create a good image in tourism for Phuket and to build confidence for people and tourists,” Maj Gen Sermphan said.

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Capricornball | 05 October 2022 - 14:52:29

The PLTO is simply the mafia bosses, with the Cafe del Mar and Rassada's of the island being cartels under the bosses. The Governor knows this is happening, yet he is powerless (or too cowardly) to act on it. This is in spite of the daily damage that the public transport mafia does to Phuket. Social media + PLTO mafia is quickly turning tourists away from Phuket and Thailand.

Kurt | 05 October 2022 - 10:06:15

Is there also a law article that forbid to have weapons on board Taxis/Vans/Tuk tuks? If so, why is there no law enforcement about that? Why AoT not check taxis/vans on weapons when they enter the airport premises? Ruling in everything is just cartel protective. What a disgrace.

Kurt | 05 October 2022 - 09:59:59

After Governor's term as Governor is over he can become a Phuket Cartel taxi driver. Most probably he will be welcome in their ranks. So far his passivity about all Transport happenings is just strengthen/consolidating their position

JohnC | 05 October 2022 - 09:24:33

With each reported incident of this nature Phuket's reputation as a worthwhile place to vist spirals downward like water down a plughole. What an absolute embarrassment for Phuket residents to see the island authorities bow down yet again to the real power on the island. Governor, if you want to get things done perhaps consider joining the ranks of the 'taxi mafia' then nobody can stop...

solar_serfer | 05 October 2022 - 08:45:53

taxi mafia belong in jail! aggressive criminals, they damage Thailand's and Phuket's reputation. They try to fool new comers and aggressively "ask" for tips where none should be given for being so unsensitive. Thailand is NOT India, where you get a taxi = you get a stressful hour ahead of you and will probably have to fight for your rights with the driver in the end. (and drivers...

Prab | 05 October 2022 - 08:16:50

when monkeys are in powerful chairs this is what it come out in the end....

JSombra | 04 October 2022 - 23:03:21

"Coorporation between Phuket PLTO and ruling Phuket taxi mafia?"

There is no "cooperation", latter controls the former and has for long time. Official rates set many times greater than elsewhere, first wave of apps banned (until Grap agreed to not under cut), constant criminal incidents with little to no punishment for drivers, public transport options always kept limited, l...

Capricornball | 04 October 2022 - 17:05:54

Governor Woonciew must recognize that, via social media, tourists are learning about the taxi problem (read Airport & Rassada Pier cases) and are refusing to use the aggressive criminals that work within the taxi cartels. If he really cares about the people trying to make a living off tourism in Phuket, DO SOMETHING! If not, the taxi cartel will continue to destroy Phuket's image.

Capricornball | 04 October 2022 - 16:59:20

So the Grab driver gets a heftier fine than the taxi scum hitting the guy in the head with an axe. The powers that be (Hello Mr. Governor) need to end this disgusting corrupt stranglehold on public transport that the PLTO wields. They are not looking out for the betterment of Phuket tourism, they are lining their pockets with dirty money from the taxi cartels. PN should advertise taxi options

Fascinated | 04 October 2022 - 12:05:28

Great- the victim of intimidation gets punished. The poor woman must have been terrified. Pretty clear who rules the roost in Phuket. At least social media highlights these incidents and there will be a breaking point eventually. Maybe (or not) the Orbator will clear the taxi driver's illegal structure blocking the foot path. What's the betting Wilas is still down there harassing people.

Kurt | 04 October 2022 - 11:19:14

What is the 'justified' reason that Crabtaxis only allowed in the green zones, as shown in the article? Coorporation between Phuket PLTO and ruling Phuket taxi mafia? Seems it is just 1 organisation. Plus of course Phuket AoT. What a mess.

Kurt | 04 October 2022 - 10:14:11

PR Phuket, meaning of the announcement of Phuket Governor, saying..."Was decision of PLTO"..,  hehe, actually Governor is saying: "Leave me out of it".


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