In the video footage, recorded on Thaweewong Rd (Patong beach road), a taxi driver complains to two traffic police officers on motorbikes about parking spaces.
The taxi driver says to police, “It is not enough. There are a lot of cars parked around here.”
When told to move his vehicle, which was said to have been parked outside of the legal parking area, the taxi driver defies the officers requests, “I can fight with you anywhere and anytime but take off your uniform. We will see you at the boxing stadium,” he says.
The policeman then questions the driver, “Who will fight?”
“Me, you fight with me. I am not scared of you,” was the taxi driver’s response.
Both policeman then drive away from the scene.
At today’s meeting, the taxi driver, Mr Boonlop Mueanharn, told the officer that he challenged to a fight, Cpl Nipon Panbua of the Patong Traffic Police, that he was angry that he had stopped him from parking where he had. He also admitted to challenging the him to a fight.
Cpl Nipon today declined to comment on the incident, “Please contact my boss,” he said.
Speaking to The Phuket News’ sister paper Khao Phuket today, Chief of the Patong Traffic Police Lt Col Eakkarat Plaiduang said, “The incident happened after Patong Traffic Police carried out their daily inspection of parking near the Loma Junction. Cpl Nipon found that the taxi was not parked in the correct manner so he asked the driver to move it. So the taxi driver moved it.
“However, soon after the officer returned to the same place and the taxi driver waved for him to stop. The taxi driver then asked the officer why focused on catching taxi drivers and not thieves,” Lt Col Eakkarat explained.
“The taxi driver has already apologised to the officer and he has accepted the apology,” Lt Col Eakkarat added.
Patong Police Chief Col Tassanai Orarigadech added, “Arguments between taxi driver and police happen every day. Officers are only doing their duty. When they find taxi drivers have parked incorrectly they have to tell them.
“We have a policy for decreasing parking spaces for taxis in Patong, but this has lead to there not being enough parking spaces for the taxis. It is normal for taxi operators to be unsatisfied, and sadly the hot weather only adds to the problem,” Col Tassanai added.
“I urge officers to work patiently with taxi drivers and understand each other. Do the job as best as they can,” Col Tassanai noted.
Meanwhile, Col Santi Sakuntanark, Commander of the 25th Infantry Regiment, said “This is an inappropriate incident. Patong Traffic Police are doing their duty. The Traffic Police did not do anything wrong. We have to call the taxi driver in to talk to him in order for him to change his attitude.
“The story came to light after being posted on Facebook. The person who posted the video must apologise to the traffic police too,” Col Santi added.
Mr Tinnakorn Jormmuang, a representative of the Patong taxi operators added, “I confirm that the person in the video clip is a taxi driver stationed at Loma Junction. He argued with officers. I agree that he used inappropriate words and temper with the officer. He insulted the officers.
“The taxi driver admitted that he lost control of his temper,” he said.
“Patong taxi operators including Mr Boonlop have already contacted traffic police officers including Cpl Nipon and soldiers to formally apologise for the incident. I always urge my team to act appropriately. We always have to follow the law,” Mr Tinnakorn added.