Phuket authorities ‘doing nothing about jet-ski rips offs’ – Hon Con

PHUKET: There is no evidence that the powers that be in Phuket are taking any steps to rein in the activities of the island’s jet-ski mafia, Britain’s Honorary Consul, Martin Carpenter, said yesterday evening (November 21).

By Alasdair Forbes

Saturday 22 November 2014, 01:22PM

Martin Carpenter (Phuket News file photo)

Martin Carpenter (Phuket News file photo)

Speaking at an American Chamber of Commerce forum  at the Outrigger Laguna Phuket, held to discuss marine tourism, Mr Carpenter said, “There is no current evidence that anybody in the government sector here really is taking this issue as seriously as many people want them to take it.”

He said that he had sat in meetings between honorary consuls and provincial governors for six years and the problems of jet-ski rip-offs, extortion and dangerous behaviour had been discussed many times, but that nothing significant had been done.

Saying, “I do hope that somebody makes notes, and I’m quite happy for you to write what I’m saying now.”

Speaking to The Phuket News afterwards, he explained, “I’ve tried to get the problem addressed through the proper channels but with no results so now I’m trying a different approach to get someone’s attention.”

Larry Cunningham, former Australian Honorary Consul, and his German counterpart Dirk Naumann – now both retired – were both forthright about jet-skis, making extortion in particular a major issue during their tenures, but little was done.

Insurance to cover minor damage to jet-skis inflicted by tourists was introduced but tourists are often unaware off it, and are still frequently bullied into paying hundreds of thousands of baht to repair minor scratches that in many cases already existed before they rented the machine.

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Cunningham was so vocal that jet-ski operators would halve their demands if the tourists agreed not to get him involved. But the practice continues.

Jet-ski operators and staff have also been accused of driving machines dangerously, ploughing through swimming areas, endangering swimmers including children.

And, after being told to take their sales stands and trailers off Phuket’s beaches as part of the Army-backed expulsion of commerce from the beaches, the jet-skis are now returning, apparently with no sanctions from local authorities or the Marine Department.

The department’s chief, Phuriphat Teerakulpisut, recently threatened to ban jet-skis if there were any more dangerous incidents but has taken no action so far to back up his words.

A Russian tourist died on November 3 after crashing his rented jet-ski off Patong Beach.



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Robin Lee | 24 November 2014 - 10:26:00

I totally agree that the jetskis must be banned from all beaches. They are dangerous to swimmers. Tourists who are not qualified to ride them are allowed to use them and thus accidents and unnecessary death and injuries to innocent swimmers and bystanders happened. Why are the authority so eager to clear the beach of deck chairs and vendors when dangerous jet ski operators are allowed to continue ...

petermach | 23 November 2014 - 11:13:23

As it seems that local authorities are unable to eradicate this mafia , a world wide campaign should be launched trough the net and foreign governments to inform tourists about this potential but real danger. First inform all your friends and the friends of your friends , we have tools facebook , twitter and more.

chazwolf | 23 November 2014 - 07:59:01

People should hire out the jet skies and just take them away and destroy them, then just disappear! If you are not there then the idiot mafia (wannabe's) cant claim from you 

Bjay | 22 November 2014 - 23:58:45

You are 100% correct. They are dangerous a powerful machine in the hands of untrained customers. The operators show off racing them back onto the beach? They are noisy & pollute the sea you can smell the gas when you go swimming? The snake there was to & from the beach causing more traffic delays in what cannot be a legal action? For the sake of the few morons that use the get rid of them ...

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