Phattara Lamontri of the Tourism Business and Guide Registration Office told The Phuket News today (Jan 10) that the evidence, a single photo, is insubstantial to prove the connection between the divers and the company name provided by Go Eco Phuket.
“We are still looking to find evidence of the connection between the single photograph provided and the company name provided by Go Eco Phuket,” said Mr Phattara.
“There is only one photo as evidence and it is very difficult to tell from this photo if there is a connection to the named company, or even prove that it happened at Koh Racha, for example. It could have been anywhere.”
“They obtained the company name via the name of the boat, but there is no photo or evidence of the boat name. It is difficult to proceed legally with no other evidence because once we go to court it will just fall apart.
“It would be different if there had been more photographic evidence, such as of the boat, taken above the water, or where you can see clearly the faces of the divers,” he added.
Secretary of Go Eco Phuket, Ittiput Schadt spoke to The Phuket News today and said, “A friend of ours (at Go Eco Phuket) sent us this photo. It was taken on Dec 27, however, we did not want to report it until we had obtained information about the fake tour guide pictured, in order to report it to the Department of Marine Coastal Resources (DMCR) and Tourism Business Registration Office,” he said.
“Right now, we are working to provide the officials with additional evidence that they require. We are asking for help from the media, if anyone knows any information,” he added.
“We reported it to the Tourism Business Registration Office on Monday along with the suspected identity of the ‘tour guide’, who we believe is Korean, does not have a tour company licence, or a certificate to take others on dives.
“We deducted the identity because the supplier of the photograph had noted the name of the boat. From this, we found out the tour company name, and then from the Phuket Business Registration Office that the company was not registered,” he said.
“Eventually we got a full name of the suspected fake guide, her address, and her workplace.
“We are trying to find more evidence to arrest her based on lack of a work permit. The DMCR and marine officers have also been notified of the case. Please wait several more days while we proceed,” he added.
However, when The Phuket News contacted Director of the DMCR Phuket Office Watcharin Thintalang, he said he had not yet seen the image and requested that The Phuket News forward it to him.
“I have not seen this yet. Please send it to me,” he said.
“I will check with my officials and investigate into it.”