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Phuket Opinion: What goes around, comes around

PHUKET: The gathering of sea gypsies at Rawai Beach last Sunday (Nov 20) brought forward a rare moment of honesty among officials in Phuket, albeit by a lone admission that they simply did not know enough about issues the island’s indigenous people were facing.


The Phuket News

Sunday 27 November 2016, 10:00AM

Phuket Vice Governor Snith Sriwihok observes the modest Balai Shrine near the sea gypsy village in Rawai. Photo: PR Dept
Phuket Vice Governor Snith Sriwihok observes the modest Balai Shrine near the sea gypsy village in Rawai. Photo: PR Dept

The bare fact that Phuket Vice Governor Snith Sriwihok was honest enough to say that he was there only to learn, not offer his opinion, and he was to report what the sea gypsies had to say to Phuket Governor Chockchai Dejamornthan speaks greatly of both men. Rarely does Phuket witness such an admission from high-ranking officials, even about such a topic that has gained headlines around the world.

And to be truthful, it is not their fault. The annual transfers of Governors and other high-ranking officials around the country each October is aimed at ensuring that no high-ranking provincial officials are in one province long enough that they are effectively left to their own devices to develop their “network of contacts”, business or otherwise.

The downside side is that each October a new Governor lands in Phuket, along with new Vice Governors, who all very likely have no idea of the range of issues at play on the island, or the long history behind them. They simply do not know enough to come up with any sensible solution.

This is not to excuse them from attempting to resolve problems once they learn about them, but at least they are learning about the problems before forcing a “solution” that no-one wanted.

The same system of annual transfers is claimed to be used by the Royal Thai Police, but a little further investigation reveals that is not really the case. At least with Phuket, they rarely venture far from this profiteering isle – and if they do leave, they soon return.

Phuket native policeman Maj gen Chalit Tintanee, years ago promoted from Chalong Police Deputy to Superintendent to cheers from a mob of locals gathered outside the police station, was moved to Phuket Town Police then to Tukuapa District, which includes Khao Lak, then to head Phang Nga Provincial Police Chief. He is now back on the island as Region 8 Police Deputy Commander.

The list of Phuket police transferring out only to return again goes on and on.

British International School, Phuket

Col Aroon Kaewwatee, who was once chief of the Thung Thong Police (now called Kathu Police), was moved to Phang Nga to serve as Takua Pa Police Chief, and is now back on the island as Deputy Commander of Investigation of the Region 8 Police.

Likewise, former Chalong Police Chief Col Krittapas Dechintarasorn was promoted to Superintendent of Takua Pa Police in his last transfer out of Phuket, while former Patong Police Chief Col Jirapat Pochanapan was promoted to Superintendent of Phang Nga Town Police.

Even Maj Gen Decha Budnampeth, who 10 years ago served as a Provincial Police Deputy Commander in Phuket, likewise moved to Phang Nga and then returned to Phuket to become the first Commander of the Region 8 Police headquarters – which used to be based in Surat Thani, but made the B169-million move to occupy its 185-rai site in Mai Khao because “Phuket is a very busy tourism island”.

How effective this has been for the police is a matter of public opinion.

But all this leads to one simple question: What’s worse? Keeping people in Phuket long enough that they might exploit their positions of power, or keep shifting them so they have little experience with the issues to be resolved, and likely won’t be around to be held accountable for them after they’re long gone?

Looking at the effectiveness of the examples above, your guess is as good as ours.



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Kurt | 28 November 2016 - 16:12:47

swerv: It is not hilarious to shut mouths when a case is in Court.
It is a matter of respect to keep quiet when a Court is making a ruling.

I notice that many thai authorities try  to ignore the Court.
Is that to favor there friends and invite them with open coffers?

Respect the Thai Courts! At least, Thai khun swerv.

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swerv | 28 November 2016 - 11:28:44

"Do not cut the grass in front of judges feet!" are hilarious.

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Kurt | 27 November 2016 - 14:25:21

I seems that Phuket governors/ vice governors have a lack of juridical education.
Don't they know when a case is in Court,  'under judge ruling', any other authority should keep
mouth closed, until after court ruling! Krub?
Yes, that is the way things go in civilized countries.

Do not cut the grass in front of judges feet!
Thai authorities are often part of the problem in cases going to Court.
They should keep their mouth shut. Respect the Court!

The Phuket News

Kurt | 27 November 2016 - 13:25:49

The simple question of PN:..'What is worse?' says it all.

It is a choice between Government staff who are not long enough on Phuket to understand what is going on, until their next transfer.
Or it is ( seems difficult) the choice of having authorities longer on Phuket with the risk they get 'involved'/get familiar with the Phuket transport/jet ski/ beach mafia.

After all, there are always money coffers to fill due to well known thai corruption.

Again, the thai ( genetic) corruption blocks Thailand in progress joining the 21st century.
Thai not understand that the present corruption make a few thai people rich and more influential, but keeps the majority of thai people poor.

And, with old fashioned thai corruption in continuation you can not create a wealthy nation like Singapore, but in thai style.
As long NCPO allows the thai police force to have their own kingdom in the Kingdom of Thailand, Thailand remains high on the list of corrupt countries.

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