One of the four, Thanathorn Thepkaew, 38, originally from Trang, found himself out of work two months ago when the tourists stopped flying in.
Where he used to earn about B20,000 a month, enough to support himself, his wife and child, Thanathorn found himself without any income, but still with rent, motorcycle payments and car payments to pay, and needing to send money back home to Trang.
Stressed and with no idea what to do, Mr Thanathorn spoke to taxi driver friends in the same situation.
“I couldn’t think of what to do, so I spoke with my friends and we came up with this idea,” Mr Thanathorn said.
The four pooled together B600 to buy 10 crab traps. Now, every day, the four set traps among the mangroves along the banks of the Tha Jeen Canal on the east side of Phuket Town, separating Koh Siray from Phuket.
None of the four have any experience in catching crabs, Mr Thanthorn explained.
“If we catch enough crabs we can sell them for B300 a kilo, but we don’t catch enough to sell, at least we can take them home to cook and eat, and share with our neighbours” he said.
The only outlay now is B45 a day for chicken ribs to use as bait, Mr Thanathorn explained.
Of the four taxi-driver-cum-crab-trappers, three have received the B5,000 “emergency support” from the government. The one who did not receive it was the only one who did not report himself now as a “farmer”, Mr Thanathon explained.
What money that was received was spent on food with a little left over for “emergencies”, he added.
“I understand that everyone is in trouble. I would like to see all of us get through the COVID-19 situation together, but not by sitting around waiting and hoping for help to fall from the sky or be handed out by the government.
“I would like everyone to help themselves first and do what they can for their families. There are many ways to help prevent others from suffering, people must believe that every problem has a solution,” he said.
Mr Thanathorn said he looked forward to when tourists return he can start driving a taxi again.
“I would like to see tourists come back to Thailand, and back to Phuket like they used to, especially now that the beaches are more beautiful than ever. Nature has restored their beauty,” he said.
“When that happens, I can go back to work– like everyone else – and make a living to support my family,” he said.