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Phuket to Penang visa run van hits sign, goes off-road as driver asleep at wheel

PHUKET: A visa run van from Phuket with hit a roadside sign and was brought to a halt on the verge of a highway in Phatthalung, Southern Thailand, in the early hours of this morning (Feb 7) after the driver drifted off to sleep behind the wheel.

By Tanyaluk Sakoot

Tuesday 7 February 2017, 09:55AM

The visa run van from Phuket to Penang struck a hospital sign and was brought to a halt beside the road after the driver fell asleep at the wheel. Photo: Katrin Vesna / Facebook

The visa run van from Phuket to Penang struck a hospital sign and was brought to a halt beside the road after the driver fell asleep at the wheel. Photo: Katrin Vesna / Facebook

The minivan, operated by Phen Phet Visa Run in Chalong, in the south of Phuket, was carrying foreigners on a visa run to Penang, Malaysia, when the accident happened.

Capt Manop Suwanmanee of Srinakarin Police Station in Phatthalung Province confirmed the accident occurred at about 3:40am.

“The driver, Theerapong Thanrot, said he drifted off to sleep while driving. The van hit a sign for Srinakarin Hospital before he brought the van to a stop on the grass beside the road,” Capt Manop told The Phuket News.

“There were no injuries in the accident and Mr Theerapong was fined B500 for reckless driving,” Capt Manop said.

With the van stuck beside the road, Mr Theerapong called another van to pick up his passengers so they could continue their journey, he added.

Benjamaporn Phansa, Manager at Phen Phet Visa Run in Chalong, Phuket, confirmed to The Phuket News that her office was aware of the accident.

“Thankfully, everything is okay right now and the passengers have continued their visa run to Penang,” she said.

In October 2013, a Filipino woman died and 10 other foreigners were injured when a Phen Phet Visa Run minivan slid off a wet road and crashed into a tree in Trang. That van was also carrying foreigners on a visa run to Penang. (See story here.)



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TrollmeisterGeneral | 12 February 2017 - 22:20:18

What an absolutely shocking, disgraceful, disgusting state of affairs. How can this organised, syndicated corruption between the transport authorities and the Thai police be allowed and tolerated? The whole country needs a root and branch overhaul to eliminate this syndicated corruption.
And what sort of a "penalty" is 500 Thai baht? Absolutely meaningless.

Police Mafia | 07 February 2017 - 19:30:23

How unfair is this:

1. Foreigners - If you get court riding your motorbike over .05, you'll get locked up for 2 -3 days in a local police station cell, transported to the Phuket Provincial Courts, spend the entire day in the holding cells, go before the courts and pay a 3,000 baht fine then go to Immigration detention center lockup for another day until they decide whether to release you or...

Transport Mafia | 07 February 2017 - 13:54:23

You're taking a huge risk if you use:

 - Vans
 - Taxi's
 - Tuk Tuks
 - Buses

Because there's no real penalties to make Thai drivers responsible for accidents which cause death to Foreigners. Make no mistake, there's around 90 deaths every day in Thailand.

Thai drivers are protected by the police compared to other drivers because they are part of the transport mafia. The...

BenPendejo | 07 February 2017 - 13:31:46

Disgusting...Thailand should be embarrassed about this, especially on the tail of a recent fatality and tragedy associated with visa run vans.  Shame on Thailand for treating these death missions with such a flippant attitude.  A clear message that recklessness towards farangs is acceptable, and their lives aren't worth the 4,000 baht that they pay to take these pointless visa runs.  Shame sha...

simon01 | 07 February 2017 - 12:49:35

A bloody 500 baht fine?? What the hell is the point of that. Just because no one was killed makes no difference. The driver should be in jail and the company fined minimum 500,000 for endangering lives of the passengers and all other road users. It was just luck no mother and child were not in the way. He should get a 5 year ban after jail time. BUT these are exempt from the law as they " ar...

Scratchy | 07 February 2017 - 12:19:17

The only time I truly fear for my life when I'm in Thailand, we only get on these buses because we have to we don't have a choice, I was nearly killed before when they put me and another guy in a taxi to the myanmar border as they couldn't fill a bus, maniac driver employed come very close to causing an accident at high speed. Agreed this could all be done online these days to end this...

Kurt | 07 February 2017 - 12:08:15

Foreign nations should on forehand warn their nationals that Thailand is a dangerous country when it comes to Bus-, taxi-, minivan-, tuk tuk drivers.  
( all tourist transport)

Professional tourist transport drivers can be as old as 81 years!  ( tuk tuk Phuket)
Taxis have 'fixed' meters, or refuse to use meter. Put face towel over it.
Minivan drivers fall often asleep while driving.

Kurt | 07 February 2017 - 11:18:24

Wow , a fine of 500 thb!  (recu ? ) 
That will be a enormous punishment, and warning for visa run minivan drivers.
The office will pay.
Point is: The drivers never learn, soon the same accident again.
The idiot unneeded Thai visa runs,....the tombola of your life.
What Penang thai consulate is doing , that same thing the Phuket Immigration can do here.
When this stone age visa run practice w...

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