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Phuket transport chief threatens illegal taxis

Phuket transport chief threatens illegal taxis

PHUKET: The Phuket Land Transport Office has issued a notice warning people not to use illegal taxis, and for owners of private cars not to use their cars as taxis, or else face full prosecution under the law.

By The Phuket News

Wednesday 7 September 2022, 10:40AM

The warning was posted online yesterday (Sept 6), while Tourist Police travelled to Koh Samui to visit the female foreign tourists who were caught up in the taxi dispute at Ratsada Pier last Friday (Sept 2).

The officers, led by Lt Col Puttipong Wongwattanadej acting under instructions from national Tourist Police Commander Lt Gen Sukhun Pornmainon, met the four young women tourists from Israel at the Chaweng Villawee Hotel in Bophut to apologise for their experience involving the Phuket taxi drivers.

During the incident last Friday, one taxi driver with “Ratsada VIP” taxi services group operating under a concession with Seatran ferry company to transport Seatran customers from the pier prevented the van the Israeli tourists were in from leaving the pier.

The man’s behaviour during the incident, recorded on video and later posted online, was described as a “threatening and intimidating manner”.

So far police have deemed that both drivers involved in the incident were “in the right”, though the PLTO says it is still investigating the incident.

The PLTO has now stepped up its stance to protect Phuket’s “organised” taxi drivers with the warning issued yesterday by PLTO Chief Adcha Buachan threatening full effect of the law against independent taxi drivers who use vehicles that are not registered as commercial passenger vehicles.

The warning comes with absolutely no relevance to the incident last Friday. The van the Israeli tourists had ordered was confirmed by police and the PLTO to be fully legally registered as a commercial passenger vehicle complete with “yellow and black” licence plates.

The tourists had ordered the van to pick them up from the pier through the Bolt app.

The notice issued yesterday warned that any people found using vehicles not registered as taxis to provide a taxi service will be prosecuted under the full extent of the law. People caught doing so faced up to five years in jail or a fine of B20,000 to B100,000, or both, Mr Adcha warned.


According to Mr Adcha, the warning came in response to complaints on social media about illegal taxis in operation.

Not mentioned by Mr Adcha was that posts online following the incident last Friday focussed on calling “organised” taxi operators with exclusive rights to specific tourists “mafia”.

“According to social media data and complaints about the illegal use of private cars to hire passengers, a quarrel has caused trouble and affected the occupation of legal public transport operators and affected the image and the reputation of the country and Phuket as a world-class tourist city,” Mr Adcha said.

In response the PLTO issued the following warning:

  1. Using a private car to carry passengers by hire illegally whether contracting the service through an application or by any means, if an offense is found, the Phuket Provincial Transport Office will proceed according to the regulations and consider penalties as provided by law in all cases.

    In the case of an offense under the Transport Act B.E. 2522, it will be considered to be sent to the investigating officer to prosecute in accordance with the legal process (The statutory penalty rate is up to 5 years imprisonment or a fine from B20,000 to B100,000, or both.)

  2. Passengers should choose to hire a legal car. By choosing an illegal car, the passenger may not be covered in the event of an accident or it may not be convenient by wasting their travel time and may be required to testify in court if the driver is arrested and prosecuted.

Mr Adcha said that information about public transport can be found on the website of the Phuket Provincial Land Transport Office at, on the Phuket Provincial Land Transport Office Facebook page, through the Phuket Transport Office official LINE channel (ID: @704jhnxb) and through the Land Transport Department hotline 1584.

Of note, all the PLTO channels for communication are in Thai language only.

“To report a guilty taxi driver [sic] or if you have been exploited by a public transport driver, you can report the offense through the Public Transport Passenger Protection Center hotline 1584 or Line @1584DLT,” Mr Adcha said.

However, The Phuket News notes that it has been long proven much more effective to follow the Tourist Police suggestion to contact them on their hotline 1155.

Additional reporting by Eakkapop Thongtub

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Kurt | 08 September 2022 - 10:51:28

More and more one gets impression that PLTO is the spil in organized transport cartels setting. It makes public transport, taxi 'service' very different from BKK.  Why is that made so very different from BKK? It's so very 'smelly'.

JohnC | 08 September 2022 - 09:55:44

[PLTO chief threatens the full extent of the law.] Isn't issuing threats against the law? Does Thailand have a law against picking up your friends from the airport so they are not ripped off by thugs with permits? The looks you get. You can feel them wanting to attack you but their tiny brains can't quite work out what to do. Is the PLTO chief appointed or is it another paid for gov positi...

JohnC | 08 September 2022 - 09:36:50

What a load of BS!! Travelling to Samui to "interview and apologise" to the passengers AFTER already making their decision and findings public. Neither driver was in the wrong LOL. If nobody was in the wrong why go there to apologise? If anyone should apologise over this it should be the scumbag taxi mafia guy who caused it, not their protectors in brown. Will they ever learn....

Timothy | 08 September 2022 - 09:16:22

"complaints about the illegal use of private cars to hire passengers" Geez I wonder who was making those complaints? And the LTD is very quick to act on those complaints. Unlike the thousands of complaints about the taxi mafia that are swept under the rug. Why does Phuket have to have this taxi problem? Why can it not be fixed? 

CaptainJack69 | 08 September 2022 - 07:08:01

Behold the desperate scrabbling's of a dying breed. Visitors from any less un-developed countries expect such modern conveniences and securities as ride hailing apps, cashless, contactless payments and clear, non-'negotiable' rates. These thugs and their corrupt cronies in office are finally realizing that their days are numbered. Ta ta Somchai, no one will miss you.

Timothy | 07 September 2022 - 15:16:54

God forbid the people of Phuket choose the service of safe, reliable, affordable transportation. The Land Transport Dept. only promote and defend the thugs that work for them. They think they own all parking and all the roads as well. It's a mafia monopoly. The app drivers need to make a living too...right? 

Timothy | 07 September 2022 - 15:08:55

The Phuket Land Transport Department is the head of the taxi mafia. They issue licences and control the "areas" in which each group can operate. They protect the taxi mafia whenever there are issues. Why can we not have taxis, that can travel everywhere?  Why can we not hail a taxi? Why no meters? Because of the LTD!

Pascale | 07 September 2022 - 14:21:38

@Nasa12    I think they have bigger news  or worries in Europe right now. Btw, I thought Scandinavian country's belong to Europe too.

Nasa12 | 07 September 2022 - 12:37:17

@prab, you have 100% right, and to the RTP they. This it’s a big news in Europe and the Scandinavia country all ready. Some news in Scandinavia have the headlines: land of scammin never ending. 

Fascinated | 07 September 2022 - 11:39:58

Prosecute the passengers, not the Mafias- classic. Drivers must be quaking in their boots (with laughter) as the mafia contiues to be acceptable by those in high office..

Prab | 07 September 2022 - 11:00:38

no matter what they say, Bolt or InDriver are just better option and  surely my first choice all the time... registered taxi are to be avoided at all cost.. taxi mafia can be seen all around and hope they will starve to dead sooner rather then later.. in my hotel i keep promoting those app to all our guests for their own safety 


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