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Phuket van driver charged for online gambling while driving

Phuket van driver charged for online gambling while driving

PHUKET: A Phuket van driver has been fined B2,000 and had his driver’s licence suspended for 90 days after he was caught gambling online while driving.

By Eakkapop Thongtub

Tuesday 14 February 2023, 09:00AM

The action came after a clip was posted online showing the driver, Suranat Aduman, using his mobile phone while driving from Phuket Town to Patong.

The post pointed out that Suranat was playing online slot machines all along the journey. The passengers were afraid they would be in an accident and that using the phone while driving was dangerous. “Almost crashed many times!” the post said.

Suranat was called to present himself at the Phuket Land Transport Office (PLTO) yesterday (Feb 13), Present to process the accusations against him was Kornpitak Assuwan, Head of the PLTO’s Policy Division.

Mr Kornpitak explained to, and showed, reporters that the video clip posted online did not clearly show that Suranat was playing an online gambling game while driving.

“But it’s an offence to use your phone while driving, which is punishable by a fine of not more than B5,000,” he said.

“After today, he [Suranat] cannot drive for 90 days, and after that he must come back to the PLTo for training in order to get his driver’s licence points back,” Mr Kornpitak added.

“The PLTO would like to advise drivers of all types to strictly follow the law. Now there are tourists coming in, please help maintain a good image for Phuket and Thailand in terms of service and driving etiquette,” Mr Kornpitak said.

“This is something that I would like to recommend to everyone, whether they drive a private car or a taxi ‒ to strictly follow the law,” he added.

Suranat said that he played the game on his phone “for only a moment” and then hung up.

He was driving from Ratsada Pier to Patong at about 7pm, with seven passengers in the van.

“I did not know that someone had recorded the clip. It was the first time I did it and I was filmed playing slots,” he said.

“I have to look for a new job for a while now,” he added.

“I would like to remind people not to play on your phone while driving because it will have a bad effect,” he concluded.

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JohnC | 15 February 2023 - 09:13:32

The use of mobile phones while driving and/or riding motorbikes is so common here it is beyond a joke. Tourists not knowing where they are going staring at their phones while riding scooters one handed. Taking selfies and videos while riding, chatting away to somebody like they are doing nothing wrong. When will RTP officers start to do their jobs while patrolling rather than only at checkpoints?

JohnC | 15 February 2023 - 09:07:50

Just because they state his licence is suspended for 90 days doesn't mean he will not drive. Many Thais don't have licences at all and continue on with their daily lives never getting pulled over because they are not "foreigners" or "farangs". When are RTP check points going to start checking their own people, just for a change from the usual extortion of tourists? 

Capricornball | 14 February 2023 - 15:16:42

Typical lowlife cartel member...doesn't give one s#!^ about the safety of his unlucky passengers, and typical PLTO mafia boss going to bat for him, trying to negate the value of the video. This thug driver was probably told by his mafia boss to act like his penalty will cause great hardship, when in actuality, he's probably out driving right now. Never any meaningful Gov't action.

Fascinated | 14 February 2023 - 10:13:56

'The video did not clearly show' says the official- yet again they try to sway attention away from the driver's behavior. Even with the fine the tail continues to wag the dog. Its only because of social media and 'image tarnishing' that action was taken.

Kurt | 14 February 2023 - 09:48:37

Not the max fine, only B2000. Is this how Phuket Government proves her seriousness about caring for tourists? Just words/lipservice for the clouds. Risking the life of tourists on board of a Van while driving seems not to be serious to Phuket officialdom. That 90 day thing? just show. After 1 week the guy is back on the road and RTP will probably do everything not to notice him. 


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