Please note the original story stated the Honorary Consul of France in Phuket as Mr Claude Maigrot De Crissey, who is actually the former person in the role. The current incumbent is Mr. Alain Faudot and the story has since been amended to reflect this.
Colonel Sujin Nilbadee, Superintendent of Patong Police Station and Pol. Lt. Col. Phum Semvoranon, deputy superintendent of investigation at Patong Police Station, met with the Honorary Consul of France in Phuket, Alain Faudot, to emphasise the Thai law relating to safe and responsible conduct when driving a vehicle.
Also discussed in yesterday’s meeting was the issue of foreigners renting bikes without a valid licence.
Of particular concern was tourists renting ‘big bikes’ for which many did not have a valid driving licence to operate such vehicles in Thailand. Foreigners without a Thai driver’s licence must have an International Driving Permit in order to legally drive in Thailand. A driver’s licence from their home country is not sufficient.
Mr Sujin confirmed that the rental operators found guilty of hiring such vehicles to people without a valid licence have been charged with a B1,000 fine as they are responsible for ensuring the correct and legal documentation is in place.
Similarly, anyone found guilty of renting a vehicle without the correct licence would also face a fine of B1,000, Col Sujin added.
He further explained that a number of French nationals had been arrested in Thursday’s clampdown and their details had been passed to Mr Faudot.
Mr Faudot was requested by the officers to connect with French nationals to remind them of the road laws in Thailand and the necessaity to possess the correct licence when renting vehicles to avoid any further problems, Col Sujin said.
The meeting came after police received repeated complaints about foreigners on motorbikes in Patong, highlighting rude and dangerous behaviour. The complaints specifically noted French tourists as the culprits, Patong Police said, with local residents urging action be taken.
Some of the videos posted online plainly showed specific groups of foreigners gathering together to rev motorbike engines and zoom dangerously along the streets, Col Sujin said.
The behaviour was dangerous, and through social media could easily promote a negative image of tourism to Patong, and Thailand, he said.
This led to the major police sting on Thursday evening (Feb 9) which also highlighted the issue of people renting vehicles despite not possessing the correct licence to do so.
Within a period of just four hours on Thursday evening, Patong Police caught 39 foreigners on motorbikes for not wearing a helmet, 44 for not having a valid driver’s licence and eight for running red lights.
In enforcing the traffic laws in the tourist town, police additionally seized 15 motorbikes because the rental operator had rented the motorbike to a person without a valid driver’s licence.
Kamala Pete | 15 February 2023 - 13:09:12