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Police called in to hunt down alleged ‘black taxi’

Police called in to hunt down alleged ‘black taxi’

PHUKET: Police in Cherng Talay were called in to track down a man wanted for using a private car to pick up tourists at Bang Tao after being booked through the Grab app.

By The Phuket News

Monday 6 March 2023, 06:17PM

Photo: PR Phuket

Photo: PR Phuket

Officers from the Phuket Land Transport Office (PLTO) arrived at the beach to investigate an incident posted on social media on Friday (Mar 3), the Phuket office of the Public Relations Department (PR Phuket) reported yesterday (Mar 5).

The post showed what appeared to be a private car picking up tourists from in front of a store near Bang Tao Beach in Cherng Talay.

The PLTO officers spoke with taxi drivers in the area, who told them that the tourists booked the taxi through the Grab app, PR Phuket reported.

However, the car used to pick up the tourists did not have any signs or markings indicating that it was a taxi, said the report.

The car was hence presumed to driver illegally operating a ‘black taxi’.

According to the report, allegedly there was an argument over the incident. PLTO officers, Cherng Talay Police and the PR Phuket report did not elaborate further on the “argument” ‒ the word p[previously used by Phuket officials when avoiding any recognition of a physical altercation.

Phuket officials publicly released the name of the man wanted for allegedly operating a ‘black taxi’ as Weerayut Kaewpan. Phuket officials also publicly reported his car’s licence plate number.

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However, no officials named any of the taxi drivers questioned or even involved in the “argument”.

Phuket officials were happy to report that Lt Col Sutham Ratsawangwong, Deputy Chief of Cherng Talay Police, was formally requested to track down Mr Weerayut and have him brought to Cherng Talay Police Station.

In an attempt to be seen as fair, the PR Phuket report described the officials’ intention as “inviting both parties to clarify the facts at Cherng Talay Police Station regarding the relevant laws”.

Officials did not report what action was taken against Mr Weerayut or specify the law that was broken.

The PLTO with any explanation posted two national regulations last month relevant to operating taxis. One of the regulations, issued by Department of Land Transport Director-General Chirut Wisanchit on Dec 2, 2021, mandated that EV taxis must be white, and that non-EV taxis must be yellow in colour ‒ with an exemption for non-EV taxis registered before that date.

The PLTO campaign targetting illegal taxi drivers, with special focus on ’out of province’ taxi drivers, was launched within hours of taxi drivers from Phuket’s powerful taxi cooperatives and associations staging a protest at Provincial Hall on Feb 2.

The drivers complained that non-Phuket drivers and other drivers presumed to be illegal ‒ especially if they operated outside of the Phuket "public transport’ cartel organisations ‒ were charging less than local Phuket drivers, and hence costing the local cartel drivers passengers and income.

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Kurt | 08 March 2023 - 09:06:59

If all this energy and time of PLTO, RTP, Provincial Hall, PR Phuket would be used to create good, normal priced, fine public transport facilities all over Phuket, how much nicer Phuket become as a Thai tourist destination, and  more livable for inhabitants.

JohnC | 07 March 2023 - 08:51:36

Police HUNT a taxi driver for picking up tourists?!! Gee, headlining stuff happening here LOL. Protecting taxi cartel member's jobs isn't part of their job description for sure, unless the PLTO 'pays' them extra to do so. Pity they don't show the same dilegence when real crimes are committed, of which there is no shortage.

CaptainJack69 | 06 March 2023 - 20:10:31

And Phuket's taxi scum make the news yet again, further tarnishing the poor islands already dreadful international reputation. RIP Phuket, you used to be a nice place to visit.

Fascinated | 06 March 2023 - 19:11:12

Wow- tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime. Meanwhile Les Lapins continue to terrorise other road users on their PCXs with not a cop or PLTO official in sight. I guess they don't want to bite the hand that feeds them. 'Cartel' is an appropriate name for the local drivers- they have signs out in Kamala blocking spaced next to the infamous Beach Club but that is ignored as well.

Capricornball | 06 March 2023 - 19:01:46

What a sh*t show. Why is one of the only times police get off their asses is to come to the rescue of the criminal taxi cartel members? Also, who gives the cops the right to not disclose facts of the case at their whim? It is an institutional "green card" for them to conduct business as they damn well please while keeping their corrupt dirty dealings out of the public eye.  Disgusting.


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