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Police question drivers over ‘taxi mafia’ claims

Police question drivers over ‘taxi mafia’ claims

PHUKET: Police have called in the two taxi drivers involved in a dispute last Friday (Sept 2) over which tourists can be picked up by which drivers at the tourist-popular Ratsada Pier.

tourismtransportpolice
By The Phuket News

Monday 5 September 2022, 12:23PM


The incident resulted in four tourists ‒ including three young foreign women ‒ being forced to disembark the van they had entered in order to take another taxi.

The news was brought to public attention after two video clips of the incident were posted on a taxi driver group on LINE. The incident drew much criticism, including many people calling the taxi group at the pier “mafia”.

Ekachai Decha, 37, the man who physically stopped the van from departing the pier with the four tourists, which is home to the main ferries heading to Phi Phi Island, responded publicly by emphatically denying that the taxi operators at the busy pier were “mafia”.

A report by Phuket officials explained that the two drivers presented themselves at Phuket City Police Station at 9:30am yesterday.

The report by Phuket officials named the van driver who picked up the tourists as Chatrapon Misinpanitanon, 45.

The report by Phuket officials did not name the man who physically stopped the van, despite Ratsada Pier taxi driver Mr Ekachai already publicly admitting that it was him.

The two drivers were questioned by Capt Wichit Nokkeaw, Deputy Chief Inspector at Phuket City Police Station.

Sinea Phuket

During questioning it was confirmed that the tourists had arranged for Mr Chatrapon to pick them up in a van through an app.

Adcha Buachan of the Phuket Land Transport Office (PLTO) was also present, saying that the PLTO was investigating the claims online that the taxi drivers at Ratsada Pier were operating as a “mafia”.

“There may be legal action against the victim,” Mr Adcha said.

“As for the provincial transport driver [Mr Ekachai], he came to see if such an act was an offense under the law, and how it was an offense to be called to take action according to the law,” he said.

“For the driver [Mr Ekachai], if it is found that he has committed an offence that has caused damage to another party, including the image of Phuket and the country, we will have to consider whether or not to suspend his license,” he added.

“However, as for the van used to pick up the tourists, it is properly registered [to operate as a commercial vehicle carrying passengers]," Mr Adcha said.

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Prab | 06 September 2022 - 08:19:54

Bolt Driver or InDriver and that it... leave those crooks to starve 

Pooliekev | 05 September 2022 - 19:26:58

Any charges? No? All must be above board and legal then. Despite what the shrill expats on here claim. 

Capricornball | 05 September 2022 - 17:59:06

This is just great, turn over the case of public transport mafia to the corrupt police. For some strange reason, I think nothing is going to come of this, and bad tourist experiences due to the public transport mafia will continue as always. Perhaps social media will be the only arbiter in this case, with another black eye for Phuket getting broadcast far and wide around the world.

Fascinated | 05 September 2022 - 17:07:45

The tail continues to wag the dog. No action so far against the thug r but there may be legal action against the  victim- only in Thailand!

maverick | 05 September 2022 - 15:57:51

Same issue at the airport drivers queuing for hours get ticked off if hailing service cabs turn up - the problem is deep rooted and too many vested interests own these vehicles and demand excessive rents from the drivers.

LivinLOS | 05 September 2022 - 13:00:52

So the person who illegally blocked the 100% legal actions of the van driver with menaces? Nothing happens. 

The man who said that those acting as a group of thugs to impose thier illegal demands on others were a 'mafia' is the one they threaten to punish. 

Just so everyone is clear on which side of the law the police stand. 

 

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