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.
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.