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Tempers flare over illegal ‘taxi app driver’ in Kamala

Tempers flare over illegal ‘taxi app driver’ in Kamala

PHUKET: The behaviour of Phuket taxi drivers is making waves again after a driver at a taxi queue in front of a popular pub in Kamala filed a complaint against a taxi-service app driver who had arrived to pick up passengers.

tourismtransport
By Eakkapop Thongtub

Sunday 2 October 2022, 04:50PM


The car in question was registered to provide taxi services through an app, but the car and the driver have yet to be fully registered with the Phuket Land Transport Office (PLTO) to legally provide taxi services.

The driver has applied and the car has been submitted for approval, but the application currently remains in process.

The news became public after a video was posted on a popular local social media channel showing two police officers responding to a late night call in front of the pub, Cafe del Mar.

The taxi queue in question is the same group of drivers who made headlines in February after a taxi driver there angrily berated a Thai tourist couple for calling him a cheat. The incident was recorded, posted online and started to go viral on TikTok.

According to the latest post, a group of three to four men approached the car, which was being driven by a woman.

One of the men in the group then struck the car, damaging the app driver’s car. A legal complaint had been filed against the taxi-app driver, the post said.

‘I WAS DEFENDING MYSELF’

Wilas Soison, 41, the taxi queue driver questioned by police in the video posted online for damaging the app driver’s car, today defended his actions, saying, “I was only defending myself.”

At the same time he told reporters that he did not hit the car.

Mr Wilas this afternoon returned to the taxi queue where the incident happened in order to speak to reporters. Joining him was Kornphithak Asanasuwan from the PLTO.

According to Mr Wilas, a potential customer asked him how much the fare would be to go to Patong.

“I said B400…. He said that he had called a taxi through an app for B200… I wasn’t interested,” Mr Wilas said.

Mr Wilas did not clarify whether the customer was Thai or foreign.

Then a red car arrived to pick up the customer, Mr Wilas said, adding that he could not remember the make or model of the car.

The car made a U-turn to pick up the passengers, and Mr Wilas said he ran up to it to ask the driver whether the car was ordered through a taxi services app.

Mr Wilas said he stood in front of the car to prevent it from leaving. He also alleged that the car had moved forward and hit him.

“I defended myself and an argument started. I didn’t hit the car,” he said.

Mr Wilas said the damage to the car was from when the car hit him.

Mr Wilas went to Kamala Police Station and filed a complaint against the taxi app driver.

“I accepted and paid damages at the police station, the matter is over,” he said.

However, police have yet to confirm how much Mr Wilas paid for damage to the car, or even exactly what damage was done to the car.

‘BLACK TAXIS’

Mr Wilas called on the PLTO to take action against the driver for illegally operating a vehicle as a taxi, a practice made famous in Phuket’s tourism industry over the past two decades as operating a “black taxi”.

Mr Kornphithak said the PLTO was investigating the incident and was prepared to take legal action against the taxi-app driver.

Private vehicles by law are not allowed to be used to provide taxi services, he said.

Following another incident regarding ‘taxi group’ drivers interfering with a legitimate, fully registered taxi picking up tourists at Ratsada Pier early last month after the tourists had ordered the taxi through an app, PLTO Chief Adcha Buachan threatened full effect of the law against independent taxi drivers who use vehicles that are not registered as commercial passenger vehicles.

The warning came two days before Phuket Vice Governor Anupap Rodkwan Yodrabham told a meeting of Phuket taxi operators that taxi drivers in Phuket must improve their behaviour to help protect Phuket’s image as a tourist destination.

According to the local police in Kamala, their involvement in the matter has concluded.

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Prab | 03 October 2022 - 12:39:48

i'm really enjoying this..lol..let see when the next argument or fight will happen..and more and more bad publicity for those cartel..wont probably take more then a week i'm sure. probably Andrew MacGregor could help to spread the word faster and crash those crooks 

maverick | 03 October 2022 - 11:57:36

Customers and app drivers need to be sensible aggravating an already difficult situation helps nobody. We went through his in Africa where Uber drivers were stoned when picking up passengers near taxi ranks - everybody has mouths to feed…..provocation helps nobody - don’t expect govt to intervene until somebody is killed 

Kurt | 03 October 2022 - 10:03:02

@JohnC, Governors duck in when they hear the word 'transport'alone. They hide and keep silent as a mouse when it concerns Phuket taxi mafia.  With such Governors Phuket never gets a clean tourist image.

Capricornball | 03 October 2022 - 09:41:05

Clearly these taxi thugs don't get it. In spite of all the bad press they still can't maintain any self control. Then, the PLTO comes to the thugs defense, and the police promise to go after the app driver. Another nail in the coffin for these obsolete thugs. Their days should be over. When is it going to be enough is enough? The PLTO and their cartels are ruining Phuket tourism recovery.

JohnC | 03 October 2022 - 09:01:52

So the car attacked Mr Wilas and he was just defending himself from it. Just like all the other Thai vehicles that suddenly run off roads and hit power poles and parked trucks. But seriously, big brave taxi boys ganging up on a women this time. Has the Governor ever thought about getting a Psychiatrist to check out the minds of these morons BEFORE approval is given to serve customers. 

Prab | 02 October 2022 - 22:42:59

black taxi hippy Urra!!

Fascinated | 02 October 2022 - 18:18:26

Theres normally about ten tuk tuks there and the place smell like a urinal. They even built an illegal shelter on the sidewalk. Another place where cones illegally 'protect 'parking' as well. Look back over the past couple of years to see the notoriety of this place and their noise pollution can be heard half way down the beach as well. Big 'tough' men attacking a woman- coward...

 

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