The issue came to the fore after a video was posted online showing the man, later identified as Ukrainian national Andril Mindalin, 35, parking a passenger van in a sidestreet in Patong.
Sitting in the back of the van were four people, including Mr Mindalin’s friend and compatriot Aleksei Kikhaev, 39, Kornpitak Assuwan, head of the Phuket Land Transport Office (PLTO) ‘academic group’ (or ‘policy division’), told the press today (Feb 27).
The man recording the video accused Mr Mindalin of working illegally as a taxi driver. Mr Mindalin denied the accusation, saying the people in the back were just friends on holiday.
Regardless, the man who recorded the video clip said he would show the video to police.
Mr Kornpitak confirmed today that he had been informed of ‒ and already investigated ‒ the incident.
Mr Kornpitak said that his office, working with Patong Police and Phuket Tourist Police, had confirmed that the group had indeed travelled to Phuket from Pattaya.
The van belongs to Mr Kikhaev, who was one of the four people in the van at the time the video was recorded, Mr Kornpitak said.
The van is legally registered in Chonburi as a ‘private van with more than seven seats’, complete with blue-and-white licence plates, he added.
The group had driven from Pattaya, with Mr Kikhaev behind the wheel for the drive to the island. After reaching Phuket, Mr Mindalin took the wheel as he had lived in Phuket before and was more familiar with the roads, Mr Kornpitak explained.
However, Mr Mindalin was fined B1,000 for driving without a licence, Mr Kornpitak confirmed.
“The case has been resolved already and police have warned Mr Mindalin to get a driver’s licence, but the accusation that he was working illegally as a taxi driver is not true,” Mr Kornpitak said.
Mr Mindalin was warned that if he were caught again driving without a licence he would face more serious legal action, he said.
Immigration officers were also involved in the investigation, Mr Kornpitak noted.
While speaking with the press today, Mr Kornpitak took the opportunity for Thai and foreign drivers to cooperate with officers at checkpoints checking vehicles for drivers working illegally as taxi drivers/
“It may take a bit more time to stop at the checkpoints, but it is to enforce the regulations in Phuket,” he said.
Kurt | 01 March 2023 - 09:32:40