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Thai PM admonishes Phuket to stop ripping off foreign tourists

BANGKOK — Thailand Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has warned that Phuket's reputation as a tourist destination will suffer if local people do not stop trying to rip-off foreign visitors.

Tourists relaxing on the beaches of Phuket.

Tourists relaxing on the beaches of Phuket.

BANGKOK — Thailand Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has warned that Phuket's reputation as a tourist destination will suffer if local people do not stop trying to rip-off foreign visitors.

His message was passed on by Mr Werachon Sukondhapatipak, a member of the prime minister's working team.

Lt-Gen Werachon said the prime minister was aware of a police complaint filed on Wednesday (July 17) by two Australian tourists that a passenger van driver charged them 3,000 baht (S$132.20) for the 50 kilometre trip from Phuket airport to their hotel in Kata area.

The story was shared widely on social media.

Lt-Gen Weerachon quoted Mr Prayut as saying the government was working hard to promote tourism and make Thailand a world-class destination. Phuket's economy would benefit.

However, if people persisted in taking unfair advantage of foreign visitors it would have a negative impact on the Thai people, Phuket and Thailand, he quoted Mr Prayut as saying.

Mr Techin Deethong-orn, an investigator, contacted the van driver to try and mediate an agreement between the two sides on Thursday.

Mr Prapai Suankool, the head of the Transport Technical Group of Phuket Provincial Land Transport Office,  said that Karon police station and the Transport Technical Group hosted the meeting, but there had not been any agreement so far. 

He said there were many public signs stating the fares for tourists. However, the price depended on the type of vehicle. There were no fixed fares for taxi vans. It was usually up to the drivers and passengers to agree on a rate, he said.

Tourists were normally charged 1,600-2,000 baht for a trip from the airport to the Kata area of Phuket, where the hotel was located, Mr Prapai said. THE BANGKOK POST

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phuket Thailand vacation tourism fraud Prayut Chan-o-cha

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