NEW PHUKET TOP COP: NEW IDEAS OR JUST THE SAME OLD RHETORIC? – Beware boys and girls there’s a new Sheriff in town and he isn’t taking any prisoners.
Yes the time has come for the retiring of one Phuket Police Commander and installing the next; but the question on everyone’s lips is will Major General Ong-art Phiwruangnont talk the talk without walking the walk?
The stark truth is that what Major General Ong-art Phiwruangnont had to say could well be what every other predecessor has had to say… clamp down on those pesky illegal taxis, bring to book those violent Jet Ski operators and make foreign residence and tourist feel safe and right at home in the Land of Smiles.
This week he told reporters at Phuketwan, in response to the illegal taxi rip-offs, that he’ll arrest everybody if they will not obey the law.
I have to admit that it was difficult to stay awake during the reading of Major General Ong-art Phiwruangnont list of ‘measures’ and ‘actions’ in order to clean up the stench that plagues Phuket’s tourist industry; but again I and many others are not sure if anyone is able to achieve any measurable changes.
As with all Phuket Police Commanders, Major General Ong-art Phiwruangnont only has a year before retirement – in fairness most of the commanders have two or three; but the issue here is that even at three years it is barely enough time to scratch the surface and therefore it must be asked, ‘what on earth can Major General Ong-art Phiwruangnont possibly achieve in one year that others have failed to achieve with three?’
The rather embarrassing subject of Rihanna’s visit appears firmly on the agenda after she innocently highlighted the level of depravity that the Thais are willing to sink to in order to turn a buck.
Yes, it’s Soi Bangla with all its colorful lights and even more colorful entertainment. Wonder down any one of the seedy Soi’s off Soi Bangla and you are subjected to ping-pong shows where ladies show off their talented vagina’s or maybe have your photograph taken with one of the many protected, endangered or illegal animals on offer.
Soi Bangla, as Rihanna pointed out, certainly knows how to scrap the bottom of the barrel in terms of human and animal degradation.
Not to be dissuaded Major General Ong-art Phiwruangnont forecasts a new, vibrant and above all legal destiny for Phuket and this will be achieved with the strong arm of the law.
Here’s how Major General Ong-art Phiwruangnont plans on tackling the existing and growing problems on Phuket.
These have become the bane of Phuket’s tourism and over the years many have tried and failed to dislodge them.
Recently a team from the Department of Special Investigations (DSI) was dispatched to Phuket in order to sort them, and other issues out, once and for all.
Major General Ong-art Phiwruangnont plans a new approach. He’s going to have brochures created and will be handed out to all Phuket businesses so as to warn them about the image of Thailand being destroyed and therefore to not allow the Black Taxis access to visitors.
The greed and intimidation towards tourists needs to stop or, as they are warned in the brochure, they could face legal charges of extortion from the tourists.
Major General Ong-art Phiwruangnont also intends to send in ‘undercover’ cops – those that look like tourists in order to catch Black Taxis who charge extortionate fares. He noted that a number of complaints involved tourists who had been charged 3,000 baht or more for short trips.
Is this much of a plan? Brochures and a few undercover cops?
Again there will be those who feel this is simply the usual rhetoric; window dressing to cover up the ailing tourist industry in Phuket.
Major General Ong-art Phiwruangnont clearly pointed out that under the existing ‘morality’ laws the Government insists that no sex shows should ever be allowed.
Despite his intended crackdown this is likely to go nowhere. Surely there will be the odd arrest and fines but it is most unlikely to change.
Thailand’s tourist industry image is one of sun, sea and very cheap sex and no matter which destination you choose in Thailand, Phuket, Krabi, Koh Samui, Pattaya or Bangkok it is all much of the same – booze, massage and sex.
It was of course only recently that the outgoing commander was asked about the sex shows in Patong of which he told reporters that after several investigations he, and his team of highly trained officers, were unable to locate such establishments.
Again the issue of changing Phuket’s image from a seedy, alcohol fuel, f*** fest to a destination for high quality tourist is unlikely to change; let alone in just one year.
There isn’t really a mafia on Phuket, according to Major General Ong-art Phiwruangnont. Yes there are a few very wealthy individuals who control a lot of businesses in Phuket but they are not, according to the new commander in control of Phuket or indeed above the law.
This statement is likely to cause a lot of laughs; in fact one of inside sources I spoke to told me…
“Either he is blind, stupid or both. Everyone, even the noodle sellers, knows who controls Phuket and it’s not the police, local authorities or the Governor.
Money rules in Thailand, it’s a class system built upon greed, corruption and murdering those who oppose you.
Phuket, like other tourist destination in Thailand, will continue to thrive on the back-handed payments the police receive to look the other way.
In the meantime tourism will continue to decline to the point where even the Chinese will abandon it; and frankly that’s all Phuket has right now.”
It would appear that Phuket’s police are not in control and in such a regime this can only breed and promote greed and corruption.
Maybe someone should have asked Major General Ong-art Phiwruangnont if the average Thai cop, on minimum wage, was really going to put their life on the line to stop the corruption or take the safer and more profitable route of looking the other way.
Recently Mayor Prab Kessin, after being forced to step down over alleged electoral fraud, spoke out to the media and revealed the corruption of the police and the local authorities. According to Mr. Kessin everyone has their hand in the cookie jar.
However, Major General Ong-art Phiwruangnont rebuts this claim stating the Mr. Kessin is simply angry because he was ousted from a very lucrative position – it’s merely a case of sour grapes.
Major General Ong-art Phiwruangnont did ask reporter why the Media always slated Phuket for being so corrupt; he went on to ask why the Media didn’t publish all the good things about Phuket?
This leads many to ask whether Major General Ong-art Phiwruangnont really has a clue about Phuket and its problems – for there are many articles published on the issues of Phuket, both good and bad.
OK, it could be said that Major General Ong-art Phiwruangnont has a point – there certainly appears more bad news compared to good but that wouldn’t be the case if the local authorities and police actually did the jobs they were paid to do.
From the research I did, that is asking locals, Thai and Foreign, it appears that what Major General Ong-art Phiwruangnont is promoting is nothing but hot air; the usual rhetoric for here is a Major General who will be put out to pasture in just one year.
When Major General Ong-art Phiwruangnont retires next year no doubt the Thai Government will wheel out another soon-to-be retired police general who will almost certainly make the same claims as all the rest; in that Phuket is not corrupt, it is not run by the mafia and it is a clean and safe tourist destination for families of all ages – just don’t ask the kids if they want to play ping-pong.