Thai authorities crack down on Phuket taxi mafia


PHUKET, Aug 22 – Thailand’s Department of Special Investigation (DSI) has announced it will act against criminal syndicates operating illegal taxi businesses in this tourist-oriented southern resort province and arrest members of the first racket within a month.

Somboon Sarasit, the police agency’s Special Criminal Case commander, DSI disclosed the names of 11 mafia organisations with black-plate taxi operations in Phuket who have harassed and intimidated tourists.

He said DSI has sufficient evidence to take legal action against a group of people operating one of the syndicates.

Meeting with officials on the taxi mafia problem yesterday, Tourism and Sport Minister Somsak Purisrisak called on the authorities to crack down on the black-plated taxi rackets which are detrimental to the tourism industry.

He said the issue would be solved at the prime minister’s order.

Wuthi Liptapanlop, an advisor to the National Police Bureau, said halting criminal acts in tourism areas will be high on the police agenda in four cities – Pattaya, Samui, Phuket and Chiang Mai.

Criminal activities in Phuket including drug trafficking, infringement of intellectual property and illegal taxi business must be solved, if not completely, within 45 days, he said.