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After Coup

Army's move against Rama IX illegal motorbike stand hailed

THE CHIEF of the Association of Taxi Motorcyclists of Thailand yesterday hailed the Army's inspection of motorcycle taxi stands in the Rama IX area, some of which are reportedly illegal and allegedly backed by a "big fish".

Association chief Chalerm Changthongmadan told a FM97 news show yesterday that Maj-General Apirat Khongsompong, commander of the Army's 1st Division, was initially scheduled to inspect the motorbike taxi stands at Soi Lat Phrao 101 but instead decided to check the area near Central Rama IX mall.

Chalerm claimed that he and legally registered motorcycle taxis had filed a complaint with then-Bangkok police chief Pol Maj-General Camronwit Toopgrajank about the illegal taxi stand in Soi Ratchada II, adding that the illegal motorbike taxi operators also assaulted them.

"But the illegal stand was backed by a politician. I was also told not to touch it, but I insisted on the rights of the legal stand to be observed," he said, adding that the Army might tackle this case and use it as an example.

Chalerm said he agreed with the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) policy to legalise all unauthorised stands, provided it did not affect the existing legal ones.

Meanwhile, Apirat, along with acting Bangkok police chief Pol Lt-General Chakthip Chaijinda, inspected the Rama IX stands yesterday.

Apirat said he would be reporting the results and the problems to the NCPO soon, adding that he had information about 30 influential figures. He also confirmed that these individuals were officials and would face investigation and disciplinary action.

He also called on the taxi motorcyclists to have work ethics, dress politely and not take advantage of passengers. He also warned them not to turn into shady figures themselves. There are 4,500 legal motorcycle taxi stands in Bangkok, 700 stands are pending registration and some 500 are illegal.


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