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Police bid to smash taxi mafia

POLICE CONTINUED their campaign yesterday to smash Phuket's notorious taxi and tuk-tuk cartels by destroying illegal taxi stands in Cherng Talay, Kata-Karon and Kamala.

Unlike the mass raids on Wednesday, when 73 drivers were arrested, no soldiers from the Fourth Army Area Command in Nakhon si Thammarat were present to provide military support.

An estimated 500 officers began in Cherng Talay, where an illegal taxi stand in front of the high-end Twin Palms resort at Surin Beach was torn down.

Lt Gen Panya Mamen, Commander of the Royal Thai Police Region 8 division, who is spearheading the assault on Phuket's transport mafia, told the Phuket Gazette his goal was to rid the island of taxi and tuk-tuk cartels by attacking them at the grassroots level - on the streets. Also targeted in the crackdown are the kickbacks that taxi and tuk-tuk drivers receive for bringing tourists to specific shops, where visitors are overcharged for items.

Gen Panya told the press on Wednesday that kickback-ripoff scams in Phuket had cost the island's economy an estimated Bt500 million since 2009.


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