The bizarre, and probably unworkable, “Yellow-Red” card scheme, cooked up by Phuket police officials two weeks ago, immediately vanished from the news – mostly accompanied by foreign doubters and critics on social media.
The card system, if implemented, would have recognised unlawful acts by foreigners with a yellow card and kicked them out of the country. More than one offence, presumably a red card, and they wouldn’t be able to return. For those not aware of the English Football penalty system, the Phuket police appear inspired by the umpires using yellow and red cards as warnings for errant players.
In the original proposal there was no explanation of how the penalties would be dispensed and if alleged law breakers could take the matters to court.
At the time the police were suggesting that something as simple (and regular) as not wearing a bike helmet could earn the bare-headed rider a one way trip to the airport. The details were sketchy and haven’t been made more plausibly clear since.
Until last Thursday.
The Consul of France in Thailand, Mr. Christophe Hemmings, headed to the Phuket Provincial Police Commander, Major General Sermpan Sirikong, to discuss French tourists breaking laws and causing “legal problems” in the area. The meeting took place on Thursday, March 9.
Over recent weeks a number of French citizens have made unscheduled and unwelcome appearances in local media, mostly relating to attacks, motorbike ‘gangs’ marauding around Patong making noise, and numerous smaller offences.
According to The Phuket Express, Mr. Hemmings started by expressed “his admiration” for the Phuket police and urged them to take serious legal action against French nationals who were breaking local laws, particularly on the roads and by being public nuisances. He also backed the controversial “Yellow-Red Card” system, where the names of offenders would be listed with the Thai Immigration Office, and them passed on to French police to potentially take further action against them when they returned to France.
Mr. Hemmings emphasised that the French embassy was concerned with France’s image in Phuket and Thailand and wanted French and other national tourists to follow Thai laws to prevent problems. He also noted that most French expats living in Phuket were law-abiding, while those causing problems were often French tourists on short holidays.
Major General Sermpan welcomed the co-operation, stating that there’d and yellow warning cards were still under consideration.
“We are still considering proposals for listing names under a so-called red and yellow card proposal.”
At this stage the laws that would be included in any yellow or red card system have not been clarified or if there would be a system of redress for people that wanted to challenge their earning “cards” that would leave them sent out of, or banned’ from Thailand.
Given that the court system can take many months and that a link between the databases of the police and immigration offices would have to be devised, it is unlikely that anything will happening soon.