It seems the Phuket “taxi mafia” are at it again, with a Grab driver claiming taxi drivers stationed at Patong’s Tri Trang Beach Hotel deliberately damaged his car. Phuket’s taxi cabal have conducted a decades-long war against any additions or alternatives to public transport in Phuket with a protectionist racket that regularly bullies any new competition.
According to a Phuket News report, Thanawanta Wannaphat says he had just dropped off some customers at the hotel on Muen Ngoen Road when a group of taxi drivers started shouting taunts at him.
Thanawanta says one man then knocked on his window and asked him what he was doing, to which the Grab driver replied that he had just dropped off some customers and was not there to pick anyone up.
He says that after he left, he developed problems with the back right wheel of his car and, on checking the tyre, saw that there were 3 objects that looked like nails lodged in there. The driver notified Patong Police, who sent 2 officers to meet with him. He subsequently filed an official complaint at the police station and also lodged a complaint with the management of the hotel.
Thanawanta acknowledges that he has no proof the taxi drivers deliberately punctured his tyre but he believes the man who spoke to him was doing so to distract him while the act of sabotage took place.
He says he has previously refused to pick customers up from the Tri Trang Beach Hotel, due to the risk of intimidation from taxi drivers in the area. However, he had assumed that as he was only dropping people off, it would not be a problem. Thanawanta is urging the authorities to do something to address the ongoing issue.
“I would like to leave a message to the government officials because now the situation is starting to get violent. Please help to fix the problem. Let there be no violent conflicts.”
The police have confirmed that the driver is legally registered with both the Grab and Hello Phuket transport apps.
Earlier this week, Move Forward MP Somchart Techathavorncharoen met with the authorities in Phuket to discuss the issue of “mafia” taxi drivers.
SOURCE: The Phuket News