A driver for a ride-hailing service (app-based taxi booking) is in hospital after being violently assaulted while picking up a passenger in Phuket. A bitter rivalry continues between Phuket’s legacy taxi ‘mafia’ and the new app-based taxi services on offer.
The Phuket Express reports that the man, named only as 25 year old Mr A, claims he was attacked by a number of men as he was trying to pick up a customer at a beach club in Cherngtalay.
Mr A says he is a fully licenced, legal taxi driver and was responding to a passenger who had booked his services through a legal ride-hailing mobile app.
When he arrived at the beach club where his customer was waiting, he says he was approached by a man who demanded to know which app he worked for. The man then allegedly told him he had to wait for his passenger on a road outside the beach club area. The driver had to then call his customer to share the revised meeting location.
It is at this point, according to a police report filed by Mr A, that he felt his taxi being hit from behind. He then saw two men holding wooden sticks walking towards him. When he got out of the car, he says the men asked him, “do you understand?” and then proceeded to hit him.
Mr A says another man hit him in the back four times with a wooden stick, then pushed him back into his vehicle.
Mr A sustained serious injuries to his ribs and lung and took himself to a Phuket hospital initially. However, he then asked to be moved to a hospital in his hometown of Trang, out of concerns for his safety.
Cherngtalay Police are investigating the incident, with reports in some Thai media outlets that two men allegedly involved in the assault have turned themselves in.
SOURCE: The Phuket Express