Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Thailand: Update--Roadway Carnage Continues as Gov't Refuses to Crack Down on Enforcement

As most of our readers know from my countless postings over the years concerning the Thai government's ineffective enforcement of motorbike and motorbike rental operations which in actuality border on mafia-like operations.

According to http://www.phuketwan.com, the deaths of a Chinese national, as well as a resident of Hong Kong, in separate collisions earlier this month raise a continuing "red flag" of inadequate traffic enforcement, not to mention deficient tourism enforcement.

Qin Jian, the Chinese Consul-General in Songkhla, told
Phuketwan that another Chinese tourist remained in Vachira Phuket Hospital's intensive care unit, recovering from a motorcycle "accident."
The Hong Kong resident was killed in a motorcycle crash in the Chalong area in southern Phuket. The decedent's wife, who was also seriously injured, is now back in Hong Kong. Her husband's remains have also been repatriated.

In the same week, a tourist from the mainland was killed when he crashed a motorcycle in Thalang, Qin Jian emphasized. 

COMMENT: The Governor of Phuket, Maitree Intrusud, has asked police and other authorities to let him know when tourists or expats are involved in incidents, yet there is no provision for such incidents to be made public. 

In May, former Chinese Ambassador Guan Mu made a public plea for Phuket authorities to better protect tourists after a spate of snorkeling day-trip drownings. 

One Chinese citizen was killed when struck by a speedboat propeller at scenic Pileh Bay, near Phi Phi on June 19. Two Chinese tourists died in a speedboat crash at Pattaya on August 28. 

Tourists from other countries have also drowned or been killed or maimed in motorcycle crashes.  

For years, Phuket's Public Health Department issued monthly statistical updates on Phuket's roadway accidents and drownings, then suddenly, without explanation, the monthly reporting ended in April 2012, ostensibly because the voluminous victims were becoming an "eye sore" for the Thai government.

As I have emphasized in the past, the Thai government should promptly do the following where motorcycle and motorbike rentals are concerned:

1. Acknowledge that "enforcers" are used to extort large sums of money from tourists who rent motorcycles, motorbikes and jet-skis, to the detriment of foreign tourists;

2. Take steps to award contracts to reputable, legitimate business entities that are not affiliated with a criminal element;

3. Prohibit foreign tourists from renting motorcycles and motorbikes UNLESS they possess a valid license from another country that authorizes them to operate a two-wheeled motorized vehicle; 

4. Require that ALL licensed motorbike and motorcycle operators wear protective helmets at all times; and

5. Establish Royal Thai police traffic check points to use breathalyzers to ensure that two-wheeled, motorized vehicle operators do not exceed the maximum blood alcohol level in Thailand for operating a motor vehicle.