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PHUKET: As we close out a year in which widespread public complaints against Phuket taxi and tuk-tuk services have dominated local news and made headlines around the world, our editors have this afternoon received a letter which caught our attention.

It comes from a long term foreign resident well and favorably known to the Phuket Gazette. We publish it below as a public service:

“Dear Editor:

On Monday, 27 December, I was taking my girlfriend to Phuket International Airport from Naiharn when my car had a puncture and we were running out of time to catch her flight. I decided to get her a taxi in Chalong.

She asked the driver to please hurry as otherwise she would miss her flight. He demanded 800 baht (US$ 26.00; € 20.00) for the trip.

On the way he drove very slowly and my girlfriend once again asked him to please hurry, whereupon he demanded a further 200 baht to comply with her request.

He then observed that she could afford it as she was with a farang [foreigner]. She protested, saying that she was a salaried person, and she asked why her relationship with a foreigner would have anything to do with the fare.

She ended up forced to pay the additional amount demanded. And she made the flight, but only because its departure had been delayed.

With the total cost of the trip at 1,000 baht (US$ 33.00; € 25.00), I believe the event was a case of extortion.

Sincerely,

Richard Lusted
CEO, Siam Real Estate”