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Army chief vows to get rid of ‘powerful Phuket mafia’

May 06. 2017
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By Phuket Gazette

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The new Army Region 4 commander has announced his agenda for Phuket, ticking off a list of at least a dozen problems he feels need urgent resolution.

During his visit to Phuket last week, Lt-General Piyawat Nakwanit said he was “generally satisfied with the state of tourism in Phuket”, but that getting rid of “powerful people” and officers who undertake their duties illegally would set the island province on the path to progress.

“Our biggest priority should be to stop ‘mafia’ and other so-called powerful people from using their influence to benefit themselves illegally at the expense of others. It is imperative that we get rid of these people,” the general said.

Several government and private-sector officers joined the meeting at Phuket Provincial Hall, where the issues under discussion ranged from beach management, public transport management and public land encroachment, to human trafficking, immigration, illegal tour guides and security.

One of the major issues Piyawat focused on was public land encroachment. Another issue discussed was airport management.

Piyawat discussed a number of problem areas, such as driving licences, the dress of public transport drivers, parking area management, checking the condition of vehicles and adjusting the prices of public transport.

The general said that every vehicle and driver to enter and exit the airport should be screened for security. 

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