Sentiment erupts over illegal “Taxi App Driver” in Kamala
PHUKET – The behavior of Phuket’s taxi drivers is making waves again after a driver at a taxi queue outside a popular pub in Kamala filed a complaint against a taxi service app driver who had come to pick up passengers.
The car in question has been registered to offer taxi services via an app, but the car and driver have yet to be fully registered with the Phuket Land Transport Office (PLTO) to legally offer taxi services.
The driver has submitted an application and the car has been submitted for approval, but the application is currently pending.
The news broke after a video was posted on a popular local social media channel showing two police officers responding to a late-night call outside the Cafe del Mar pub.
The line of taxis in question are the same group of drivers who made headlines in February after one The local taxi driver angrily berated a Thai tourist couple for calling him a scammer. The incident was recorded to go viral on TikTok.
According to the latest post, a group of three to four men approached the car, which was being driven by a woman.
One of the men in the group then hit the car, damaging the app driver’s car. A complaint had been filed against the driver of the taxi app, the post said.
“I DEFENDED MYSELF”
Wilas Soison, 41, the taxi queue driver who was questioned by police in video posted online for damaging the app driver’s car, today defended his actions, saying: “I was only defending myself.”
At the same time, he told reporters that he did not hit the car.
Mr Wilas returned to the taxi queue where the incident happened this afternoon to speak to reporters. He was joined by the PLTO’s Kornphithak Asanasuwan.
According to Mr. Wilas, a potential customer asked him what the fare would be to go to Patong.
“I said B400…. He said he used an app to hail a cab for B200… I wasn’t interested,” Mr Wilas said.
Mr. Wilas did not explain whether the customer was Thai or foreign.
A red car then came to pick up the customer, Mr Wilas said, adding that he could not remember the make or model of the car.
The car made a U-turn to pick up passengers and Mr Wilas said he walked up to it to ask the driver if the car had been ordered through a taxi service app.
Mr Wilas said he stood in front of the car to stop it driving away. He also claimed the car drove forward and hit him.
“I defended myself and an argument started. I didn’t hit the car,” he said.
Mr Wilas said the damage to the car occurred when the car hit him.
Mr. Wilas went to the Kamala Police Station and filed a complaint against the taxi app driver.
“I accepted and paid damages at the police station, the matter is settled,” he said.
However, police have yet to confirm how much Mr Wilas paid for the damage to the car or even exactly what damage was done to the car.
Mr Wilas called on the PLTO to take action against the driver for illegally operating a vehicle as a taxi, a practice made famous in Phuket’s tourism industry over the past two decades as “black cabs”.
Mr Kornphithak said the PLTO is investigating the incident and stands ready to take legal action against the taxi app driver.
According to the law, private vehicles cannot be used for taxi services, he said.
Following another incident involving “taxi group” drivers who disrupted a legitimate, fully registered taxi picking up tourists at Ratsada Pier earlier last month after the tourists ordered the taxi through an app, PLTO chief Adcha Buachan threatened to go along with it the full effect of the law against independent taxi drivers using vehicles that are not registered as commercial passenger vehicles.
The warning came two days before Phuket Deputy Governor Amnuay Rodkwan Yodrabham told a meeting of Phuket taxi companies that Phuket taxi drivers must improve their behavior to protect Phuket’s image as a tourist destination.
According to local police in Kamala, their involvement in the matter has ended.