Police seek Phuket taxi mafia tips

Phuket police on Monday urged business owners or members of the public extorted or exploited by local "taxi mafia" gangs to come forward with information as a sweeping crackdown moves into a second month.

A combined military-police task force has arrested 113 people allegedly involved with the island's infamous taxi scalpers, unpopular with both local and foreign touriists. The mayor of Karon municipality Tawee Thongchaem, launched the operation on June 4.

Investigators on Monday submitted a 5,558-page investigation report covering 112 taxi mafia-related cases to prosecutors, with a recommendation to indict all the named suspects.  

The task force also asked the Anti-Money Laundering Office (Amlo) to examine evidence that could lead to confiscation of suspects' assets. 

Krajang Suwannarat, deputy commander of Provincial Police Region 8, said the suspects faced different charges of threatening or intimidation, extortion and belonging to a criminal organisation.

“Now the task force is collecting more evidence to prosecute all people involved in the illegally operated, mafia-controlled taxi networks in other areas across Phuket” in addition to the major tourist spots where the initial crackdown was focussed, Pol Maj Gen Krajang said. 

He asked business owners or anyone whose rights had been violated by the gangs to contact and give information to the police and promised “swift and decisive” legal action against the offenders 

“I guarantee that the Provincial Police Region 8 will protect life and property of those acting as informants and witnesses to the best of our ability,“ he said. 

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