In a face saving move Thailand has stepped up safety for tourist safety after German media reported scams are widespread in Thailand. The Interior Ministry has instructed agencies to tighten tourist security because of the German TV show Achtung Abzocke.
The TV show highlighted scams such as taxis charging excessive fares; overpriced products and services; gangs selling fake rail tickets and driving licenses; and people also pretending to be tourist police, said Ronnakit Ekkasingh, deputy mayor of the Pattaya.
Mr Ronnakit was commenting at a meeting to discuss measures to ensure tourist safety. Present were the Tourism Authority of Thailand’s Pattaya office; tourism associations; tourist police and immigration police.
Mr Ronnakit said Pattaya has an annual tourism income of more than 270 billion baht from 18 million visitors. Of them, 10 million are foreign travellers, he said. Adding it is important to come up with measures to keep them safe.
He said the meeting agreed to integrate the work of agencies to prepare for the tourist high-season. Also with a command centre to be set up near Bali Hai Pier in southern Pattaya.
Joint emergency response drills will be held to prepare against; crimes, floods and fires, as well as accidents on land and at sea, he said. Adding measures will also be put in place to ensure tourists receive fairly-priced services and goods.
In the past, the Pattaya Special Administration considered setting up a joint safety centre. However the plan was scrapped due to concerns that the location and the centre might also affect the environment.
Police say Serious Crimes Rare in Pattaya
Pol Maj Gen Worapong Thongpaiboon, chief of Tourist Police Division 1, said there are many complaints about scams in Pattaya. However serious crimes against visitors are rare.
“Most cases involve brawls in the streets between foreigners,” he told the Bangkok Post.
He said closed-circuit television cameras have been installed in Pattaya to boost safety and more are on the way.
He also said tourist police will work with other agencies to ensure tourist safety along Pattaya beach. Starting from 10pm to 4am every day. The beach will be divided into three separate patrol zones, he said.
The first zone begins from the Dusit School to Pattaya Klang intersection.
The second zone is from Pattaya Klang intersection to Mike Shopping Mall. The third from Mike Shopping Mall to Pattaya Walking Street. A unit of nine officers will be deployed in each zone. This will also boost safety for tourists and help prevent scams, starting tomorrow, Pol Maj Gen Worapong said.