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Pattaya Daily News

29 January 2013 :: 14:01:25 pm 71109

Phuket taxi driver attacks Russian business

One of the leaders of the anti-Russian mob that attacked a Russian tour agency in Bang Tao this afternoon (January 28) says he ripped down the agency’s sign in protest against Russian businesses he says are undercutting the local market.
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Thai taxi driver Kalip Panan pulled down the shop sign belonging to Alex Tour, a Russian-owned tour agency in Bang Tao, after being encouraged to by other locals.

No Russians were present at this afternoon’s protest – only Thai businesspeople carrying signs saying “Alex Tour get out” and “Russian business get out”. Several other tour agencies – Thai owned but that have Russian employees – were also closed this afternoon.

The owners of Alex Tour were contacted by Russian-language newspaper Novosti Phuketa but were not willing to talk to the media.

Mr Kalip said he was angry about Russians doing business in the area, because they were charging lower prices than their Thai counterparts, and also attracting tourists who spoke the Russian language.

They were taking business and jobs away from the local Thai people, including in the taxi, laundry and restaurant businesses, the protestors said. Some Russians were even being hired as waiters and waitresses, they said.

“Whenever Russian tourists walk past, they go to the Russian-speaking businesses. The Russian businesspeople speak about the Thai people in a bad way – they say our services are expensive and we cheat people out of their money, and we have bad manners.

“So how can we keep living here? I have to do something to protect the rights of the local people,” he told The Phuket News.

Another protestor said he didn’t like the fact the Russian restaurant workers would also offer tour packages to customers when they visited the restaurants.

“We do not want the Russian businesses to operate in Bang Tao,” he said.

One of the representatives of the Thai group gave officials a letter of concern, outlining their problems.

Deputy Phuke tProvincial Commander Pol Col ArunKeawwati, Mayor of Cherng Thalay Ma-Ann Samran, and Cherng Talay Pol Col ChanuchanCholsuwat attended the protest.

Mr Ma-Ann said it was unlikely the Alex Tour company would open again, “because the local people don’t want to see them anymore”.

“I think it will be better if everyone concerned comes to the meeting this afternoon to talk about the problem,” he told the crowd.

This afternoon the protestors were expected to meet with officials to discuss their concerns.

View the original story on The Phuket News here.

Category : Thailand News

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