Hotels are unwelcoming. In the massage parlours, everyone is tense. Down Walking Street, in the girly bars, excitement is high and the air is filled with fearful chatter. The girls are aquiver in anticipation. The Russian ‘brotherhood’ (bratva) stealing Phuket jobs is bringing a whole new style of beatings and rapes to Thailand’s peaceful brothels. How will the new regime of violence and exploitation compare to the old-school Thai versions?
Phuket, the gangster paradise
Phuket is besieged by foreign gangs. They call themselves mafias – or at least the media does – but they are certainly not. Mafia means something. These “groups” are nothing more than gangs of thugs on the resort island to help the locals with their accounts.
The hospitality industry is worried. Executives are concerned that foreigners are exploiting laws to run businesses while taking up jobs meant for local people.
Isn’t Phuket already an enclaved of overseas money launderers, slavers, pimps, tax dodgers and traffickers in a spectrum of legality? They’ve been there a long time.
Once one of the most beautiful places in the world, Phuket today is more than a national embarrassment, it’s a matter of global shame.
Thai crime for Thai people
The last wave of occupiers – welcomed with open legs by poor politicos who now live in millionaire pool villas – destroyed more or less anything that was good on the island. The ecosystem is destroyed, the forests have been destroyed, local culture has been destroyed, and the soil has been destroyed. All the birds and animals are dead. The beaches are filthy, plastic-strewn and over-crowded.
Speaking about tourism in the three Andaman provinces, Kata Group Resorts founder Pramookpisitt Achariyachai said some foreigners were breaching rules on jobs reserved for Thais. A small surprise considering that every news source in Thailand carries stories about labour shortages every day.
Thai people, apparently, simply don’t want these “bullshit” jobs, but we don’t want foreign crooks running our criminal enterprises for it either.
Taken for a ride
Businesses dominated by groups of questionable foreigners include the taxi business, which is barely a business at all. The taxi business in Phuket consists of gangs of drivers fighting for the right to rip visitors off, not the Russian brotherhood stealing Phuket jobs. And that’s how all taxi businesses in the world function: Locals killing locals for a few bucks. No Chechens necessary, just add meth.
Pramookpisitt is worried about accommodation, with foreigners renting villas and condo units abandoned during the Covid-19 pandemic and then renting them out again. What do you expect? Hotels have tripled room rates since the beginning of December: rooms that were empty and not worth 500 baht in November are now typically empty and not worth 1,500 baht.
They were mostly Russians, Pramookpisitt added. Well, they would be, wouldn’t they? If they weren’t Russians, they would be Indians, Nigerians, or Chinese. Or Polish. Nicaraguan. They would be Grab and Airbnb.
Pramookpisitt is concerned that foreign groups may take control of the island, similar to what happened in Pattaya a couple of decades ago.
‘Thais will not tolerate it
Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn said…
“I’m certain most Thais will not tolerate it if foreigners are trying to steal their jobs.”
Phiphat also acknowledged other issues in the three Andaman provinces – Phuket, Krabi, and Koh Pha Ngan residents and tourists alike complain of insufficient public transport, but nothing can be done about that while Thai mafias control taxis, vans and bike hire.
Despite billion upon billion of any currency you wish to name flooding into Phuket every year, the roads are in an appalling state and traffic congestion is dismal. That wasn’t caused by the Russian brotherhood stealing Phuket jobs, that was caused by Thai people with no delusions whatsoever.
Low occupancy rates among (overcharging) small hotels are also a concern even as the tourism economy is starting to revive. Phiphat said the plans to push Phuket as the centre of the Andaman provinces and promote Ko Pha Ngan, and Krabi as low-carbon city destinations focused on eco-tourism.