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Officials on Tuesday clarified the rules for paying government compensation to tourists who are victims of crime, accidents or disasters of one kind or another.
They were addressing a query by Pornphan Sittichaivijit, Honorary Consul for Norway, at a meeting at the Phuket Garden Hotel between honorary consuls and Governor Nisit Jansomwong.
Mrs Pornphan cited cases when tourists were raped. Most would be taken directly to Vachira Phuket Hospital and after that want to leave the country as soon as possible. If the consul is not notified there is no way to know about the crime.
Gov Nisit said that he would tell all hospitals, especially Vachira Phuket, that they must report injuries from crimes to the Tourist Assistance Centre, which will then contact the relevant honorary consul, and the police.
Santi Pawai, director of Tourism and Sports Authority of Thailand said, “We will consider each event case by case. For example, we compensated the Italian journalist [Tony Papaleo] who was stabbed in Phuket [by a group of teenage thugs on July 3 last year].
“But in some cases, we don’t have clear evidence.” Without clear checkable evidence, he said, no compensation will be paid.
Non-criminal incidents in which tourists die, are injured or lose valuables, will be treated on a case-by-case basis, he said.
He added that in cases when the tourist has been the victim of a crime and wants to claim compensation, they must obtain a case number from the police.
Mrs Pornphan said, “But if we need to wait for the police to release the case number it may be too late; the victims may already have gone home.
“For example, there have been many cases of people staying in Phuket but visiting Krabi and falling victim to criminals there. The police in Phuket told them to go back to Krabi to lodge a complaint. How could they do that?”
The police representative at the meeting replied, “Even if the case happens in Krabi, Phuket police are obliged to register the complaint. If they don’t, you can come to the Phuket Provincial Police [offices].”
However, a police investigation officer explained to The Phuket News today, on condition of anonymity, that things are not quite that simple.
Although a victim may be able to file an initial complaint in a police station away from where the crime occurred, if they want to pursue the case, get a case number and claim compensation they will be required to go back to the scene of the crime to meet local investigators and give their version of the events.
He added that case numbers are not allocated immediately a complaint is made. First, the police have to look into the case to see whether, in their opinion, it merits a full investigation.
Police also have to bear in mind that a police station’s performance is evaluated partly on how many case numbers it issues.