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The head of the Bang Tao jet-ski Club, Surachai Yomlee, has complained that unlicensed jet-ski operators are operating from Bang Tao beach, and have been since November last year. He has also accused “some officials” of colluding with them.
“There are around six or seven jet-ski operators hiring out jet-skis without licenses. Whenever officers from the Marine Office come to check, the operators always disappear.
“We believe there are some people in the Marine Office colluding with these illegal jet-ski operators,” Mr Surachai told The Phuket News.
“If we hold a valid license but others can operate without them, why should we renew our licenses when they expire?” he asked.
He added that last year, some of the unlicensed operators were fined B10,000 for operating license, but following the fines they all obtained valid paperwork.
“The unlicensed operators that have now appeared should follow their example,” he said.
“We had an agreement with the previous governor (Maitree Intusut), that the maximum number of jet-skis on Bangtao beach should be 40.
“However, if more operators are allowed there will be more and more and the management of the past will be useless. Everything will go back to how it was a decade ago.”
“The Marine Office is trying to make the new unlicensed operators legal and put them in our group, but we disagree,” he said.
However, Puripat Theerakulpisut, Chief of the Phuket Marine Office, denied this. He told The Phuket News that the Marine Office has never asked the Bang Tao jet-ski Club to accept more members. Officers are trying to arrest the unlicensed operators but the club has to be more patient, he said.
“We have never asked them to increase the number of members, and we are trying to catch the unlicensed operators.”