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The Pegas form, produced on a photocopier, appears to be an attempt to deter customers from dealing with other companies in Phuket.
It warns, in three languages, Thai, English and Russian that the company is “not responsible at the conclusion of your contracts with third legal entities and individuals. In case of acquisition of tourist trips from third parties in the event of problems and issues associated with failure or providing false information about the service and security guarantees, we recommend direct claims against third parties, performers under a contract of service tour.”
In the top left corner it carries prominently the logo of the Tourist Police with, underneath, the inscription, “Dec 2010: TPD celebrate Christmas at Royal Phawadee Village, Patong Beach hotline: 1155”
After seeing a copy of the form, Pol Maj Urumporn Koondejsumrit, Inspector of Phuket and Phang Nga Tourist Police, told The Phuket News, “I’ve never seen this before. But it is not the right thing to do.
“Our logo can be printed to promote our hotline number, for the safety of tourists. But it doesn’t mean we will allow anyone to put our logo on their official paper.”
Asked about laws barring the use of official logos for commercial benefit, or in a way that may lead to misunderstanding, he said “I have to check the relevant law.”
Maj Urumporn also urged people to be aware that real official documents must be properly approved. “Every single paper issue by us must have a signature of an officer and their name. If not, it is an incomplete document and has no legal validity.”
A senior manager of Pegas, who asked not to be named, denied flatly that the company had issued the document, theorising that it might have been created by a competitor to make Pegas look bad.
Mr Nikorn Yatinunt, a legal adviser to Pegas Turistik, told The Phuket News, “We have never issued a paper like this. Normally, every document issued by Pegas will use our logo with our address at the top.
“I don’t know how this paper came to be issued. I had heard about it but I had not seen a copy until you provided it to us,” he added.
“This is a very serious matter for us because it could lead to the company being discredited,” he said.
He also added that Pegas had problems recently in Pattaya where cheats were passing themselves off as Pegas and getting paid for tour packages that they then did not deliver.
“The number of Russian tourists booking for the upcoming high season is down [compared with last year] so maybe everyone wants to steal our customers, or guides want to deal with customers directly,” Mr Nikorn explained.
“I will search for more information about this, and report it to the Tourist Police. It damages our image and theirs, too,” he said.
He insisted repeatedly that Pegas had not issued the letter, adding, “If anyone can provide us with information about how the document was released or how customer received it, that would be useful.”
Alerted by Pegas, Col Jirapop Puridech, Tourist Police Region 5 Superintendent, called The Phuket News to get more detail on how it came by the paper.
“For sure, we are not involved with any companies and we don’t allow them to use our logo on their documents,” Col Jirapop said. “At this point, I am assuming that Pegas never issued that document, or that maybe their staff did this by themselves without informing management.
“It is not right to use the Tourist Police logo on a contract,” he said.
He added that he had assigned Maj Urumporn to investigate the issue.
“This is a very serious matter that might damage the image of the Tourist Police.”
The document has been the subject of a great deal of discussion on Russian social media, says Anton Makhrov, Managing Editor of Novisti Phuketa newspaper.