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At 8am on June 26th the Provincial Court in Koh Samui welcomed visitors and dignitaries to witness the grand opening of the new tourist court. As well as the Major of Koh Samui and the local chief of court and the court secretary from Bangkok the British, French and Australian honorary consul’s were in attendance. The Australian honorary consul ,in the absence of representations from New Zealand and Canada the Australian honorary consul also looks after the citizens of these two countries. United States of America was represented by a warden.
The court has been opened to enable tourists who have cases that need to be dealt with in court to swear their testimony before they return back to their home countries allowing cases to be tried that may not otherwise reach the courts due to the time constraints of the tourists holiday time scale.
The court hope to be able to take sworn testimony from tourists the within one working day of any incident that might occur. If a tourist is involved in a road traffic accident, assault, serious assault, sexual assault or robbery they are advised to report the incident to the local police where the incident took place, it is important to note that tourist will not be able to report a crime with police in Bangkok or back in their home countries. Once the report has been made the victim will be escorted for any medical treatment required. The following day they will be escorted to the court where they can give a sworn statement. If the suspect has been caught on the same day he or she will have their first hearing. From this point on the victim will be able to travel home and the suspect will be tried in their absence, even if at this stage they have not been apprehended.
Many crimes in the past have gone unpunished due to victims having to return home or being unwilling to stay after an upsetting crime. The new system will ensure that the perpetrators of crimes against tourist will be tried and convicted if guilty rather than being allowed to commit a similar crime in the future and go unpunished when the victim leaves the country.
History of the Koh Samui Provincial Court
Before the establishment of Koh Samui Provincial Court, crimes and disputes on Koh Samui and Koh Phangan districts were under the jurisdiction of Surat Thani Provincial Court in Surat Thani province. However, the islands geography made travelling to the mainland and official communication inconvenient, especially during the monsoon season.
Therefor the Ministry of Justice deemed it appropriate to establish koh Samui Provincial Court in Koh Samui district to facilitate and assist local residents who have judicial needs.
Koh Samui Provincial court was officially opened on 7th of August 2006. Its jurisdiction covers all criminal and civil cases whose course of action is in Koh Samui and Koh Phangan districts. On 7th August 2008 Suratthani Juvenlie and Family court (Koh Samui) came into force using Koh Samui Provincial Court’s building. Its jurisdiction covers juvenile and family cases whose ground of action is Koh Samui and Koh Phangan district.