On January 3rd 2013, around 100 tuk tuk & taxi drivers blocked the street in front of the new Karon Police Station. They did so in protest at the increasing number of illegal Russian Tour operators doing business in the Kata/Karon area. It is alleged that the Russian tour operators have banned tuk tuk services, and therefore all Karon tuk-tuk drivers are suffering.
Due to the blockade on 4th January 2013, Mr.Somkiet Sangkhaosutthirak – Vice Governor of Phuket chaired a meeting at Karon Municipality aimed at resolving the conflict.
There are three aspects which needed to be resolved:
1. Massage workers, an occupation reserved for Thai people, now has some foreigner workers. Mr.Somkiet ordered to the Employment Office not to allow foreign into this occupation as it is strictly prohibited.
2. Unreserved occupations for Thai people such as tour desk operators. Mr.Somkiet gave policies to the relevant authorities; The Employment Office and the Commercial and Tourist Guide Office are to be stricter on licensing. The amount of foreigners allowed to do should be in proportion with local people as there is now a growing conflict between local people and foreigners.
3. The suggestion of tourist companies allowing the use of local tuk-tuks and taxis. This is a delicate matter. The agencies involved will need to study possible solutions.