Phuket airport taxi driver banned for drug use and road rage

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PHUKET: A Phuket taxi driver has had his license revoked after testing positive for drug use following a road rage incident in Kathu last night.

Kornphithak Assuwan of the Phuket Provincial Land Transport Office (PLTO) confirmed the news to Kathu Police Station this morning, a report from the Phuket Office of the Public Relations Department (PR Phuket) said earlier in the day (11 october).

The taxi driver was called Jirasak Raiyai, 33 years old.

Referring to Jirasak as a “public service driver”, Mr Kornphithak acknowledged that the incident became known after a video clip of Jirsak’s behavior was posted online.

Jirasak’s license was revoked due to evidence of drug addiction, he said.

Jirasak will also be fined not more than 5,000 baht for the vulgar language he used during the incident, he added.

Kathu Police Chief Colonel Rungrit Ratanaphakdi confirmed that Jirasak had been charged after testing positive for a Category 1 narcotic (methamphetamine).

Jirasak was also charged with driving a vehicle under the influence.

Video posted online showed Jirsak abusing a man who asked him to calm down after abusing drivers of other vehicles for not getting out of his way as they waited at a red light at the busy intersection from Si Kor to Kathu.

The man who recorded the video, Passakorn Sirichuchot, also asked the taxi driver why he behaved so rudely to other drivers when they were just waiting for the light to turn green.

The taxi driver replied, “I’m Phuket [person]. Where do you come from? Don’t come here.

Mr Passakorn stressed that the people of Phuket did not want to let such behavior destroy the image of people in Phuket, so he called the police.

The taxi driver, even angrier, got out of his vehicle and unleashed a tirade of vulgar abuse at Mr Passakorn before getting back into his taxi, shouting obscenities about Mr Passkorn’s mother and then driving off .

“The taxi driver was in a hurry. He was trying to pass the red light, but there were other vehicles in front of him,” Mr Passakorn later told reporters.

Jirasak was trying to turn left towards Phuket Town, but the lane was blocked by vehicles waiting for a red light, he added.

“He opened his window and scolded the drivers of the other cars. There was a motorcycle in front of him, and he moved his car to clear the motorcycle. The motorcyclist moved his motorbike, but other cars still blocked his way,” he continued.

“I cautioned him and told him he was obnoxious, but he just angrily responded and shouted, ‘I’m a Phuketian,'” he added.

The taxi involved bore the logo of one of the cooperatives which have the exclusive right to pick up passengers at Phuket airport.

The taxi also bore the legally required sticker advising people of the 1584 taxi hotline.

The taxi also bore the official sticker confirming the vehicle was an approved SHA+ taxi, as required to operate during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It should be noted that today’s statements to the press from the police and the PLTO made no mention of the random drug tests on taxi drivers operating at Phuket airport launched in July in the hope of having the airport declared a “white airport” and boosting tourist confidence. that they get a “clean” driver.

Additional reporting by Eakkapop Thongtub

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