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Phuket Task Force Initiates 400 Cases Against Foreigners

Phuket's newly established special task force has initiated around 400 criminal cases against foreign nationals for various misconduct incidents, revealed Phuket Governor Sophon Suwannarat.

The task force, implemented a month ago in response to a series of incidents involving foreigners, notably the case of a Swiss man who assaulted a Thai doctor on Yamu Beach in February, has taken firm action. Governor Sophon emphasized that close to 100 foreigners have had their visas revoked for the sake of public safety.

Deputy Commander of Phuket Provincial Police, Pol Col Patsakorn Sonthikul, reported an incident involving an Austrian national identified as Gernot Leoben, 59. Leoben allegedly put a taxi driver, Wutthiporn Chaimongkol, in a headlock while en route from Phuket Airport to tambon Chalong. According to Chaimongkol, the altercation began after he instructed Leoben not to smoke inside the vehicle. This action led to the taxi colliding with another car on Thep Kasattree Road, with Chaimongkol seeking help from bystanders and the other driver, Thanongsak Sonpetch. The Austrian passenger was subsequently arrested for assault.

In another development, US Ambassador Robert Godec met with Phuket's governor to discuss tourist safety measures. Their talks also focused on ensuring that foreign visitors adhere to Thai laws and respect local customs.


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