Since 2008 Pattaya also has a few dozen air-conditioned metered taxis or “taxi meters” that can be chartered at major shopping malls and hotels around Pattaya. They are part of the same consortium that operates the city’s Baht buses and were supposed to be a reasonable alternative to the hundreds of blue pick-up tin monsters that roam the streets of Pattaya 24/7 and will usually just follow designated routes.
But what’s in a name? Despite their labeling as “metered taxis”, drivers of the blue-yellow cabs will actually never turn on the meters but passengers have to negotiate fares individually. That obviously contradicts the very idea of a “metered” taxi and is reportedly to change in the very near future.
Pattaya One reports:
Complaints from tourists and others that use the taxis include problems with drivers not activating the meters and overcharging for journeys. Some drivers refuse fares for no apparent reason and others take their passengers to the wrong destination. It was also mentioned that some taxis are in poor condition and some drivers are extremely rude.
Following a “barrage of complaints received by the Prime Minister’s Office,” police have now reportedly ordered an overhaul of how the misnamed metered taxis operate, reportedly not just in Pattaya but also five other tourist destinations, including Chiang Mai, Koh Samui and Phuket. The revolutionary idea is that the drivers, believe it or not, actually turn on the meters and do not charge overpriced flat rates any longer.
The Thai cabinet has reportedly made a last-minute decision Monday to raise the cigarette excise tax “at midnight Tuesday.” As a result of the unforeseen tax hike, local media report, the price for a pack of cigarettes will increase by a whopping 5-10 Baht a pack.
Thai authorities expect the tax rise to “add an estimated 12 billion baht in government revenue for the remaining period of this fiscal year.” And while the hike is officially aimed at reducing cigarette consumption in Thailand, let’s assume that an extra 12 billion Baht in tax revenue from smoking are nonetheless an acceptable gift.
As for details of the tax increase, the Bangkok Post quote a government house source as saying that
cigarette brands taxed in terms of value hit a ceiling of 90% of ex-factory price, while those taxed in terms of volume face a rise of 1.1 baht per gramme from 1 baht per gramme (…)
For want of real crime on the streets of Pattaya, or so it seems, more than 50 military and police officers busted a group of elderly foreigners for playing bridge Monday night. The raid took place at a rented second-floor room above a restaurant in South Pattaya, which the 32 elderly foreigners regularly use to play the popular card game bridge.
All 32 were arrested and fined 5,000 Baht each after 12 hours in custody. According to the Bangkok Post, “one woman remained in jail after she refused to sign a report saying he [?] was caught gambling.” The oldest suspect is reportedly 84 years old.
Mostly elderly British expats, all members of the the Jomtien & Pattaya Bridge Club, reportedly meet at the venue three times a week to indulge in some harmless card playing. And while they’re all no gamblers and “no money was changing hands” Monday night, police uncovered – and used – an 81-year-old Thai law to clamp down on the regular meetings.
Sounds like a bad joke? Unfortunately it isn’t. Pattaya One report that
over 50 officers stormed the premises and found 8 tables and 32 foreign nationals, consisting of 26 men and 6 women who were playing the popular card game “Bridge”.
No money was changing hands, however the officers scoured the law books and found an offense was being committed and therefore the alleged organizer of the event, Mr. Jeremy Watson, aged 74, from the UK was detained for further questioning.
The offense relates to Section 8 of the Playing Cards Act of 1935 which states that an individual is not allowed to possess more than 120 playing cards at any one time. At the Bridge event, considerably more than 120 playing cards were found by officers.
Computers, decks of cards and a book with results of the Bridge games were seized by officers as evidence.