Today September 5th,2013 Mr.Somsak Pureesisak Minister of Tourism and Sport of Thailand together with Mr.Wirat Chinvinijkul Secretary of Supreme Court of Thailand and Mr.Ittipol Khunpluem Mayor of Pattaya City join for the grand opening of Thailand’s first tourist court in the popular beach resort city of Pattaya as part of the government’s move to reassure travellers of their safety while visiting the country.
The court will also be responsible for looking after Thai tourists and scrutinising the role of tourism operators in providing fair services to tourists. Deputy Attorney General Sattaya Arunthari said the Pattaya Tourist Court would handle lawsuits filed by foreign visitors involving crimes committed against them in the city such as fraud, robbery, theft, rape ,physical assault especially over unfair services and personal security from 4.30pm to 8.30pm.
Sattaya said proceedings in the Pattaya tourist court — the first of its kind in Thailand and perhaps in the entire Southeast Asia — will be carried out faster than in an ordinary court.It might take a judge just two weeks to render a decision on felony cases whereas proceedings in similar cases could take months or even years in ordinary courts.
“The tourist court can even hand down a verdict on a lawsuit in one day if the complainant or the victim has sufficient evidence and can present credible witnesses against the accused. Among cases that can be speedily tried are those involving swindling of tourists or stealing of valuables,” Sattaya said.
The Pattaya court would be a pilot project. It is expected to take up speedboat collision with jet-ski case in Phuket, which is one of the serious issues corroding the country’s tourism image. It’s also related to criminal cases.
Mr Wirat Chinvinijkul said six more night courts are planned – Pathum Wan district for the Silom area and Dusit district for Khao San in Bangkok, Krabi, Samui, Chiang Mai and Phuket. Those tourist destinations have faced various problems, especially cheating by operators.The ministry should set up a department to handle cases because some tourists have to go home before a ruling is handed down.
In the future, Thailand should enact legislation to regulate the industry, like in France, because tourism is an important industry strengthening the national economy. It has grown rapidly, but existing laws cannot keep up, he added.
Tourism Minister Somsak Pureesrisak said it’s a good sign for the country’s tourism industry. The night court would help secure the industry’s role in the long term, especially in achieving the target of Bt2 trillion in tourism revenue in 2015.
The ministry has made a big effort to standardise the industry, launching measures and regulations to crack down on scams. Especially Phuket needs a clean-up. The resort island is overrun by illegal services and gangsters.
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