Illegal Airport Taxi Drivers face 5 Years in Prison

If you have ever arrived at Suvarnabhumi Airport in Thailand then you will surely know about the problem with the taxis and illegal tour guides. As you walk out of customs people would always come up to you asking if you wanted a taxi or go on tour somewhere. Things have got better over the last year or two but there isn’t much the authorities can do as the fines are so small. In the past one year, 5,454 illegal taxi drivers and 9142 guides at Suvarnambhumi were arrested & fined 500-1,000 baht. There are no statistics available, but I am sure many of them are repeat offenders. I am also sure that the fines are just a small part of their operating costs. But, according to a press release we received from AOT the other day, things could actually get better there now for the passengers.

The law has been amended to allow for stiffer penalties. Now illegal taxi drivers and tour guides can be arrested for trespassing at the airport. If illegal taxi drivers or guides are caught for the second time at the airport, under Section 364 of the Penal Code, they can be imprisoned for a period of time not exceeding one year and/or a fine not exceeding 2,000 baht. However, under Section 365, if they are arrested at night, or they attack a passenger, they could be imprisoned for a period not exceeding five years and/or a fine not exceeding 10,000 baht. Signs have been put up around the airport about this so let’s hope things will start to get better. I know a lot of people still complain about the official taxi rank, but I have never had a problem with them. They always turn on the meter without asking unlike at Don Mueang Airport.

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