BT684m extorted from taxi bikes (Thailand)

Taxi motorcyclists nationwide pay Bt684 million each month in protection fees to so-called mafia, an inquiry initiated by a son of Deputy PM Chalerm Yoobamrung found yesterday.

Wan, the newly appointed adviser to the transport minister, led the inspection of a number of taxi motorcycle queues in Bangkok, reportedly following a request by taxi motorcyclists. The first queue inspected was at Sukhumvit Soi 70/5, where the motorcyclists said they paid Bt45,000 each month to “protectors”.

The motorcyclists said the protectors had also dispatched 20 unregistered riders to pick up passengers, resulting in their income being cut while having to still pay the monthly protection fees. Wan and Chalerm Changthongmadan, head of the Association of Taxi Motorcyclists of Thailand, vaguely identified who the protectors were. “This queue is located in areas under the influence of a retired Army general and military officers come to collect the fee,” he added.

They did not mention the role of local police or traffic police who were supposed to tackle the problem but were not present during yesterday’s inspection of several locations.

Quoting the association’s head and other taxi motorcyclists, Wan said lawfully registered riders, who totalled around 190,000 nationwide, had to pay Bt120 each day to protectors, in addition to monthly fees. “This could amount to Bt684 million each month that the protectors have been enjoying,” he added.

Read more in The Nation

Where money is involved there is also mafia involved in Thailand

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