Hua Hin taxi wars: Angry taxi driver makes online threats against all Grab drivers, woman assaulted
A taxi driver assaulted a female hotel employee just hours after posting online threats against all Grab taxi drivers working in Hua Hin.
In what was a series of events very much a reflection of the modern day - a local taxi driver angry at the sudden arrival of competition in the form of ride hailing app, which led to threats and counter threats played out on social media.
The taxi driver, identified as a Mr Chakkrit, who has since been arrested, posted a video on Facebook threatening Grab taxi drivers working in Hua Hin.
The video came after he said the Grab drivers were threatening his livelihood.
The video was then shared to a local Hua Hin Facebook group by victim Sasiwimon Srikhan who is believed to be known to the attacker.
People commenting criticised the driver and were largely supportive of Grab.
The driver and Ms Srikhan then began arguing over social media, which resulted in a confrontation where the woman was assaulted and required medical treatment.
Ms Srikhan then posted photos of her injuries to Facebook, with the story later being picked up by local journalist Kulsawek Sawekwannakorn.
Grab, which launched in Hua Hin on May 17, allows people to book one of its taxis through the Grab app.
According to a Grab taxi driver who spoke to Thaivisa there are more than 80 people signed up as Grab drivers in Hua Hin.
That figure is now likely to be more given that the service has been up and running in Hua Hin for more than a week.
The driver we spoke to said he works for Grab during the day and in a restaurant at night.
He said that his customers were mainly foreigners, including Chinese, Koreans, Russians, British and Australians. But he also said that he had a large number of Thai customers.
People using the service, according to the driver, said they did so because it was cheaper than local taxis, more convenient and that foreigners in particular liked it because they knew how much they were going to pay beforehand and that booking a ride through the app eliminated any confusion or misunderstandings that may occur due to language barriers.
Meanwhile police in Hua Hin on Saturday spoke of their concern regarding the sudden arrival of Grab and potential conflict with local taxi drivers.
They said they cannot guarantee the safety of Grab drivers in instances they become involved in a conflict with local taxi drivers.
They added that due to confusion over the legality of Grab that people in Hua Hin should continue to use the local taxi drivers who are properly registered.
Local taxi drivers in Hua Hin are angry at the sudden loss of income since the launch of Grab.
They say the Grab drivers are working illegally and are not registered to operate as taxi drivers in accordance to requirements with the Land Transport Department.
There is also confusion regarding insurance should a Grab vehicle be involved in an accident whereby a passenger was injured in what is essentially a private vehicle being used for commercial purposes.
On the same day the service launched in Hua Hin, hundreds of motorcycle taxi drivers protested out Grab’s Thailand HQ in Bangkok calling for the company to stop owners of motorcycles with white licence plates from providing rides via the Grab app.
The demonstrators brought funeral wreaths with the names of Grab Thailand executives and burned a motorcycle taxi vest to symbolically express their anger, The Nation reported.
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