Illegal Airport Taxi Driver Spared From Jail Term

A police officer installs the monitoring device on Mr. Somwang's ankle.

SAMUT PRAKAN — The court has spared an unregistered taxi driver from facing jail time due to his role as the sole breadwinner for his family.

In a briefing filed by the prosecutor to Samut Prakan Provincial Court, Somwang Poomrueng was accused of aggressively hawking his taxi service to tourists in front of the arrival hall of Suvarnabhumi Airport without permission. 

Only taxi drivers who register with the airport authorities are allowed to pick up passengers at Suvarnabhumi Airport, and they are required to do so only at a taxi stand on the ground level of the facility. Nevertheless, unregistered taxi drivers are regularly seen picking up tourists just outside the arrival hall.

Mr. Somwang repeatedly returned to the area after he was sent off by security officers, the court document says.

Today the judges found Mr. Somwang guilty of  211 counts of causing annoyance over the course of three days. 

The judges noted that although Mr. Somwang's offence warrants a prison term, such a punishment would severely affect the welfare of his family. According to the court documents, Mr. Somwang is the sole provider for his wife and his two children. One of his children is currently studying in sixth grade and the other is 10 months old. 

"Although the defendant has committed the offence multiple times, [the court has decided] to grant the defendant a chance to change his behaviour into a good citizen, and to return to his profession to provide for his family," the verdict concluded. 

The judges therefore handed down a lenient punishment, banning Mr. Somwang from Suvarnabhumi Airport for five years, and requiring him to wear an electronic device around his ankle for three months so that the authorities can monitor his behaviour. 

 

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