The Royal Thai Navy busted a Phuket umbrella operator for encroaching on a beach yesterday. The incident happened on Koh Racha Yai, an island off southern Phuket.
The navy inspected the island yesterday and found the operator on Ao Pratok Beach. Twenty sets of umbrellas were seized, and the operator was arrested and brought to Chalong Police Station for further legal proceedings.
Specific details about the operator were released, The Phuket Express reported.
Encroachment on beaches is a major issue in Phuket, with many beach operators setting up loungers and umbrellas for their customers in areas that are not designated for commercial use. The issue has led to clashes between operators and local authorities, as well as environmental concerns.
In recent years, the Phuket authorities have stepped up efforts to crack down on beach encroachment and enforce regulations to protect the country’s beaches and natural resources.
In January, officials removed a fence from Kamala Beach following several complaints that the fence encroached upon the beach. The business accused of encroaching on the beach was a beach bed operator.
In November last year, police removed illegal food and drink venues from another Phuket shoreline, Layan Beach. The police found three venues on the beach that were providing food and drinks, as well as chairs, sunbeds, and umbrellas. The police confiscated these items.
Eviction notices for the Layan Beach structures were served in 2017 when the Supreme Court ruled that occupiers were illegally encroaching on state land. Several “final warnings” were issued, with the last eviction notice delivered on September 12. The notices were posted in four different places and the business owners on the popular Phuket beach had run out of options to appeal the eviction.
After the police removed the illegal structures, they planned to recover the beach’s nature. A mass tree planting and beach cleanup were planned to help recover the area.
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