Heavy earth-moving equipment was taken to Layan Beach, Phuket, yesterday to demolish the last remaining illegal beachfront buildings.
Eviction notices 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.
Layan Beach is a beautiful but little-known bay on the west coast of Phuket at the northern end of Bangtao Beach. Layan is home to many luxurious resorts such as Banyan Tree Resort, Angsana Laguna Phuket Resort and Dusit Thani Laguna Phuket. The beach ends with a river harbouring small fishing boats, and its best-known feature is the big island where the river reaches the sea. The land being cleared is worth something north of US$1 billion.
The squatters were told to vacate the plots by September 30 or see them removed. Unlike previous warnings, this time officials were serious, so much so that Phuket Governor Narong Woonciew, Vice Governor Anuphap Rodkwan Yodrabam and a slew of officials from local government agencies turned up to watch the show. The provincial Office of the Ombudsman oversaw the demolition.
Director of Phuket Legal Execution Office Paween Kumar said that the owners of the buildings had been given more-than-ample time to remove the property from the state land themselves.
“The eviction notices were posted on September 12, ordering the occupiers to vacate the land within 15 days. The notices said we would be coming on September 30, and we came in accordance with the notices.
“In the future, any people found doing business or living on the land will be charged with trespassing.
“There is a backhoe demolishing a building right now. The structure is built with a lot of concrete, but no piling which makes the demolition very easy. I think in about a month there will be a beautiful clean beach here.
“The local Government will organise everything for people to use this land together for the benefit of the community I believe that nobody will dare to encroach on this land again. If it happens, serious legal action will be taken.”