Curb resort guards, mob urges police

CHERNG TALAY: An argument between locals and security guards at the Banyan Tree Phuket resort led to about 100 villagers staging a protest outside the Cherng Talay Police Station last night. The crowd protested for six hours, calling on police to have the guards removed from their jobs, said Pol Lt Col Suwat Kaewprom, Deputy Superintendent of Cheng Talay Police Station. He told the Gazette that the row began at 10 am when a group of villagers argued with two of the guards over access to what the villagers claim is a right of way. They then went to the police station to file a complaint. About 6 pm, a crowd began to gather outside the police station, swelling to around 100 before dispersing peacefully about midnight. At one stage, Vice-Governor Pongpow Ketthong and the Deputy Commander of the Phuket Provincial Police, Pol Col Decha Butnampetch, met the villagers to discuss their grievances. “They have argued about this matter before,” Col Suwat told the Gazette, “Villagers use [the gateway at the Banyan Tree] as a thoroughfare. But the guards closed the gate. Whether it is a right of way or not is still being investigated.” He said the villagers accused the guards of pushing them around and threatening them with guns. He added that the police had previously prosecuted two guards for firearms offenses, including possession of unlicensed weapons. Senior managers of the Banyan Tree and of Laguna Resorts & Hotels declined to comment on this latest upwelling of tension between the five-star Laguna resort complex and the local community.

Phuket News
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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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