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Dive operators fight crackdown in court

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Dive operators fight crackdown in court | The Thaiger
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PHUKET: Dive operators opposing the new regulations that went into effect October 1 have taken their fight to the Administrative Court, where they are challenging the legality of the new regulations.

Pragon Geatgun, Vice-President of the Thai Diving Association (TDA), told the Gazette on Tuesday that the TDA was representing about 60 dive operators in Phuket who have lodged a petition with the Administrative Court in Nakhon Sri Thammarat.

“We filed the petition in the Administrative Court in the middle of September because, while we agree with the spirit of the regulations [to protect the environment], we can’t follow all of the requirements. The requested information makes the operators unhappy and feeling as if the province is infringing on their rights,” he said.

“We are awaiting a judgment from the court, which we believe should order that the regulations be rescinded. In the meantime, we have told our members they are free to register [as required by the new regulations] if they want,” he added.

Phuket Provincial Chief Administrative Officer (Palad) Nivit Aroonrat acknowledged having received a notice from the Administrative Court. Provincial lawyers will defend the new regulations at a court hearing scheduled for this month, he said.

Surin Theerakulpisut, Chief of the Phuket Marine Office, told the Gazette that about 40 dive operators have registered their businesses at his office.

“We are still open for registrations, although now it is actually time to begin processing applications. However, we continue to accept registrations without assessing any fines [for being past the official deadline],” he said.

There is no application fee, he added.

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