Connect with us


Military moves to “iron fist, velvet glove’ for clearing Phuket beaches



PHUKET: Officials bolstered by military support have softened their approach in clearing all businesses from Phuket’s beaches, but remain firm that all offending structures will be torn down.

The message was made clear yesterday by Phuket Vice Governor Chamroen Tipayapongtada, who led officials and military personnel to inspect several venues whose operators were ordered to vacate public beach land.

First stop was Paradise Beach, south of Patong, where Vice Governor Chamroen and accompanying officials last week ordered a family-run business to remove their belongings from the public beach area (story here).

When the officials and soldiers arrived yesterday, the family had already moved all beach chairs, umbrellas and tables from the sand.

Representing the family, Amtien Tuentin explained to V/Gov Chamroen that the family charges a fee for each person who accesses the beach.

“There is no public pathway to the beach, so we decided to rent the land and collect 100 baht per person for access, which includes a beach chair, umbrella and free use of the shower and toilet,” Mr Amtien said.

“We also charge 40 baht per car and 20 baht per motorcycle for parking, to help cover the cost of maintaining the road. We take full responsibility for any damage or loss of vehicle.”

Mr Amtien said that the land rented, which covers three rai, has a SorKor 1 deed.

“I rent it for 5,000 baht a month,” he said.

However, he did not present a copy of the SorKor 1 deed and ignored questions asking him to explain who the landowner was.

V/Gov Chamroen told the Phuket Gazette that, despite checking, he could find no record of any public pathway to the beach.

By law, any public pathways across private land must be upheld so that the public can cross the land to access the beach.

“I am happy they have moved all the beach chairs from the public beach area since we visited several days ago,” V/Gov Chamroen said.

“At this stage he can still run his businesses unless officers from the Phuket Land Office conclude in their investigation that the SorKor 1 was issued illegally,” he told the Gazette. “If that is the case, we will order all structures here to be torn down.”

The Windsurf Shop and Restaurant, comprising a two-storey house and one-storey restaurant on Tri Trang Beach, however, did not receive such good news.

“The building owner could not show any evidence to justify occupying the area. She will have to remove the structures as quickly as possible,” said V/Gov Chamroen.

“The owner was given three days to remove all the buildings and all their contents. After that, we will have the buildings torn down.”

The family operating the Tri Trang Restaurant were also ordered to remove all structures from the beach. They were given 10 days to comply.

“We have been here since before I was born – that’s over 48 years ago,” Sompong Sakultub pleaded, presenting a document issued by the Marine Department in 1993 recording that the family was already living at the site, which at the time was accessible only by boat.

“We also have a document issued by the Patong Municipality after the tsunami in 2004 confirming that we have been here for a long time. We should have the right to live here.”

However, the military disagreed.

“Actually, you were issued a notice to remove the building on December 14, 2011. It should be removed as quickly as possible,” said Col Somchai Ponatong of the Royal Thai Army’s 41st Military Circle, pointing out that the structure was not a simple house for a family to live in.

“Although you have been here for a long time, public land should be returned to the people.”

Col Somchai expressed his concern for how the current beach cleanup campaign was affecting local people.

“I feel sad for people who will lose their businesses, but I have my orders. The results of the campaign will be checked on August 1,” he said.

— Saran Mitrarat


Get more from The Thaiger

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

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

Follow Thaiger by email:

Thailand2 mins ago

Thailand No.1 in the world for a wellness retreat

Health4 mins ago

Which type of health insurance do you need in Thailand?

Thailand39 mins ago

Gunman wounds 8 in Jerusalem, 48 dead in Israeli Gaza strikes

Sponsored2 hours ago

British International School Phuket: Reflecting on 25 years of world-class education

Thailand58 mins ago

Thailand among top 5 destinations for Chinese travelers | GMT

Travel13 hours ago

Where to find underrated international cuisines in Bangkok

Bangkok14 hours ago

Chinatown manhole covers to use art, tech to become cultural map

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Transport15 hours ago

Man fights Indian Railways for 22 years for justice (and 9 baht)

Events17 hours ago

Tourism Minister visits Full Moon Party, supports later curfew

Crime17 hours ago

Thais cautioned against fake government websites

Thailand18 hours ago

Another Thai boxer dies from brain injury after fight in Malaysia

Thailand19 hours ago

Expats in Thailand, Cartoon characters & Letting Loose | Thaiger Bites

Pattaya19 hours ago

VIDEO: Young Thais have a blast at Pattaya Music Festival weekend 2

Pollution20 hours ago

Anti-Corruption Network complains of smelly wastewater in coastal Thai province

Weather20 hours ago

Flooding from overflowing rivers soaks Chiang Rai and the border

Phuket21 hours ago

Phuket police nab 3,373 meth pills from 5 suspects

Thailand11 months ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand1 year ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism1 year ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket1 year ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism1 year ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand1 year ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism1 year ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11