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Officials investigate more Phuket beach encroachment

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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PHUKET: A handful of bars and restaurants built on Bang Tao Beach are being investigated to determine whether or not they are encroaching on state land.

Vice Governor Somkiet Sangkaosutthirak on Wednesday led a team of investigators to the site.

Accompanying him were representatives from local authorities such as Cherng Talay Municipality, Thalang District Office, Phuket Marine Office and Cherng Talay Police.

Also present was Prapan Kanprasang, head of the Damrongtham Center [provincial ombudsman’s office]. It was a complaint filed at the Damrongtham Center that sparked the government probe.

Mr Prapan asked the Phuket Gazette to withhold the name of the complainants out of fear for their safety.

The complaint, dated March 24 and addressed directly to Phuket Governor Tri Augkaradacha, claimed that many people had moved onto the beachfront land and that the new structures blocked views to the sea.

The company paid compensation to those people in 2008 so that they would stop building and move from the area, but the same people returned and started building structures at the site last year.

Businesses that operated from the new structures included beer bars, massage services, beach bed and umbrella rentals, and restaurants with toilets, all on public land near a Muslim graveyard, the complaint said.

Police and the local authorities had been notified of the alleged incursion, but they failed to help, it added.

However, none of the business operators were present on the beach on Wednesday when V/Gov Somkiet arrived. All the buildings were empty or closed.

“From what I have seen, some of the buildings were built no more than three months ago,” said V/Gov Somkiet.

“There are five or six buildings spread about 200 meters along the beach. We have to see whether they [the building owners] have the appropriate construction permits and land titles. If they do not, they will have to remove the buildings,” Chief Prapan said.

However, V/Gov Somkiet made it clear that regardless of whether any investigators thought the new structures were legal or not, the investigating committee was bound to follow due legal process.

“We cannot remove these buildings immediately. First, the police have to find the building owners and we must obtain a court order before we can take further action.

“The owners of the buildings may be able to prove ownership of the land. We have to give them the chance to show whether or not the land belongs to them,” he said.

“The court is the only one who can pass judgment, and the only authorities with the power to remove the buildings are the Thalang District Chief and the Cherng Talay Mayor,” he added.

Determining whether or not the structures were “on” the beach was a matter for local figures to decide.

“The kamnan [tambon chief] or district chief must point out which areas are deemed to be on the beach.

“Also, the Land Office must verify the title deed and corresponding plot markers. To my eyes, the beach area is about 20 to 30 meters [from the water],” he said.

The investigation team then strolled north to the Babylon Beach Club, which was deemed to be illegally encroaching onto the beach.

“The restaurant manager promised us to move the restaurant [from the water’s edge]. We will examine the documents [to prove ownership of the land],” V/Gov Somkiet said.

“We did not tell him how many meters the restaurant should be moved. But some parts of the restaurant building extend into the sea [at high tide] which is obviously illegal. I will let Cherng Talay Municipality, Phuket Marine Office, and Thalang District Office follow up on this issue,” he added.

Suchat Yuyen, the Deputy Mayor of Cherng Talay Municipality, said, “We will proceed with the buildings which we received complaints about first. For the Italian restaurant [Babylon], we will ask if they have their documents such as title deeds and construction permits.”

The investigation team did not inspect the restaurants about 300 meters further north, where the owners have consistently refused to obey provincial orders to remove their structures from the sand.

In the Phuket Gazette‘s page one story in the November 13 issue last year, Cherng Talay Tambon Administration Organization (OrBorTor) President Manote Panchalad said, “If we do remove buildings there, villagers who have businesses there will get together and put pressure on us.”

— Janpen Upatising

 

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

Phuket

Phuket tightens restrictions: No parties, no visits from friends

Tanutam Thawan

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Photo by PR Phuket

No, your friends can’t come over. No parties. No drinking with friends. No large gatherings. As part of Phuket’s efforts to stop the spread of Covid-19, local authorities have tightened restrictions and say friends are not allowed to gather at private homes.

“No parties of any kind allowed… No house party, no friends gathering in the residence.”

Along with temporary closures of some businesses and venues, the order says, parties involving alcohol are banned and gatherings of more than 30 people are banned. The only gatherings allowed are religious ceremonies like weddings and funerals.

Foreigners who violate any of Phuket’s disease control measures could be deported and lose their permission to stay in Thailand. On Sunday, 2 British men in Phuket were each fined 6,000 baht for having a “party.” Only 6 people were gathered at the home. Police from the Cherng Talay station came by the home after a call from a neighbour.

Phuket tightens restrictions: No parties, no visits from friends | News by Thaiger

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

3 organisers of Phuket’s Kolour superspreader event charged

Neill Fronde

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FILE PHOTO: 3 managers involved in the Kolour superspreader event have been charged.

As Thailand still wrestles to control the third wave of Covid-19, much of which stems from entertainment venues in Bangkok and a massive party in Phuket, Patong police announced that the managers of the Phuket venues that hosted the Kolour superspreader event will be charged under the Emergency Decree. The case report was filed with the public prosecutor yesterday according to the Patong police chief, confirming that 3 people will be prosecuted for the event.

The Kolour Beachside Festival was held April 2 and 3 with events at Café Del Mar Phuket in Kamala, and Shelter Phuket Dance and Night Club and Illuzion Nightclub, both in Patong. Before the festival, Phuket had gone more than a hundred days without any new Covid-19 infections, but by April 7 the Phuket provincial Public Health office announced 8 new infections, half of which had been at the Kolour parties. In the following weeks, officials plead for attendees to be tested as infections spread.

Charges were delayed in being filed to the Phuket Public Prosecutor’s office as a special investigation committee was ordered to be created to oversee the investigation at the request of Region 8’s Police Commander. That committee brought together officials from various law enforcement in the area including the Patong Police, Kamala Police, Phuket Provincial Police, and the Region 8 Police to investigate the Kolour event before anyone was charged.

The manager of Café Del Mar, along with the managing director and the manager of Shelter and Illuzion, which are under the same management team, will be charged for the Kolour festival violating Thailand’s Emergency Decree that was declared to help protect the country from Covid-19 outbreaks. A breach of the Emergency Decree can be held liable for up to 40,000 Baht and 2 years in jail under Section 9 of the Decree.

The latter 2 are also facing charges of operating an unlicensed entertainment venue. This carries the possibility of another year in prison and a fine of up to 60,000 baht, in accordance with Thai Law under Section 26 of the Entertainment Place Act.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

 

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Road deaths

Phuket woman impaled by steel rod in motorbike accident

Neill Fronde

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PHOTO: CCTV footage shows the Woman impaled in a motorbike crash.

Police were called to the scene of a gruesome motorbike accident just after midnight in the Kathu area of Phuket, where a woman was impaled by a steel rod. The 34 year old woman crashed her motorbike into a concrete power pole on Wichit Songkram Rd between the Kathu Shrine and Kathu Municipality. rescue workers responded, and together with police, they arrived to find the woman still hanging from the power pole.

Khanuengnit Onoaun was driving a black and pink Honda Click motorbike and may have been speeding just before being impaled by the rod on the electric pole. Her motorbike was lying nearby the pole with significant damage to the front of the bike and the front wheel.

CCTV footage recovered from the scene suggest that the woman may have fallen asleep and crashed into the power pole. The pole had steel rods protruding from its side that utility workers use to climb when service or repairs are needed to the electrical lines, which is what impaled her when her motorbike hit the pole.

The metal rod pierced the woman’s upper chest and went all the way through her body with about 2 inches exposed on the other side of her as she hung from the pole. Rescue workers could not remove her from the steel rod at the scene of the accident safely and instead chose to cut the rod to take her off the electric pole and into an ambulance. Cutting through the steel took about 5 minutes for the rescuers.

She arrived and was admitted into Vachira Phuket Hospital with the metal rod still impaled through her chest. The hospital had no updates about the woman’s condition after her motorbike crash other than that she is alive and receiving treatment currently. The police plan on questioning her once she has had time to recover and investigating the incident further if necessary.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

 

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