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“One Last Party’ before iconic Phuket beach clubs get demolished

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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“One Last Party’ before iconic Phuket beach clubs get demolished | The Thaiger

PHUKET: With the demolition of two of Phuket’s most iconic beach clubs on Surin Beach imminent, it’s time to pull out your sexy white clothes for Twinpalms Group’s ‘One Last Time’ beach party at 8pm on Saturday.

“It will be our last chance to say thank you to those who have enjoyed, over the years, the utopia that rose along the Surin Beach shore, as well as the incredible dedication from all our employees who made it possible,” Twinpalms Group General Manager Olivier Gibaud told the Phuket Gazette today.

With the opening of Catch Beach Club by Twinpalms more than a decade ago, Surin Beach became well-known as Phuket’s most exciting and fashionable beach, with Catch and Bimi leading the way in bringing fabulous dining and seaside experiences to beach lovers from around the world, Twinpalms explained in a statement to the press today.

White Party at Catch Beach Club on Phuket’s Surin Beach. Video: PGTV

The closure of Catch and Bimi comes as part of a government drive to honor the Royal family. Surin Beach was dubbed a ‘Beach of Honor’ by Phuket Vice Governor Chokdee Amornwat at the end of last year, making it the third category of beach in the island’s management system.

Though the beach is unique for being the only one in this category, it is managed in the exact same way as a virgin beach; umbrellas, beach chairs and vendors offering any other services or goods were banned on these beaches.

“This third category is set aside only for Surin, as HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej and HM Queen Sirikit visited its sands in 1959,” explained V/Gov Chokdee.

“This is one of the reasons we are working so hard to ensure that Surin is a beach basking in pure natural beauty.

“It will also be the perfect location for us to hold activities or exhibitions honoring the Royal Family.”

The beach clubs were among a number of businesses swept up in the National Council for Peace and Order’s (NCPO) campaign to ‘clean up’ Phuket beaches, demanding that local officials remove any and all illegal establishments from the beaches (story here). The campaign saw dozens of businesses receive eviction notices with a deadline date of June 2014.

Originally, only the parts of the clubs and businesses that extended to the beach side of the boardwalk on Surin Beach were demolished, with government assurance that the remaining structures would ‘most likely’ go untouched.

“Those buildings on the east side of the path at Surin Beach are fine. They are guaranteed to be legal; the Cherng Talay Tambon Administration Organization [OrBorTor] built them itself and rented them out to operators,” Cherng Talay OrBorTor President Ma-ann Samran said at the time (story here). “What I did say [at a Provincial Hall meeting] was that if the Army asked us to pull them down, we would have to – but at this stage we have received no such order to do so.”

Eventually, the request came and Mr Ma-ann complied. Though the request to remove the buildings was handed down about a year ago, legal complications have delayed their destruction until after the 2015-2016 high season.

The most recent demolition deadline was set for April 20.

The beach clubs, as well as the restaurants and other businesses on the east side of the Surin beachfront path, are occupying units originally built by the government. However, many of the units were modified, while other structures unassociated with them were built.

Post-tsunami, the Cherng Talay OrBorTor established 10 buildings on public park land next to the beach, each with two units, while the Phuket Provincial Administration Organization (PPAO) constructed 16 buildings paid for by the Overseas Economic Cooperation Fund of Japan.

The buildings were leased out to locals, who then allowed private businesses to operate at the facilities.

“We have decided, once and for all, to demolish the premises of private businesses encroaching on public land at all three of these Phuket beaches [Surin, Lay Pang and Layan]. The deadline for tearing down these buildings is April 20 for Surin Beach, and April 27 for Lay Pang and Layan Beaches,” Phuket Vice Governor Chokdee Amornwat told the Gazette last month (story here).

“We will issue letters to each business owner to inform them that they must vacate the premises by the stated deadline. On that date, the buildings will be demolished, regardless of whether operations have been shut down or not.”

Twinpalms Group, which has been operating Twinpalms Phuket adjacent to Surin Beach for almost 12 years now, has continued to comply with government requests since the beginning of the saga in 2014, explained Mr Gibaud.

“Everything in life comes, lives and goes, we are very thankful to have had the opportunity to delight and be in the memory of many Catch and Bimi Beach Club guests over the years. This chapter of Catch Beach Club is drawing to a close, everyone should be excited and look forward to the next,” he said.

The group has already gained traction with Palm Seafood Restaurant, Lounge and Bar on Bang Tao Beach and will be opening HQ Beach Lounge on Kamala Beach soon.

“A new ‘Beach Butler’ program is also being introduced at Twinpalms Phuket to further improve the soon-to-be virgin and pristine beach experience for guests on Surin beach,” Mr Gibaud said.

— Isaac Stone Simonelli

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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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Hua Hin

Southern Thailand braces for rough weather and rain

May Taylor

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Southern Thailand braces for rough weather and rain | The Thaiger

The Thailand Meteorological Department issued a weather warning for southern Thailand with torrential rain forecast to hit the region throughout the weekend. The heavy monsoon over the Gulf of Thailand and south of the country is being blamed for the rough weather, with the TMD predicting flash flooding in many areas.

(Phuket, Hat Yai and Hua Hin’s forecast below)

“Waves are expected to reach 2 metres in height in the lower Gulf of Thailand and possibly higher at the height of the storm. Ships are advised to proceed with caution.”

For the north and northeast of Thailand, the TMD forecasts strong winds and cooler mornings as the arrival of the “winter” season, coupled with a moderate high-pressure system, causes temperatures to dip.

Hua Hin’s five day forecast

Southern Thailand braces for rough weather and rain | News by The Thaiger

Phuket’s five day forecast

Southern Thailand braces for rough weather and rain | News by The Thaiger

Hat Yai’s five day forecast

Southern Thailand braces for rough weather and rain | News by The Thaiger

SOURCE: The Nation | weather.com

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Crime

Now you see him, now you don’t… Patong Police hunt foreigner over $30k theft

Greeley Pulitzer

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Now you see him, now you don’t… Patong Police hunt foreigner over $30k theft | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Patong Police

Patong Police have yet to develop any tangible leads tracking down a foreigner who made off with US$30,000 in cash from a currency exchange booth in Kalim, north of Patong in Phuket, last Tuesday.

The man is about 168 centimetres tall with grey hair and around 60 years old, Patong police told The Phuket News.

“We have no clue what nationality he is.”

He was last seen at the currency exchange booth wearing a purple polo shirt, blue jeans and black cap. Police have checked hotels in the area, police stations across the island and Phuket Immigration, but have yet to join the dots and come up with firm leads.

“Investigators have checked CCTV in the area and collected what evidence we have but we still do not know the man’s name or where he was staying.”

The man had visited the booth several times before Tuesday, when he disappeared with the $30,000 in US banknotes, according to police.

“It was always small amounts”, he added, noting that the amounts didn’t warrant staff at the exchange booth to check the man’s passport before making the exchange.

The man arrived at the booth again at about 1pm on Tuesday, saying that he had 900,000 baht cash to exchange.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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Crime

Mystery surrounds security guard found dead in his Phuket room

The Thaiger

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Mystery surrounds security guard found dead in his Phuket room | The Thaiger

PHOTOS: Phuket Hot News

The security guard of a hotel in Nai Yang, northern Phuket, 52 year old Yingyot Butsabong, from Maha Sarakham province, was found dead yesterday (October 16) in his room. Police remain mystified how the man came to grief.

A woman named Supattra received a call from the hotel he worked at and was informed that he didn’t show up at work yesterday, so she went to his apartment to check on him.

She saw that his room was locked from the inside, so used the key she had in her possession to open the room and found Yingyot laying on the floor, face down. She thought he was just sleeping so she tried to wake him up but once she flipped him, she found that he already passed away.

She immediately called Saku police, and once on the scene, police found that there was some blood on the floor. The man had a 2 centimetre wound on his left eyebrow which was deep into his skull. There was also a wound on his chin about 1 centimetre long and about a centimetre deep. His left eye had a bruise which looked like he was attacked by a hard object.

Police report that he had been dead for around four hours in the room.

The room was not ransacked and there was no sign of fighting or theft. His body has been sent to Thalang Hospital for a detailed autopsy and to look into the cause of death.

SOURCE: Phuket Hot News

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