Connect with us


Phuket’s billion-baht illegal beach rental scheme exposed

Legacy Phuket Gazette



PHUKET: Police have turned their eye away from Phuket’s taxi mafia to the island’s billion-baht illegal beach rental scheme – starting with the role played by Kata-Karon Mayor Tawee Thongcham.

Summons were issued today for 15 people, including Mayor Tawee, who stand accused of illegally issuing permits for local beach vendors to use the public beach land, said Region 8 Police Deputy Commander Paween Pongsirin.

The pricing for the “leases” were displayed at a press conference today: a five-year contract for 99 meters of beach cost 6.25 million baht; a three-year contract for 80m of beach cost 4.5mn baht; and a one-year contract for an undisclosed amount of beach cost 1.68mn baht.

Karon Beach is 2.9 kilometers long. With four rows of beach chairs, it would be possible to generate 3.8mn baht a day, which is 1.38bn baht a year, it was explained at the conference.

The slightly shorter Kata Beach would be able to generate profits of 1.38bn baht a year.

“This has been going on for decades. However, the sands belong to everyone. Nobody can own them, or rent them out,” Gen Paween said.

“The beach vendors claim that they received permission from the mayor to operate their business on the sand. A court order in 2009 sentenced Yutthana Thamroo for encroaching on the beach, and made it clear that the local government did not have the right to charge anyone to use the beach.”

Mr Yutthana was handed down a sentence of six months imprisonment and a 4,000-baht fine. However, he pleaded guilty to the charges, so the jail time and the fine were halved – and the jail term was reduced to a suspended sentence. He was also put on a one-year probation.

Also on display today were two cheques made out to Visut Chankham: one for just over 2.9mn baht and the other for 3mn baht exact. The payment order named the service provided as “Beach Rental” for November 1, 2010 to October 31, 2015.

One example of a contract between the lessor Ratchaporn Loysamutr, 41, and a lessee named by police as “xxxxxxx Phuket Beach Resort” agreed to some of the following terms:

“Lessor agrees to allow Lessee to lease the right to operate Beach Umbrellas / Sunloungers on the Karon Noi Beach in front of the hotel. Lessor has obtained the right of 1 of 2 operators on Karon Noi Beach of this lease contract is to allow Lessee to provide service to hotel guests. This contract is for 1 year and is effective from 15 August, 2005 to 14 August, 2006 and Lessee agrees to pay Lessor 500,000 THB (five hundred thousand Baht) for the agreed period.

“Lessor will permit Lessee to provide own Umbrellas / Sunloungers as per conditions approved by Karon Municipality. Lessee will take care of Umbrellas / Sunloungers without any interference from Lessor.

“Lessee cannot sublease to a third party, unless there is a written approval by Lessor.

“The Lessee will use the same number of Umbrellas / Sunloungers from both Lessors operating on the beach.

“Lessor retains the right to sell drinks on the beach, as before Lessor will provide the facilities herself according to regulation and approval by Karon Municipality.”

The 15 suspects called in to the police station have yet to be charged, confirmed Maj Gen Paween.

“As you can see this is not small local businesses run by people who are struggling financially, this is big money,” Maj Gen Paween said.

“We will track down those who have been illegally profiting from the beaches and they will face justice.”

Though the investigation has started in Kata-Karon, it will sweep up along the entire west coast, the major-general confirmed

“Right now, we are taking it step by step. We started in Karon, and will move to Patong next. There are a lot more people involved – and we will get them.”

— Chutharat Plerin


Want more Thailand news from the Thaiger family?

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS for instant updates on your mobile
📝️ Join the conversation on Thaiger Talk - discuss news & life in our Thailand forums
📧 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🔔 Subscribe to or Join our YouTube channel for daily video updates


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:

Pollution8 mins ago

Beached sperm whale covered in oil rescued in Phuket

Thailand43 mins ago

Unsatisifed with haircut, grandfather goes to police station for help

Coronavirus (Covid-19)49 mins ago

Thai DDC probe into Covid-19 vaccine recipient deaths to finish next week

Phuket Sandbox July 1st


Thaiger is getting behind local businesses for the restart of tourism in July - up to 50% discounts across all advertising packages in June!

Sponsored by image

Thailand1 hour ago

Good Morning Thailand | Situation in Hua Hin, bars petition for overturn of alcohol ban, Sandbox

Politics1 hour ago

Thammanat Prompaew said to be PPRP’s next secretary-general

Thailand1 hour ago

Pattaya security guard dies after crashing into garbage truck

Thailand2 hours ago

Killer’s sentence reduced from 10 years to 3, plus community service

Phuket2 hours ago

Over 300 Phuket businesses awarded SHA Plus accreditation ahead of re-opening

Chon Buri3 hours ago

142 new Covid infections in Chon Buri, clusters in market workers and close contacts

Phuket3 hours ago

Phuket 62% vaccinated, Sandbox ready to play in, hopefully

Coronavirus (Covid-19)3 hours ago

Friday Covid Update: 3,058 new cases and 22 deaths

Krabi3 hours ago

Krabi hotels pin hopes on Phuket sandbox success

Tourism4 hours ago

Tourism bodies concerned vaccination uncertainty will disrupt re-opening

Indonesia4 hours ago

Over 350 vaccinated medical workers in Indonesia infected, dozens hospitalised

Coronavirus (Covid-19)12 hours ago

Nightlife businesses petition government to reopen, sell alcohol

Thailand4 months ago

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

Tourism4 months ago

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

Phuket4 months ago

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

Tourism4 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand4 months ago

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

Tourism4 months ago

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

Thailand5 months ago

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

Thailand5 months ago

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

Thailand5 months ago

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

Thailand5 months ago

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

Thailand5 months ago

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

Thailand5 months ago

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

Thailand5 months ago

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

Thailand5 months ago

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

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Southern floods, Face mask fines, Thai Air Asia woes | January 8