The protest came as Patong's new mayor, elected on an anti-corruption platform, found herself unable to begin her tenure and likely to face hostile council opposition for some time to come.
Government organisations continue to demand an increasing share of corrupt bribes even when tourism is not flourishing - and the whole tuk-tuk and taxi system is structured to earn maximum income with minimum work.
The copy vendors can see disaster ahead as they are squeezed by property owners applying higher rents and government agencies demanding larger bribes.
''We need the Army's help,'' one of the protesters said today. ''If fixing tourism is a priority for the coup command, then they need to clean up Phuket. The Army sorted out the rice farmers. Now we need them to sort out Patong.''
The bottom line for all corruption in Patong is that ultimately, it's the tourists who pay. If the number of tourists reduces then the capacity for graft decreases proportionately, creating the potential for social discord on a massive scale.
Copy shop vendors protested in Patong's beach road today, carrying signs saying ''[Expletive!] Eating too much!'' ''We are not drug sellers or criminals, why are you beating us!'' ''We can't make enough money to pay bribes.'' ''Working and nearly dead, but we have to pay bribes.''
It is well known that bribes are paid to more than 14 key government agencies by virtually all illegal businesses in Patong.
It is believed the vendors endorsed a change in mayors at the April by-election. The Army coup command has said it will make maintaining Thailand's tourism a priority.
Into the vibrant world of money and politics in Patong today stepped new mayor Chalermlak Kebsub, 50, who was unable to declare her anti-corruption policy in the local council chambers because of lack of a quorum.
Her two newly elected Blue Sky Patong supporters were there, along with two Love Patong supporters of former mayor, Pian Keesin.
But she needed the presence of nine council members, half of the total of 18, to declare a quorum and make her policy speech.
Forced to remain officially silent on corruption and other issues today, Mayor Chalermlak will return next month to try again. If that fails, she will need to seek the approval of Phuket Governor Maitree Intrusud to post her policy to all of the council members.
Unfortunately the poll at which Mayor Chalermlak swept to power last month was a byelection, forced by the Electoral Commission's decision to red-card two councillors from the previous full election and to yellow card former mayor Pian Keeson and two councillors.
Thus the new mayor won the support of Patong voters but has just two councillors on her side and faces a hostile chamber.
''These people are not children, they are adults,'' she said. ''They are being paid by the people of Patong. If they do not respond, they will be wasting the money of the people.
''I feel sorry that we've lost this opportunity to begin solving the problems of Patong and its people.''
With the rains about to strike, Mayor Chalermlak said she had hoped to win approval for a plan to unblock Patong's canals and prevent flooding in the west coast tourist hub.
Her other key plans are to attack the people who deliver bad water into Patong Bay. As a beginning, she plans to put a stop to food fairs and festivals being held along the Patong foreshore.
Corruption? Well, that's the big one. She may need an Army to help her beat it.