Phuket's Burmese community numbers by some estimates as many as 200,000 workers and their families. Phuket Governor Tri Augkaradacha said that he had been on Phuket for six years as governor and vice governor.
Every year during his tenure on the island the Burmese had applied to hold a concert, and every year permission had been denied, he said. This year a concert had been requested in each of Phuket's three districts, Phuket City, Kathu and Thalang.
''We just can't take the risk,'' Governor Tri told a meeting at Provincial Hall in Phuket City. ''A Burmese concert has never been held anywhere in Thailand. If something went wrong, it would seriously damage Phuket's image.''
Tungthong Police Station Superintendent Kaitong Jantongbai said between 6000 and 10,000 tickets at 200 baht each had already been sold for an event at Tungthong market that was planned for April 28, 29 and 30.
But the money would have to be refunded, he said. Many of the people working on Phuket construction sites are Mon and they are respected as peaceable people, Superintendent Kaitong said.
But there was less certainty about the character and behavior of other Burmese people, he said, and concerns about potential conflicts between different groups.
A Phuket curfew that restricted Burmese to workers' camps after 8pm has not been applied for several years and legal Burmese workers are able to apply for motorcycle licences.
In large factories in several parts of Thailand, Burmese laborers have in recent weeks begun seeking justice for poor treatment.
The lifting of the minimum daily wage on Phuket and in six other provinces, mostly centred around Bangkok, also applies to Burmese workers. The first pay packets containing the increase are due to be handed out on Monday.