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Sunbeds near Club Med at Kata: Resorts paid for public beach space

Dividing Up Phuket's Famous Beaches

Friday, September 26, 2014
PHUKET: Some of Phuket's most famous resorts have been held to ransom for years by private individuals who claimed rights to the beautiful west coast beaches.

Club Med Phuket, Le Meridien Phuket Beach Resort and Centara Grand Beach Resort Phuket have been named - but not by police - as being among Phuket resorts that paid millions of baht to individuals for the use of sunbeds.

The maps in the photo album accompanying this article show how some of Phuket best-known beaches were divided among sunbed and umbrella operators, with the color-coded charts showing how some families took control of large portions of the public beaches.

Major General Paween Pongsirin said today that Patong and Karon were the beaches where local officials were most heavily involved with the activities of the beach sunbed operators and the taxis and tuk-tuks.

In some cases, the major general said, the resorts were squeezed by both sets of ''mafia'' and the taxi drivers and the beach vendors often exchanged information about their experiences.

''Our operation marks the end of an era,'' Major General Paween said today, ''the end of the era of private beaches on Phuket and their replacement with public beaches.''

He said that while there were similar problems at some other beaches, Patong and Kata-Karon on Phuket's west coast were the two areas where the authorities worked with the beach operators.

Fifteen people were issued with arrest warrants yesterday to add to more than 180 taxi drivers and officials who have been arrested and charged since the actions began to clear Phuket's beaches and end taxi drivers' threats and intimidation.


Comments have been disabled for this article.


I hope they get proper sentences not like the taxi drivers who has suspended sentences, and be made to pay money back, all there assets should be seized and maybe some money can go to the lifeguards or to start a proper beach authority

Posted by Michael on September 26, 2014 19:34

Editor Comment:

Taxi drivers behind the wheel in illegal cabs don't deserve jail or losing their assets (if they have any). Those involved in intimidation and extortion are clearly in a different category. I'd suggest you'd be wise to maintain logic and balance. Baying with the mob is easy.


I'd like to see a return of some of the beach chairs to the beaches. However, unlike in the past, the operation of the chairs should be done by a government agency with government employees handling the business, with the funds used for beach clean up, lifeguard hiring, and salaries for enforcement officers. Make the revenue from the chairs and the use of the funds public record.

Posted by JustSomeGuy on September 27, 2014 06:44

Editor Comment:

The problem is, JustSomeGuy, that a mad scramble would occur every day for those sunbeds. Expect sunbed rage and offers of bribes. Conflicts lead to compromise and corruption. It isn't likely.


I think most people could see that this beach rental was going on. There were certain individuals who controlled sections of the beach. Obviously they were given (sold) the right to do so by someone. With this now made public, one could imagine how much was paid by all the businesses at Surin Beach. From the numbers provided it could be up to a billion baht per year. I hope they also look into the renting out of all other public space in Phuket. There is hardly a sidewalk that doesn't have hundreds of vendors selling something on it. Every one of these small businesses has to pay. Multiply that by thousands and you get another billion baht going somewhere...

Posted by Tim on September 27, 2014 08:08

Editor Comment:

Just guesswork, Tim. There's no way of knowing at this point who was paid for operations on what beaches. Some restaurant ''owners'' have told PW they just went to the beach and opened a business, without feeling the need to ask. Others have probably paid the people originally granted rights to the shorefront. It would be foolish to make any kind of general assumptions.


The end of the era will arrive when people receive the appropriate punishment for their crimes, not petty fines and suspended sentences. To claim 'baying with the mob' is ridiculous - people want to see those involved in criminal activity punished properly. Criticizing those who want justice seems easy for Mr Ed but bearing in mind where some of your advertising revenue comes from its no surprise.

Posted by Mister Ree on September 27, 2014 10:45

Editor Comment:

If driving an illegal cab is a ''criminal activity'' deserving five years, then I guess you probably deserve a life sentence every time you put others' lives at risk by jumping a red light.You idea of ''justice'' nauseates anyone who can think straight. And now we're guilty too. Why not stick with Thai Visa, Mister Ree? That's the spot for you and the other red-neck lynch mob dingbats.


Well done but arrest those behind it all, the organizers of this the intimidators etc take all of their assets, every last penny and property and put it in a fund to help those made unemployed by the beach clear up. Let the intimidators now be intimidated themselves! Love giving it to bullies, they normally cry the loudest!

Posted by Mr Wolf on September 28, 2014 08:01


I know from experience in doing a development here, the powers that be never miss an opportunity to make some extra cash. Don't think for one moment that someone could build a restaurant on a beach without paying somebody. I had to pay a sign tax for my project plus 20,000 each year under the table. I had to pay the government fee for building permits plus 40,000 baht per villa. I had to pay under the table for the PEA to install the power polls , wire and transformer that I paid them for. I had to pay for all the house registration books. The last book, 10 bottles of Johnny Walker Gold Label! These are just some of the bribes that I had to pay. I know you say "just say no" to paying a bribe, but it's not possible. If you say no your project is shut down. Your money is lost. You have no other choice but to pay. My contractor was born and raised in Phuket. He too had to pay money to plain clothes Police if one of the Burmese didn't have his papers with him. They would come to the project at least once a month. Anyway, don't print this. I just wanted to say ...

Posted by Tim on September 28, 2014 08:40

Editor Comment:

You should take your allegations to Major General Paween at Phuket City Police Station, especially if you have receipts and can identify the officials involved.


Newer Android versions no longer support Flash. I hope you will soon change your "photo album" format to something viewable on all platforms. Thanks!

Posted by Climberboi on September 28, 2014 15:09

Editor Comment:

Another reader suggests this might help. Please let us know:

Saturday April 13, 2024
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa


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