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Surin's beachfront is now lined with restaurants and beach clubs

THE BIG CLEANUP Businesses Warned

Monday, August 5, 2013
EXCLUSIVE: Brave Enough to Change Phuket

PHUKET: Local authorities were ordered today to clear all construction from the seashore at Surin beach within 30 days or face a probe by the Department of Special Investigations.

Vice Governor Jamleran Tipayapongtada told Cherng Talay Mayor Ma-Ann Samran and the Chief of Thalang District, Supot Chanakit: ''If you can't do it, tell me.

''On August 9, the DSI will arrive and I will give all the information to them.''

Khun Ma-Ann: ''If the Phuket administration wants it done, I will have it done.''

The Vice Governor also said that the Phuket administration now plans to keep Mai Khao beach pristine and free from loungers, umbrellas and vendors.

He was speaking at the latest in a series of meetings aimed at correcting problems associated with Phuket's beaches.

Most of today's long meeting at Phuket Provincial Hall in Phuket City was taken up with discussion about Surin beach, perhaps considered Phuket's five-star beach because of its proximity to luxury resorts and hillside villas.

The disputed constructions are on the seaward side of a pathway that runs along the Surin beachfront.

Some of Phuket's most popular beach clubs and restaurants are on the seaward side of the Surin beach pathway and several more are under construction.

''We will put up a sign warning people first that they have 30 days to remove their constructions,'' Khun Ma-Ann said.

Vice Governor Jamleran responded: ''We have had enough talking and enough information for a long time already.

''The DSI have no local interests so I am sure they will take care of this matter. The anti-corruption people will be coming to Phuket with them, too.

''We will ask them to look at this as well. If any person on the beach says 'This is the name of the big guy behind me,' please let me know.

''I will pass all the information on to the right people.''

Vice Governor Jamleran and Governor Maitree Intrusud were at a planning meeting with the DSI, Bangkok police and the Ministry of Tourism and Sport in Bangkok last Friday in advance of next Friday's looming intervention on Phuket.

It's been some years since a similar seashore crackdown removed all the restaurants that had been constructed on the seaward side of Surin's beach path.

In recent years, one Surin restaurant has resisted all attempts to remove a timber barrier implanted into the sand below the high tide mark.

''All beaches need to be free and available to the public, and that standard needs to be enforced on all Phuket beaches,'' the vice governor said.

''I want to send a very strong message to all of you people [the local councils controlling Phuket beaches].''

His comments today indicate that Bangkok's intervention on Phuket is genuine and likely to lead to major changes.

The vice governor said Mai Kaho beach would be kept free of vendors, loungers and umbrellas so that Phuket could offer those tourists who enjoyed pristine beaches at places such as Krabi an alternative.

Phuketwan was the only Phuket news organisation with a reporter at today's meeting.

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Hiding behind the DSI makes the Vice feeling strong and me laugh. Without DSI coming, nothing would have happened, obviously. Let's see if there are changes to come.

Posted by Resident on August 5, 2013 18:36

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"In recent years, one Surin restaurant has resisted all attempts to remove a timber barrier implanted into the sand below the high tide mark."
Will it be different now?

Posted by Alfred on August 5, 2013 18:39

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Don't miss out Naithon Beach.
This monsoon season has brought the high tide mark further inland. This has washed away beach sand that tented restaurants rest on, destroying beach toilets, which have now been exposed to reveal just cement cylinders which used to be burried in the sand.

Posted by Red Kettle on August 5, 2013 19:50

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Khun Ma-Ann: "If the Phuket administration wants it done, I will have it done."

A clear apology to his mates running the restaurants and clubs.

Posted by Buster on August 5, 2013 20:33

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How would someone provide the info that Vice Governor Jamleran said he would like to hear about? Is there a phone number or email address?

Posted by Tim on August 5, 2013 20:35

Editor Comment:

There will be, soon. Look out for details after Friday.

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I don't see the problem with the beach clubs and restaurants that are on the land between the pathway and the seawall. I think they add to the beach in the day and in the evening. What would be there if they are removed an area of deserted probably neglected land.

Businesses that actually extend down onto the beach are another matter.

Posted by soupdragon on August 5, 2013 21:19

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Clean the beaches sounds like a good idea, but you need some of these businesses that actually clean them to be there. Why not focus on getting meter taxi and clamp down on illegal over priced taxi.
Although TAT announcing that they will not market Phuket in 2014 means none of this matters with no tourists coming.

Posted by Resident on August 5, 2013 21:37

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Glad that they will keep Mia Kaho beach free of vendors, loungers and umberells. I have been stayed at west sands a numer of times and enjoyed the clear beach there. I think they deliberatly don't invade the beach so it will support good resort's.

Posted by kirkdale boy on August 5, 2013 21:47

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I wish someone has the balls to follow-up.

Posted by Fritz Pinguin on August 5, 2013 23:31

Editor Comment:

Perhaps if you used the word ''courage'' the more intelligent people on the planet might understand what you mean, Fritz. Or perhaps you mean ''ovaries?''

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balls and courage are the same.

Posted by eddy on August 6, 2013 06:50

Editor Comment:

They're quite different, eddy. ''Balls'' is sexist and used by old-fashioned men. It comes from the middle of last century, a time when men had no idea that many women actually had what men wanted: courage.

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Great report Khun Chutima but very concerning that no other news outlets were present at this meeting. This lack of reporting by local Thai newspapers is one of the major reasons why Bangkok have thought everything is fine in Phuket. Have they been instructed NOT to report negative/critical news?

Posted by mike on August 6, 2013 07:50

Editor Comment:

Not that we're aware, but you'd be better off asking them.

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Using "balls" may be vulgar or slang, but it's now in common and correct usage. (moderated)

Posted by eddy on August 6, 2013 07:59

Editor Comment:

Not in places where women recognise sexist language and stand up for their rights, it's not. And it's just plain wrong. ''Courage'' says it accurately. ''Balls'' is a Boys Own term, about as popular these days as Biggles books.

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Phuketwan, go to have a look what for a huge beach club they are building ON THE BEACH in layan at the national park end , I would like to know who give that permit.

Posted by Eric on August 6, 2013 08:00

Editor Comment:

I suggest you raise the issue today with the Damrungtam complaints office and ask again at the crime Crisis Centre next week.

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(moderated)

Posted by eezergood on August 6, 2013 09:18

Editor Comment:

If you're the same 'eezergood' who recently offered up some unflattering and untrue comments about Phuketwan on another forum, it would be hypocritical of you to continue to post here, given your opinion.

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I am (moderated)

Posted by eezergood on August 6, 2013 09:29

Editor Comment:

You claim in the other forum to know me in real life. I hope there are other members who will take the trouble to ask you for details and expose you as a liar, and a not very good one.

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Good and interesting reporting Phuketwan. Well done.

Posted by Duncan on August 6, 2013 09:53

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If this time somethings really will happen I change all my negative view about the future of the Island... So let we see in 30 days. PS if want to send a very strong message to all people should be much better to remove the construction recently built in the center of Patong beach shamelessly on the seashore in front of Patong Bay hotel that belong to one of the most powerful families of the Island ...

Posted by dave on August 6, 2013 11:00

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I have a different view of possible solutions for Surin Beach and NaiThon Beach. These restaurants etc, should never have been allowed to be built in the first place, but they were. Why does the DSI rather follow the money trails instead, hit the wrongdoers with fines to the value of their properties and then charge them all a hefty monthly rental fee to be there? Then use the money openly, to keep the area tidy, free of litter and garbage. It seems to be a bit pointless now to take the structures down, when we all know, that they will just be rebuilt in the future.

Posted by DuncanB on August 6, 2013 12:10

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Full marks for making the 'noise'. Now lets see some action, finally ridding Surin of the beach clubs that encroach on public land...Oh, and don't forget to prosecute the corrupt officials that allowed it to happen in the first place.

Posted by agogohome on August 6, 2013 13:00

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(moderated)

Posted by Robintoo on August 6, 2013 14:32

Editor Comment:

Put a real name to your comment, address it to the editor . . . and I'll probably still dismiss it as carping. We are reporting what's being said as professional journalists. As an anonymous reader enjoying a free service, i suggest you learn to appreciate it, or go elsewhere.

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Seems as if they go quietly into that good night that they will not check any further. But with the sort of investment that you are talking about and the number of employees at these beach clubs, Cha Cha (slowly, slowly).

Expansion onto Patong beach should also be reviewed.

Posted by GiantFan on August 6, 2013 15:13

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Dear Editor,
You are the one who pontificates about free and unbiased reporting. I said for the record that I have nothing against Catch. In fact I frequent it regularly. They are the most successful club on the beach
which they deserve. I suppose its must be simply an over sight and coincidence that you elect not to mention that your sponsor may also be adversely effected by this initiative. We still have no public showers or decent public toilets or sufficient parking at Surin beach thank goodness we have a "useful Monument I mean football stadium :)
Question who will take care of the beach when its cleared. Many of these current operators at least take care of the space in front of their plots? Seems self interest permeates every where. Happy censoring :)

Posted by angus Keeling on August 6, 2013 16:13

Editor Comment:

Thanks for giving yourself a name, Angus. We're delighted to have the Twinpalms Group as a sponsor. It's a long-standing connection, and an obvious one to all readers. But as everyone may have noted, that hasn't inhibited us from reporting on what's happening along Surin's beachfront. By my reckoning, there are at least 20 businesses along the shore. Only one was named at yesterday's meeting, and it wasn't Catch. Your focus only seems to take in Catch and its connection to Phuketwan. The fact that we were the only news outlet at the meeting should indicate that we had the choice of reporting the event or not reporting it. We reported it - even though it could be seen by some as not in our best interests. We did that because we have a code of ethics, and we stick by our code. Will you be asking where the other news outlets were, and questioning their connections to advertisers every time some newsworthy link surfaces? Otherwise we'd have to say you're carping.

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There should be zero tolerance for encroachment and strict compliance with building codes everywhere and the coast is a good place to start. Any business people who have appropriated public goods for private profits should be ashamed of themselves. Everyone in Thailand know the status of the beaches, yet brazen encroachment seems commonplace. The logic seems to be everyone is doing it and making a lot of money...see no evil.

Posted by Yojimbo on August 6, 2013 19:44

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Back to the Balls comments and a direct quote from Ms. Betty White:
"Why do people say "Grow some balls"? Balls are weak & sensitive! If you really wanna get tough, grow a vagina, those things can really take a pounding!

Posted by gemjac on August 6, 2013 22:04

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Thank you PW Editor, for pointing out the sexist use of slang for male genitalia to denote courage. For those who doubt the sexism behind this common usage, (and yes, sexism is common, no argument there,) consider how equivalent female slang means cowardly or unpleasant.
How interesting this very same conversation was removed from a recent Thai Visa forum thread on local media, which the OP author requested the subject be discussed. The poster who claimed "balls" is sexist, based in sexist language that perpetuates sexism, was warned for "trolling." The subject cannot even be broached on the main boards.
Casual routine marginalizing females by way of slang terms ( and separate forums ) is par for the course to what are surely the most sexist westerners on earth, expats in Thailand.

Posted by EB48 on August 7, 2013 09:54

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" - surely the most sexist westerners on earth, expats in Thailand."

Yes but when the editor has them by the courage, their hearts and minds will follow.....

Posted by eddy on August 7, 2013 10:12

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I will be there on Friday, watching with interest. The amount of investment at the North end of Surin with Catch, the 2 new Catch outlets under construction now, Diamond Beach Club and the brand spanking new Paresa place must be staggering - but most of it will be knocked down!!

Posted by FrankieV on August 7, 2013 10:31

Editor Comment:

Is something happening at Surin beach on Friday, FrankieV?
You could be the only one there, unless the weather improves..

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Well you didn't let us down ed. (moderated)

Posted by Mal on August 7, 2013 23:09

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good one ed (moderated)

Posted by Mal on August 8, 2013 08:50

Editor Comment:

Good to see you accentuating the positive. What a huge change for you, Mal. Keep up the good work. Value, value, value. Make it your maltra.

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Good to see you accentuating the positive.

Yes it is and good to see you makinga fool of yourself by only posting moderated/edited clips of posts. Do you really think that the majority of readers cant see you for what you are?
You have really lost it big time...that is accentuating the positive, is it not. Anyways happy to see that you are reading my posts, tho' too stupid to see that they are all factual regarding you ever increasing display of senility.

Posted by Mal on August 8, 2013 09:52

Editor Comment:

We don't usually publish malicious lies, Mal, But yours are too silly to ignore.

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Well you didn't let us down ed. (moderated)
good one ed (moderated)

Nice to see some positive comments for a change.

Posted by eddy on August 8, 2013 10:03

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Ed what the hang is a maltra, in your answer to Mal? Are you an English speaker or only trying to impress people by using words you cant spell right?

Posted by Robin on August 8, 2013 16:17

Editor Comment:

If Mal has a mantra, it's a maltra.

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will the secret back hand commissions to built these things and be left alone be refunded?

Posted by slickmelb on August 11, 2013 04:34


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