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Major General Paween Pongsirin emphasises a point at today's meeting

Phuket Police Told to Keep Vendors, Sunbeds off Phuket Beaches

Thursday, September 25, 2014
PHUKET: Police on Phuket were instructed today to take action to prevent vendors and sunbed operators returning to work on Phuket's beaches.

Region 8 Commander Lieutenant General Panya Mamen reinforced the message with his presence at a meeting of all the island's senior police officers at Phuket City Police Station.

Earlier, the taxi task force led by Major General Paween Pongsirin raided the homes of 15 people in the Kata-Karon district, following up on 15 arrest warrants.

Those named in the documents - including Kata-Karon Mayor Tawee Tongcham - are to submit to interviews at a later date.

Some of the new charges against the mayor allege that he gave permission to beach vendors to work on the beaches.

Lieutenant General Panya said that vendors had gone to the Phuket Provincial Court suggesting that they had the right to work on the beaches because local councils had given them permission.

Lt General Panya said that Phuket Provincial Court had ruled that the Phuket councils did not have the authority to give vendors permission to work on the beaches.

As a result, Mayor Tawee appeared to have been in breach of the law, the commander said.

He told police that it was their responsibility to monitor the beaches and make sure the vendors did not return.

The ruling by the court and the insistence today that police officers keep the beaches clear appears to put an end to any hope that some tourists might have had that sunbeds and umbrellas could return before November 1, the launch of the Phuket holiday high season.

Sunbeds have been cleared from Nai Harn, Karon, Kata, Patong, Kamala, Surin, Bang Tao and all the smaller beaches along Phuket's west coast.

Some tourists are likely to arrive for their regular holidays, though, without learning the news.

The removal of the sunbeds is part of a push to restore the beaches to the public and promote the natural beauty of Phuket and the Andaman region.


Comments have been disabled for this article.


So the police will police the beaches? I expect the worst. The thin edge of a very large wedge of reinfiltration.

Posted by phonus balonus on September 25, 2014 17:34


yeah, I can just see the police now rushing to monitor the beaches...just like the Thai boxing trucks were suppose to stop blarring their loud "tonight, tonight" around town...and they still do..and just like they are supposed to monitor where the tuk tuks park...shall I continue?

Posted by zig on September 25, 2014 17:46


Thailand will find that there are less tourists 2015- 2016 when sunbeds are gone. Many who come this season will be disappointed and rather travel to another country next time.

Posted by Thaitourist on September 25, 2014 18:16


Vendors that men jet-skis and parasailing boats to a hope ?

Posted by Bjorn Ronningen on September 25, 2014 18:43

Editor Comment:

Sorry, what was that?


What a shame that those touting jet skis are not classed as vendors- they are selling/renting a product.

Mind you anything involving the Marine Police seems to descend to the depths, never to be seen again.

Thaitourist I would suggest that sunbeds or the lack of are not the main motivational issue for those travelling here on holiday- many never even visit the beaches. there is far more to do than just frazzle in the sun.

Posted by Mister Ree on September 25, 2014 18:48


What about the fireworks,still every night and nearly got hit by a motor bike on the side walk.Is it legal.

Posted by Dobby on September 25, 2014 19:38


Interesting that the ruling referred to dates back to 1979 so for 35 years this judgement has been ignored. More interesting is that this is being referred to as precedent ruling, which unfortunately, is rarely associated with the Thai legal system.

What can we expect next? Consistent and predictable decisions by a court!

Posted by Manowar on September 25, 2014 23:02


"Thailand will find that there are less tourists 2015- 2016 when sunbeds are gone. Many who come this season will be disappointed and rather travel to another country next time."

Yes, TAT are now eyeing cashloaded backpackers instead of the usual russkies, chinese etc. The Scandies are relocating to Khao Lak I guess.

Posted by Wilai on September 25, 2014 23:57


People should stop moaning and look at the bigger picture. I travel to Patong 2-3 times per year and I can tell you that the clean up of the beach front will not stop me returning. I have seen more public works done in the last few months than any of the previous 7 years I have been to Patong. There will be some hiccups in the implementation of things but give it a go people. To suggest tourists will stop coming because of a clean up in simply silly.

Posted by Phil on September 26, 2014 00:11


I wish Major General and the rest of the army would address the murderous insurgancy in the South, the killing of teachers etc..With as much vigor as they have crackdowned on the Taxi's sunbeds and vendors.

Posted by Jimmy Rawai on September 26, 2014 00:25


I hope the sunbeds comes back to the beach , it was a good service to the tourists . If we, the tourist come to the beach like its now . We NOT comming back. Phuket will loose many tourist when they do this .
I feel sorry for the people who had rentout sunbeds on the beach . Now they have nothing left . I hope they know what they are doing . If they wanted a natural beauty of Phuket , they should stop building all the new hotels they built the last 5 - 10 years .

Posted by Liz on September 26, 2014 04:34


Of course there are tourists like the Chinese, Arabs and young Australians which have been usually not renting chairs or umbrellas. But others like myself have been coming because of the perfect combination of weather, beach, food, culture and nightlife. Staying for a couple of weeks and enjoying amazing times. Having been here more than 10 times over the last 4 years I will return one more time in November. Will I come back after this trip without the opportunity to enjoy the beach with umbrellas and chairs? Probably not - staying more than 30 minutes on the beach without an umbrella or reading a book without chairs and umbrella is not the vacation I am looking for... I will probably move back to the Caribbean, Mexico or Bali... other tourists will still enjoy the nightlife or the cheap short or long term trips, but the type of tourists will change. I am not sure if this will be good for Phuket but I will enjoy my friends and the Island one more time. If there won't be a change in the future this will be my last visit. In nearly every other country hotels have their own chairs or people are able to rent one.... and I don't think that they all have the same corruption issues we've experienced in Phuket...

Posted by Anonymous on September 26, 2014 05:05


So the beaches are to be kept for the people. Thai's do not traditionally go to the beaches, and if there are no sunbeds there will be a lot less tourists. We come to Thailand because it is different than where we live in Australia, and if we can't have comfort on a beach we will find somewhere where we can. We will not be the only ones. The Europeans,who do come to stay on the beach all day every day, will find somewhere else to go, despite what Thaitourist says.

Posted by Dave from Brisbane on September 26, 2014 05:13


So much emphasis on "minor" problems like chairs and other non-bothering service providers on the beach. Little to non effort seen to erase the bigger annoyances like jet ski, parasail, illegally parking and operating taxis and tuk tuks with their rip off fairs, eternal road constructions, and so much more

Posted by Resident on September 26, 2014 06:27

Editor Comment:

Overnight change, Resident? Only the impatient would expect it. Most people consider corruption a major problem.


"Thailand will find that there are less tourists 2015- 2016 when sunbeds are gone."

Oh yes please!

Posted by Georg The Viking on September 26, 2014 11:29


@ anonymous
@ Dave f B

Cry me a river, I feel deeply sorry for you!

But why not adress your complains to the general?

Maybe he thinks about it all over again?

Posted by Georg The Viking on September 26, 2014 11:46


Seems to be a lot of "experts" who can see the future of tourism. This is what the people of Phuket want or need then it is to be. I just spent my first trip without a lounger and still had a ball.
Perhaps everyone should chill out and wait and see what happens. Who is doing the complaining, seems everyone is in Phuket and in no hurry to leave. Phuket is not Australia, or China or Russia or anywhere else. It will develop over time, lets not be in such a hurry to ask for immediate change. In the interim the old adage, like it or leave could probably be applied.

Posted by Davemc60 on September 26, 2014 11:56


So will they stop all the beach clubs and hotels charging guests to use a bean bag on the beach then? Is this not commercial use of the public beach? I also agree with Mr.Ed that corruption is the key issue here, which is still happening, and there still seems to be a them and us going on. Some of the surin structures are still there and not as reported been knocked down or converted to how they were. Yes good steps are being taken, but the bark seems louder than the bite.

Posted by John Holmes on September 26, 2014 11:56


No sunbed no umbrella, no tourists .

Posted by Bill on September 26, 2014 13:59


I anxiously await the day when these same laws will be applied to the jet ski operators. After seeing how ferociously they are going after the sunbed vendors not just kicking them out but no charging many of them, not to mention the continued heat on the tuk tuks and taxis, I no longer believe they are ignoring the jet skis. The jet skis are just farther back in the que. Hopefully next. Stay tuned.

Posted by Nomadjoe on September 26, 2014 19:19

Editor Comment:

The only sunbed vendors likely to be charged are the ones who have made small fortunes by claiming ownership of the beaches and demanding and receiving large sums from resorts. This is a small police team from off Phuket. Getting it right takes time.


As one that was to return to Phuket in 2015, the loss of umbrellas and chairs means I am cancelling my phuket vacation

Posted by Tank on September 28, 2014 16:42


The removal of sunbeds will be the start of a decline in tourism for Phuket. I holiday here for two months every year. I do not wish to lie on my towel on the sand, nor do i want to be constantly in the sun without the shade of an umbrella.Unfortunately i have already booked for December, but i for one will not return next year if this situation continues!

Posted by Fat Bob on October 6, 2014 00:10


I will not return to phuket. We have worked hard and looked forward to our break, we have been here many times. Not being able to hire a sunbed or parasol has completely spoilt our holiday. We are moving on to krabi which is prebooked and I cant wait!!!

Posted by lynne on December 16, 2014 18:17


I will not return to phuket. We have worked hard and looked forward to our break, we have been here many times. Not being able to hire a sunbed or parasol has completely spoilt our holiday. We are moving on to krabi which is prebooked and I cant wait!!!

Posted by lynne on December 16, 2014 23:14



may I pre-inform you that in Krabi mainland sunbeds have been banned already since few years ago?

Posted by Sue on December 17, 2014 00:27


People are getting their tan in Sydney yesterday.

No sight of sunbeds, and of umbrellas too.

Posted by Sue on December 17, 2014 03:50


Sue, your picture has just missed out by 5 meters of including the house ( should say beach shack) where I was born.

Posted by Manowar on December 17, 2014 07:16


Manowar, ha ha, so you are just moving in your life from one beach to another! Not bad!
That Freshwater beach in Sydney seems to be quite nice, and albeit not being a swimming beach, with hot chicks are there too - who are feeling same same well on the towels like others, sans snobbism.

Posted by Sue on December 17, 2014 08:29


Back then is was more commonly called Harbord Beach and that SW corner of the beach had a few similar shacks. In the late 1970's the state government inacted a foreshore policy with the intention to eventually reclaim the foreshore for public access by restricting further development to those properties. You then had the choice to either enter into a compulsory sale or keep the place on the basis that no future development was allowed, hence the original building on the beach.
You know how is was in the swinging 60's, the beach may contributed in more ways than one wishes to think.

Posted by Manowar on December 17, 2014 10:48


How absolutely crazy how else can the locals earn money. When this news hits the tourist trade in England people will stop coming to thailand. I feel so sorry for the local people who are always so friendly..

Posted by mrs sally steadman on March 1, 2015 10:39

Editor Comment:

There is no unemployment on Phuket and plenty of jobs available. The beaches are public spaces that belong to all Thais, not just ''the locals,'' many of whom are from other provinces or Burma.

Saturday April 13, 2024
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa


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