The clock is ticking with the restaurants given 30 days' notice of demolition on August 4. The occupiers were today hoping to persuade the council and the Army that their paperwork is all legal and in order.
Owner of the Krua Pru Jeh Son restaurant, Chanakan ''Yok'' Kaewkarn, said today that the Mai Khao premises were not on the beach, were not associated with beach vendors, sunbeds or umbrellas, and were still all being operated by local people.
''There are no foreign investors here,'' he said today. ''We charge reasonable prices and we meet the needs of the tourists who stay in the resorts around Mai Khao.''
He said the occupiers were all locals and met the requirements of the nor sor lor title arrangement that allowed them to operate on public land under the control of the local council.
It's believed that people who ran the beachside restaurants further north at Sai Keaw pointed out the Mai Khao restaurants to the local council before their own establishments were demolished.
The small group of restaurants at Mai Khao and the line of beach clubs and restaurants along the pathway at Surin beach remain marked for demolition, even though a strong case could be made for retaining both.
The proprietors of some of the Surin beach clubs have suggested that rents be increased substantially, and that the rents be devoted to maintaining the beaches properly.
At both Mai Khao and at Surin, loss of the surviving restaurants would reduce the ambience and appeal of what are generally regarded as Phuket's five-star beaches.