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Phuket's Nai Harn beach, cleaner than it has been in a decade

Phuket Taxis, Beaches Face Further Action to Restore Phuket's Reputation

Sunday, July 6, 2014
Phuketwan 'Brave Enough to Change' Campaign

PHUKET: With further action to reshape Phuket's taxi system expected at any moment, tourists and residents are enjoying uncluttered streets in some parts of Phuket where cabs and tuk-tuks once hogged all the space.

It's the same on many beaches, where vendors and umbrellas and loungers have been banned. Shorefronts have been cleared.

Rocky headlands where illegal restaurants were once opened - apparently without fear of action by local authorities - have been cleared.

Nai Harn, Phuket's southernmost beach, has now joined Surin, Kamala and Laem Singh among the beaches where the magnificent vistas of the sea are now evident again.

Lifeguards say they have never had it so good - they can scan the beaches for people in trouble without their vision being impeded by umbrellas.

Ironically, Nai Yang beach - which is partly in Sirinath National Park - may not be among the beaches returned to their natural state for some time.

The beach, close to the southern edge of Phuket International Airport, is subject to an MoU between the national park rangers and the beach restaurateurs that allows parts of the beach to be used for commercial purposes.

The MoU is legally binding, even though parts of the beach are in the national park.

The test for all of the beaches is yet to come. As the tourist high season approaches in November, entrepreneurs are bound to seek ways of restoring their income from tourism.

The National Council for Peace and Order, which orchestrated the beach clearances and the action against Phuket's taxis that has so far included scores of arrests, will need to be certain the beaches are kept clear.

That will test the mettle of local authorities, who only cleared the beaches because they were forced to by Thailand's coup command, which assumed control on May 22.

Patong beach and Patong taxis and tuk-tuks have yet to be fully controlled. The same applies to the airport taxis, where the system suits the drivers and nobody else.

Phuketwan has even been told that some taxis persist in taking arriving tourists to agencies in the hope of gaining illegal commissions from resorts.

After being dropped off at the agency against their will, the tourists are told that the resort where they have already made a booking is closed.

They are advised to make a booking at a resort that the agency recommends. The agency and the taxi driver split the commission from the resort, and the tourist, having been effectively abducted against their will, is sometimes none the wiser.

Others who discover they have been duped usually decide never to return to Phuket.

Commissions are in many cases a bigger scam than the excessive fares charged by Phuket's taxi drivers, another topic that residents and visitors hope the military will address before long.

Comments

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The beach, close to the southern edge of Phuket International Airport, is subject to an MoU between the national park rangers and the beach restaurateurs that allows parts of the beach to be used for commercial purposes.
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Sorry????? How do the Park Rangers have the legal right to enter into agreements about HM King's land?

I thought a national park was meant to the one place where commercial activities were not allowed.

Yet according to your report, the one place where such activity should not exist now seems to be the one place where it is legally allowed to exist....

That is absolutely crazy - take a walk along Nai Yang Beach and you'll see what that so-called policy has resulted in ==> dozens of illegal concrete and wooden restaurants, massages and guesthouses.

Might I suggest an investigation into who has sold the national park 'down the river'?

Posted by Simon Luttrell on July 6, 2014 13:50

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There is a bigger scam I've yet to see mentioned in any report. That is corruption involving the payment of taxes and VAT.

It works like this, a business may owe millions in tax. The official greatly reduces the tax bill but takes a substantial payment for doing it.

This is a huge money spinner in the multi-millions for certain officials.

Posted by Arun Muruga on July 6, 2014 14:29

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I love this campagne to Clean up the beaches. But what happen with Patong, no cleaning so far?? I Think the army do not have muscle to fight the M.

Posted by sunlove on July 6, 2014 15:12

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I agree with Simon Luttrell. Most, if not all of the restaurants and bars on Nai-Yang Beach are illegal, else why have they been asked to remove them, year after year?

Posted by agogohome on July 6, 2014 15:38

Editor Comment:

The ''new'' building was erected by the local municipality. Others are less legal.

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@Arun Murunga

That what elite's kid learnt in Europe, as both VAT as a kind of tax and VAT-carrousel fraud originated there, and still is a huge problem in EU.

I'd like to recall a case of VAT fraudulent refund of few hundreds mill.USD from Thailand budget, where Ministry of Finance few years ago even refused to start formal investigation, citing "autonomy", "privacy" etc.- but the scale of a single case fraud was ASTONISHING, it doesn't in such volumes in EU as per case, if only resembles Magnitsky VAT fraud investigation in Russia of the similar scale - and we know the result of it..

Posted by Sue on July 6, 2014 16:07

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I had been abducted by the taxi driver to an agency last time i was there. I still went to my hotel and reduced the tip to the driver for taking me there.

Last time I went from the Airport to Patong the taxi cost was 700 baht.
Does anyone know the current taxi rate for the same ride?

Posted by John on July 6, 2014 22:18

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Commenting again about the situation at Nai Yang, the fact that the beach is in the national park should have strengthened it's defence against encroachment, not weakened it.

Like all the other beaches in Phuket, it is public, not private land ==> HM King's land. So it is afforded the same protection from encroachment as Surin and Kamala beaches, for example.

But Nai Yang beach (and Naithon and Layan) is also in the national park, which should surely add a second level of defence against encroachment.

Why does it's status within the national park seemingly weaken it's defence against encroachment?

How can the park rangers or the local OrBorTor override the principle that this is HM King's land within a protected national park area?

This MoU that is mentioned in the news report has no legal status - it is akin to me writing a MoU that Donald duck owns Buckingham Palace.

Please remove all these illegal structures from the beach AND the national park.

Posted by Simon Luttrell on July 7, 2014 07:03

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@ Sunlove - if you had read previous reporting the crackdown for Patong is scheduled for 15 July or thereabouts. The other area still awaiting action is the Airport Taxis.

Rome wasn't built in a day and with entrenched attitudes in Patong it won't be broken in a day. We are less than 2 months into the 'change' (as we are not supposed to use the other 'C' word now), look at all the things that have been done so far and use that as a model for what may occur in Patong. Limited actions so far along Kalim and Nanai has already had tangible results.

Even someone as pragmatic as myself is a huge fan of what has happened over the past 6 weeks and I only hope the momentum can be maintained.

Posted by Mister Ree on July 7, 2014 09:12

Editor Comment:

Are you making a prag of yourself, Mister Ree?


Sunday June 26, 2022
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa

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