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Phuket's Famous Beaches Face Demolition of All Foreshore Beach Clubs, Restaurants, Mayors Crisis Meeting Hears

Phuket's Famous Beaches Face Demolition of All Foreshore Beach Clubs, Restaurants, Mayors Crisis Meeting Hears

Thursday, June 26, 2014
PHUKET: All of Phuket's famous west coast beaches face a ''Year Zero'' start all over again process that could see all businesses cleared from foreshores and all vendors banned from the sands, an emergency meeting of mayors and Phuket administrators heard today.

Most of the businesses on the edges of Patong, Kamala, Bang Tao and Surin beaches are constructed on nor sor lor titles, which cover public land and prohibit the use of the land for private profit.

Judging by what transpired at today's emergency meeting, which lasted two-and-a-half hours, the odds are that all beach clubs and foreshore restaurants at the west coast beaches are likely to be demolished.

Five-star Surin beach is the first beach to come under intense scrutiny by the the military coup command - enough to have the local Mayor Ma-Ann Samran say that he is genuinely scared.

Bangkok authorities are closely monitoring what is happening on Phuket's beachfronts, he said, with Army officers often questioning local officials and taking notes.

The mayors of Cherng Talay, Patong, Karon and Kamala's deputy mayor were ordered today to quickly produce historical data covering the nor sor lor titles that allow occupation only to the original individuals who were awarded the titles.

''I am wearing a shirt where all the buttons have been put in the wrong holes,'' Mayor Ma-Ann told the meeting. ''Please tell the Army that we want to get this right.

''Phuket Province should help us. I do not want to end up arrested like the Mayor of Karon [the meeting broke up laughing.]

''Please scope exactly what I should do. And ask the National Council for Peace and order to join our committee. Put them on our team. Otherwise, I am scared.''

Mayor Ma-Ann said that emergency money after the 2004 tsunami enabled the Phuket Provincial Administrative organisation to build some structures along the southern edge of Surin beach to help the local recovery, and the local Cherng Talay council did the same along the northern strip.

But once the original occupiers moved on, those titles became invalid, Mayor Ma-Ann said. The new occupiers continued to try to pay rent to the Cherng Talay council for the premises, but Mayor Ma-Ann said his predecessor realised the payments were corrupt and stopped taking the money.

Ironically, the five representatives at the meeting today from Karon have all been charged over alleged taxi-related extortion and intimidation.

But Karon moved its beach restaurants off the sand years ago and had never had a real problem with shorefront businesses.

Once the historical data has been provided by the west coast beach mayor, action is likely to be swift.

Vendors, loungers and umbrellas are already banned from Surin beach and it became plain today that kilometres of Patong beach will be declared a ''nature zone,'' too.

The Phuket Province lawyer and a senior prosecutor were present today and made the point that people who absorbed the original occupiers into companies to protect themselves from clearance would fail because the nor sor lor titles only cover one individual and deem that the public land must not be used for profit.

So the football stadium at Surin beach is probably safe, along with the Kamala Police Station. Both are on public land.


Comments have been disabled for this article.


I hope this action to clear the beaches & corrupt officials moves south to Nai Harn, Rawai, Ao Sane and Yanui Beaches.

Posted by anonymous on June 26, 2014 19:44


And you think that tourists will be willing to come on the beaches of Phuket without sun beds and sunshades? No to start my family. After 10 years of holidays in Thailand will go to Vietnam

Posted by gigitour on June 26, 2014 19:54


A fantastic job, Well done the army. Please get rid of the motor bikes from the footpath of patong beach.

Posted by Dobby on June 26, 2014 20:02


Starting to sound like the best news for Phukets beaches ever. GREAT

Posted by Arthur on June 26, 2014 22:06


Gigitour - in the old days there were just sandy beaches, and nothing else. The main attraction to Phuket was just that, and yet there were many tourists coming to flavor the true essence of Thailand. There are indeed many other places where tourists can enjoy the beach under a tree to get the shade, and a makeshift towel to sit on. The glory days are indeed coming back.

Posted by reader on June 26, 2014 23:42


in the old days we were young and stay on the sand was not a problem. wat they are doing is right, but I think you can put at least two rows of cots for each operator.

Posted by Gigitour on June 27, 2014 14:18


harray what a pleasure the beaches were great with just plan sand and people's towels and Gigitour Viet Nam is calling

Posted by capt canada on June 27, 2014 16:44


When I lived in Bang Tao many locals said they didn't even want to go to the beach anymore as they felt out of place and felt the business owners didn't want them around.

The great thing about beach life is it's egalitarian nature. I've met millionaires on Surin beach as well as working class people.

Many people love a quiet beach because you don't have to spend too much money during the day on your holiday.

Most of these clubs were set up by hotels wanting to earn off their customers all day by having them delivered to their own beach club.

All well and good- but not on the public's land.

Posted by Arun Muruga on June 27, 2014 19:06


@Arun Muruga

Observations very much to the point!

Posted by Sue on June 27, 2014 22:03


@ Gigitour - The majority of beautiful beaches around the world do not have beach chairs, which were originally used for rocky and cobblestone beaches. Surin was crowded today, people lazing in the soft sand, and keeping cool under the palm trees. People are learning to bring their own food and drinks, and new business opportunities (legal) will arise to satisfy the new needs and demands. Sounds like maybe you need to find another destination.

Posted by Ed Sanders on July 5, 2014 18:08

Tuesday September 21, 2021
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa


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