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The Lotus restaurant goes at Phuket's Laypang beach yesterday

UPDATE Phuket's Clearances: Surin Beach Clubs Will Lose Power Before Demolition, Says Mayor

Friday, August 15, 2014
UPDATING All Day, Every Day

An excavator was completing the demolition of Lotus restaurant and the Palm Beach Club at Layan beach today, Cherng Talay Mayor Ma-Ann Samran said this afternoon.

Original Report

PHUKET: Phuket's well-known Lotus restaurant, the Palm Beach Club and other illegal shorefront establishments are being flattened and the power will be cut to Surin beach clubs next week, a local official said today.

Ma-Ann Samran, Mayor of Cherngtalay, said that action was now being taken under martial law with the Vice Admiral in charge of Royal Thai Navy 3 Command acting on the explicit orders of Thailand's ruling National Council for Peace and Order.

According to Mayor Ma-Ann, the proprietors currently renting the large and famous Lotus restaurant met with authorities yesterday but were unable to produce documents establishing lawful rights to operate the business on the sand at Laypang (northern Bang Tao) beach.

At that point, according to Mayor Ma-Ann, the Army's top officer on Phuket, Major General Somchai Ponatong, said: ''We have given you time already.'' He then left the Lotus, followed by all the other officials.

The bulldozers went into action soon after, Mayor Ma-Ann said. He added that yesterday saw most of the restaurants and other buildings on the seaward side of the road at Laypang demolished.

''Next week we will turn off electricity to the Surin restaurants and beach clubs and they will be destroyed before the end of September,'' he said.

He said that all extensions to the simple rectangular structures that were initially approved for Surin beach will be knocked down - which in effect means that existing restaurants and beach clubs, all modifications on the original structures, will be destroyed.

Local hoteliers have made the point that Surin beach will lose its appeal if the still-standing establishments are destroyed. But the NCPO appears to be following a ''no exceptions'' policy.

One of the largest solid-concrete establishments at Surin, Zazada, only opened last year. The demolitions will bring to an end a brief era when Surin beach had the reputation for being home to quality beach clubs.

Clearances in June of structures on the seaward side of a defining path along Surin beach left the shorefront with a more sensible balance of amenities and natural beauty.

Yesterday restaurants at Tri trang beach, south of Patong, and Nai Yang, close to Phuket International Airport, were brought tumbling.

It is believed clearance of a protruding restaurant at the Patong Bay Garden Resort stalled when land title documents were presented to officials yesterday. The owner, well-known businessman Prab Keesin, says that erosion caused by the 2004 tsunami makes his claim legitimate.

Another businessman, Roberto Ugolini, says he has a legal land title and all permissions for the landmark shorefront White Box restaurant at nearby Kalim beach.

More demolitions are to take place today at the beaches under his control, Mayor Ma-Ann said.

Comments

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Wow. Keep em' rolling.....

Posted by phonus on August 15, 2014 09:13

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That was quick. I was on Bang Tao on Sunday and Lotus and the Palm Beach Club were both in full, standing and proud.

Posted by Duncan on August 15, 2014 09:53

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What about the new Nikki Beach Club, Its right next to Layan Beach reserve. Lots of noise and cars. It it going to be torn down, or did they pay the right people to let it stand?

Posted by alford on August 15, 2014 10:27

Editor Comment:

The Nikki Beach Club is legal and legitimate and on a proper land title. We've been told that by both local residents and the beach club's lawyers. More business is likely to come their way once rival beach clubs disappear.

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Great news. We who know the real story behind these places at Surin know it is a case of 'reaping what you have sown.' They greedily tried to monopolize the beach with their financial might. Now everybody must suffer because of them.

What is sad is there are places now gone that tried to do the right. A Muslim friend of mine just posted a video on facebook of the Lotus getting demolished and his small shop nearby went with it. He had been there for years grifting out a humble living.

The greedy who tried to take too much have ruined it for everyone.

Posted by Arun Muruga on August 15, 2014 10:40

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[quote]
We've been told that by both local residents and the beach club's lawyers.
[/quote]

Ha-ha! They would say that!! What only matters now is whether the military deem them legal or not.

Posted by Simon Luttrell on August 15, 2014 10:52

Editor Comment:

There is no reason why local residents - subjected to traffic and noise - would agree with the Nikki Beach lawyers. Do you really think questions haven't already been asked, and answered? Why behave like a Thai Visa pest? Get over it.

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@ Arun "What is sad is there are places now gone that tried to do the right. A Muslim friend of mine just posted a video on facebook of the Lotus getting demolished and his small shop nearby went with it. He had been there for years grifting out a humble living."

Your friend was an illegal occupant of public land and deserved to get this ass kicked out. He was a bit player in the grand ole (illegal) opry! The fat lady has sung, at least for the time being.

Posted by phonus on August 15, 2014 11:30

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The Sunday brunch is particularly obnoxious in volume when one is trying enjoy the peace and quiet formerly enjoyed at one's own home.

Posted by The Night Mare on August 15, 2014 11:47

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It is the way it should be done in Phuket for all illegal properties built inside Sirinath National Park, Khao Phra Thaeo Wildlife Sanctuary, National Reserves, Forests, forest and agricultural land above the 80-meter limit and all building constructions built on land with a slope of more than 35%; without any bargain and compensation.

Posted by Whistle-Blower on August 15, 2014 12:28

Editor Comment:

And we hope the footpath encroachments are next, along with the resorts above 80 metres.

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My point is a lot of locals had small wooden shops near the beach. Sure they were illegal but they sold things tourists bought and they didn't encroach on the beach. It was like that for decades.

At Layan there are no shops or 7 Eleven and even the big hotels of Laguna didn't mind locals selling to their guests.

The problem started when Pla seafood set up on the sand at Surin and everybody wanted to do the same thing. This led to all the problems where everybody thought they could grab a piece of the beach.

Everybody knows the owner of Lotus and what he is like, nobody there will shed any tears for him.

Still yet to see any officials arrested for taking kick-backs to allow all this to happen in the first place.

Posted by Arun Muruga on August 15, 2014 12:44

Editor Comment:

The Lotus owner told me in 2002 that he was the son of people who started off with a small stall on the seashore. All encroachers are misusing public land. Many resorts in Patong now operate internal ''minimarts'' with prices that are almost competitive with 7-Eleven. Smart five-stars will follow.

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It's a pity that the one on Patong beach (the one most people want destroyed) is still hanging on in there.

Posted by rich on August 15, 2014 13:04

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"My point is a lot of locals had small wooden shops near the beach."

Not near the beach - on the beach, or on public land right at the beach. Good riddance.

Posted by phonus on August 15, 2014 13:18

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I for one am starting to feel sorry for these people who are loosing their livelihoods while the people who allowed this construction, public officials, get off scott free.

Their is a real lack of justice here and it also seem to be neglected by the media in Phuket too.

Posted by Ciaran on August 15, 2014 13:29

Editor Comment:

What would you like ''the media'' to do, Ciaran? If someone produces evidence of some crime, we'd be happy to pass it along. We've explained the problem that elected officials have in telling their voters they can't make money on the beaches. It's certainly no problem though for you to go to the Damrungtam at Phuket Provincial Hall or their new office at the Royal Thai Navy base and lodge a complaint. You could have done it years ago. But don't blame ''the media'' for your inaction, or your lack of evidence for your claims.

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Don't get me wrong, I'm happy the beaches are being cleared. However, I know some people are really going to suffer because of this because their little beach side shop was all they had.

Another friend Chin had a very small stall behind lotus selling drinks, fruit and beach toys, yet his wife made enough in the high season for them to survive through the low season when they were closed. He has two young boys and people like this are really going to be in financial trouble with no income.

There isn't a dole office in Layan either.

Posted by Arun Muruga on August 15, 2014 13:46

Editor Comment:

Work six months of the year, able to survive on the profit for 12? Real hardship. They will find something, AM.

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-Arun Muruga- " Pla seafood set up on the sand at Surin and everybody wanted to do the same thing."
My fellow country man and
good acquaintance had invested many Millions of Baht there. A beautiful Restaurant. Structures to keep the beach sand from eroding, a removable landing stage-catwalk, a small plastic island offshore. Expensive beach furniture.
I think, he does not like the military now. :-/

Posted by Alfred on August 15, 2014 14:15

Editor Comment:

Alfred, I visited your friend's beach when he was trucking customers in from Patong, when he had a floating pier, when he had a shower for his customers erected in the sand, and when the largest wooden-framed king-size beds blocked anyone else from using the beach. Don't bother us with your sad story, please. His investment was pure greed.

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Ed. your response to Albert is spot on. What arrogance these jokers demonstrate. (moderated)

Posted by phonus on August 15, 2014 15:01

Editor Comment:

We're not in the business of character assassination.

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@ed - are you not a journalist? Do you not seek the truth - follow the story? or are you happy reporting the same as everyone else?

Posted by Ciaran on August 15, 2014 15:07

Editor Comment:

To read our news service, offer your flawed opinions and fault us for your failings is the worst kind of intellectual flatulence. Bar room gossip is for bar room gossips.

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@ed - firstly sir my opinion is just as valid as yours if not more.

(moderated)

Posted by Ciaran on August 15, 2014 15:55

Editor Comment:

You've just proved your opinion is worthless. Goodbye Ciaran.

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Bablyon restaurant and its neighbours have also gone the same way as Lotus. Chatting with some local cherng thalay residents on Bang tao today who had nothing to benefit either way and they unanimously joked "mafia gone".
This is in line with my understanding from having spoken with many other local residents, that in fact much of the business on these beaches has been monopolized by non-local groups that have engaged in turf wars to protect beach land that they have illegally occupied to rent out jet skis and sun loungers.

For all the comments about how those operators cleaned the beaches where their loungers sat, let's consider the reality - yes some or most of them did keep their area of the beach clean, but also, most of them massively over populated their patch with pretty horrible ugly old umbrellas and wooden loungers, and all of this just led to more and more rubbish piled up in the car parks - they weren't paying any rent and so none of their profits were going towards rubbish collection or really taking care of the beach.

Does many people really miss the ugly loungers on the beach ? Speaking with many long time foreign residents, realtors and visitors, overall opinion seems overwhelmingly in favour of returning Phuket's beaches to their natural state. Few would dispute that Pansea beach (the Surin / Aman beach) is the most beautiful beach in Phuket and if the authorities would just seek to protect other beaches to a similar extent then there is absolutely no question that the international reputation of Phuket's beaches would be completely restored and Phuket could attract more and more of the right kind of tourists and residents that value and want to help protect what nature blessed this island with.

There is now a simply massive opportunity to restore the beauty to Phuket's beaches that had been progressively pillaged by greed, corruption, gross neglect and mismanagement, and those oh so lovely mafia types.

Let's turn the page Phuket !

Posted by Surin4All on August 15, 2014 17:44

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Hello ED. I only wrote facts about PLA Restaurant and my good acquaintance, since 24 years.
A "friend" is a different league.

By the way forgot the half grown, Palm trees he planted on the beach and the shower for his customers. (Thank you ED.) Some hundreds of thousand Baht alone.
When I write, "I think, he does not like the military now. :-/" You come to that conclusion and a statement that is funny. - "Don't bother us with your sad story, please."
I only wrote facts, or you think he likes the army now?
I feel not sorry for him, he is a good business man and made money in Patong for decades.
He will survive his loss.
Regarding, "when the largest wooden-framed king-size beds blocked anyone else from using the beach."
True, for a small part of the beach,
also, plenty of possibilities for beach goers to rent cheaper beach chairs from his neighbors.
But, that was no beach encroachment from him, somebody who, as it seemed, had the authority on Surin beach, or abused his authority on that beach, had rented him that beach space for a good sum and allowed his business until the "NEW TOP DOG" army, arrived. ;-)

Posted by Alfred on August 15, 2014 22:29

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-phonus-
1st who is Albert? " your response to Albert" me?
If you have problems with reading or writing, I understand, why I have to ask you.
2nd, please, show me the arrogance part in my posting. I only wrote facts.

Posted by Alfred on August 15, 2014 22:38

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@Fred/Bert

It's public beach not the Sudetenland. It's not for annexing by one party. Can you see where I'm going with this.

"There was no beach encroachment from him"? Riiiiiight.....

Posted by phonus balonus on August 16, 2014 08:25

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-phonus balonus-
Encroachment or not encroachment, that is a bit "splitting hairs"
A, as it seemed one at that time and since decades righteous authority rented space on the beach, out to people who where willing to pay the price.
One of the many who paid all over Thailand in the beach towns and villages for space on the beach, was the Manager of Pla Restaurant and beach club.
Responsible is the authority, who rented out all the places unrightful. They are to blame!

Posted by Alfred on August 17, 2014 01:23

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@Fred/bert

Sorry for getting your name wrong. I now realise Yoda you are.

Posted by phonus balonus on August 17, 2014 09:17

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I can see both sides of the argument here. Alfred is correct in saying Pla was given the green light by officials to do what they did.

However, I don't think you can say he entered into this agreement not knowing it was illegal and he was in fact paying for a commercial advantage. Everybody knew that.

Where was it going to end? You had Zazada construct what was a high end beach club and they then thought they 'owned' that end of the beach. They blocked nearly every access point to the beach the public formerly used.

These are public beaches, they are there to be used by every Thai and every tourist regardless of their economic position in life.

I know the owner of Pla, he owns the K Hotel in Patong. He is a nice enough guy but he must of known this wasn't going to last forever.

Pla herself told me how much they took on a good day in high season. Nobody asked him to to put in the floating pier. He also has a deep sea fishing business so he probably used the pier to pick up and drop off his fishing customers. His boat was always parked there.

Posted by Arun Muruga on August 17, 2014 09:41

Editor Comment:

Indeed. Phuket's beaches were taken over by a series of opportunists, each going one step further, and each encouraging imitators. There was no enforcement. So now, nature takes its course with a reaction that perhaps goes too far in the opposite direction. Pla and Zazada are both landmarks in putting self-interest first, above community rights and environmental obligations.

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Arun Muruga - which side of the "argument" do you think is the right side? Come on, don't sit on the fence.

Posted by phonus balonus on August 17, 2014 10:10

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The current clean up of the beaches is good but unless the officials who allowed all the encroachment are punished, it will be seen as totally unfair.

The business owners have lost their investment which in many cases is millions of baht. If the officials who pocketed millions in kickbacks go unpunished and keep their ill gotten gains - it will only reinforce the idea connected people in Thailand are untouchable.

So far we've heard a lot of talk about coming arrests but only a few taxi drivers have actually been banged up.

I realize these are not easy problems to solve and there are few with clean enough hands to claim the moral high ground.

Posted by Arun Muruga on August 17, 2014 10:17

Editor Comment:

Please produce evidence of corruption, AM, take it to the military and action is sure to follow. Speculation and gossip are pointless.

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Arun
"only a few taxi drivers have actually been banged up."

How many and what for, or it didn't happen?

Posted by phonus balonus on August 17, 2014 11:04

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Reading all the comments, I feel for everyone. However, what was that was. The best is to go back to square 1, as NCPO initiating now. Finish the illigal status of everything! Than build up again. NCPO can establish a government body which can give out limited concessions to thaipeople who live registrated on Phuket, have no crime records, and will pay for the concession and their taxes. it is good that from now no more free rides, like working illigal 6 months, and live on the money 12 months. That is not exactly a image of:.... I have to feed my family.

Posted by Kurt on August 17, 2014 11:49

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In regards to people working for 6 months and living off the money, what seasonal tourist destination in the world doesn't work like that?

Come school holidays airlines jack up their prices by hundreds of dollars. I don't see any outrage about that.

Whilst some of the Thai bashing we see online is justified, a lot of it comes from people who perhaps need to get off Phuket for a while to regain some perspective.

Try Lagos or Baghdad and then tell me how bad Phuket really is. Thais are very easy going and friendly and they suffer most from the corruption.

Posted by Arun Muruga on August 17, 2014 13:28

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I think the military are doing a great job, big or small all are treated equally if its illegal, money does not come into it and its about time.
There must be more than a few people around worrying about what is going to happen next as far as business goes and if they are operating legally or not

Posted by Peter Allen on August 17, 2014 14:42

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Can someone PLEASE tell me if the green leaf restrant at Layan Beach have been knocked down, it was nr the lotus restrant.

Posted by Robert. on August 19, 2014 03:40

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Green Leaf is now part of huge pile of rubble that is being distributed by high tides and picked through by scavengers. Best wear construction boots the next few years to walk on that beach

Posted by The Night Mare on August 19, 2014 12:06

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Maybe good to clear the beaches, but the way it is organised is an example of poor management. The buiding went down and now the beach looks like a war area.The army or local authorities are not managing the transport out of the beach of all these tonnes of destroyed buidings. I hope someone will have the idea to take care about that problem or the beaches will not be ready for the season.

Posted by Eric on August 19, 2014 14:55

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So east of:the surin beach road will:soon be a large:empty and at night dark expanse. I wonder what type of people:that will:attract:when the sun goes:down. I shudder to think.

Posted by Beji on August 22, 2014 15:07

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Beji wrote:So east of:the surin beach road will:soon be a large:empty and at night dark expanse. I wonder what type of people:that will:attract:when the sun goes:down. I shudder to think.

Katoyes maybe? ;-)

Posted by Wilai on August 22, 2014 23:59

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well its nearly the end of september... had lunch at surin beach last week with friend. yes some of the uglier and older buildings have gone and beach again looks like how it was when i moved here. i think Catch and Bimini and a few others are hoping they will be overlooked and allowed to finally stay, i hope they all go one rule for all.. it looks as though they are trying to demolish building that were added and trying to keep the original structures to be allowed to stay... they forget that the law was no financial earnings from these buildings.... they seem to have been on-sold a number of times and what are they doing making money this was not the rule..... i am sorry to see Catch and a few places like Taste restaurant go if this is the case but they will find alternate premises just like Catch has done with Blue Siam on Bangtao beach opposite the backside of Kris Resort....

Posted by aussieinphuket on September 22, 2014 10:00

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They're all still there at Surin Beach.

Posted by Anonymous on January 31, 2016 09:25


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