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Hotels given short notice to quit two tourist beaches

November 7, 2017 Headline News No Comments Email Email

Thailand’s Supreme Court has given nine hotels 15 days to vacate two beaches in Phuket after ruling that they had encroached on 28.5 hectares of public land.

The Department of Special Investigation (DSI) issued the order to the businesses occupying Layan and Lepang beaches in Phuket on Friday. They have until the weekend of 18-19 November to comply.

In the latest development in a long-running case, six people and three companies were found to have encroached on public land on the beaches, the Bangkok Post reported.

The court also ordered the nine original plaintiffs – including Oraphan Ploypetch, Phitak Boonpotjanasunthorn, Phangnga Resort Co Ltd and others – to return the coastal land to the state.

The Bangkok Post quoted DSI deputy director-general Prawut Wongseenil saying DSI officials would erect signs giving the occupants 15 days to leave the beaches.

If they failed to meet the deadline, the DSI would seek warrants for their arrest.

Prawut said the occupants were running hotels and other businesses on the beaches where land prices are quoted at up to THB 70 million baht per rai (about AUD 17.2 million per hectare).

The paper noted that influential and well-connected parties occupy many other plots of public land and national forests in Phuket but prosecuting such breaches is often very difficult.

In another development, Phuket’s beaches may have fewer cigarette butts from now on, as well as fewer hotel encroachments.

Thai authorities have announced that from this month, November 2017, they will introduce a smoking ban on beaches in certain tourist areas, including in Koh Samui, Pattaya, Phuket, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Chon Buri and Songkhla provinces.

Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) has just advised travellers of that.

Written by Peter Needham

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