The news comes after an inspection of the beach by Col Santi Sakuntanark, Commander of the 25th Infantry Regiment and the highest-ranking army officer stationed in Phuket, brought to light restaurants with even tables and chairs on the sand. (See story here.)
“I want to talk with the Cherng Talay chief about the restaurant with chairs and tables on the beach… He well knows about it, but he has done nothing to arrest these people. Bang Tao beach is one of the nine beaches under the ‘beach management’ policy,” Col Santi said last week.
Mr MaAnn met with soldiers on Tuesday (Mar 21), but failed to explain why the beach club restaurant was on the sand.
“I was away in Bangkok on Tuesday, so I am looking to meet with him tomorrow,” Col Santi told The Phuket News today (Mar 24).
“By the rules, the restaurant cannot stay on the beach, including its chairs and tables. It is not even allowed in the ‘10% zone’, where on Bang Tao Beach only sun loungers and umbrellas are allowed,” he said.
“Tomorrow, I really want to speak with Mr MaAnn, but he is always avoiding us and always busy,” Col Santi said.
“The main topic of our discussion is to be what he really wants to do with Bang Tao Baeach, before he sends his request to the District Chief,” he added.
Regarding the restaurant that is already on the beach, Col Santi said, “The owner claims the restaurant is on ‘their’ own land. I have now asked for co-operation from the Land Office, the Marine Office, National Park officers and other officials to determine this as soon as possible before I take any further action.”
Col Santi explained that clearing Bang Tao Beach of all vendors would be a lengthy procedure.
“There are many steps to do, and the final request must be submitted to the provincial beach management committee,” he said.
“And I know Mr MaAnn does not want to force the vendors from the beach, he wants to talk with them first,” he added.
Regarding nearby Surin Beach, which is also within Mr MaAnn's area of responsibility, Col Santi remained steadfast that it is to remain free of vendors.
“Surin beach is still a virgin beach, I insist,” he said.
Col Santi also pointed out, “I did not come here to change the rules. I am to here to enforce the beach management regulations that were already in place.”