THE PAVILIONS PHUKET BRITISH INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL, PHUKET
THE PAVILIONS PHUKET BRITISH INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL, PHUKET Kata Rocks
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Astonished tourists watch as armed police and marines visit Phuket beach

Astonished tourists watch as armed police and marines visit Phuket beach

PHUKET: Tourists on Kata Beach were this afternoon (July 2) bemused and perhaps a little alarmed to see police and heavily armed Navy Marines in flak jackets trudging along the iconic white sands.


By Tanyaluk Sakoot

Wednesday 2 July 2014, 07:06PM


Two tourists get massages under the watchful eye of the military as Mayor Thawee (left) tells the masseuses their sala must be torn down.

Two tourists get massages under the watchful eye of the military as Mayor Thawee (left) tells the masseuses their sala must be torn down.

With them was Karon Mayor Thawee Thongcham, who was politely asked by the police to speak with vendors and massage operations who have set up makeshift buildings on the beach.

Pol Maj Gen Paween Pongsirin, head of the current investigation in mafia taxi activities that is also looking into the mayor’s finances, told him, “Don’t worry. If you have any problem getting people to move off the beach, the Army and the Navy will support you.”

As topless tourists lay, half-dreaming, in a massage sala – constructed illegally on the beach – they found themselves alarmingly surrounded by men in camouflage uniforms who talked to the masseuses about the need to get their sala off the sand. “You have until Saturday (July 5)”, they were told.

Laguna Golf Phuket

It was just one more episode in a torrid time for the mayor, under investigation for supporting mafia taxi activities and possibly for money laundering.

Yesterday he was put in a barred-window police bus to be taken to meet the Chief Provincial Prosecutor while this morning he was ordered back from the airport, where he was about to board a plane for Bangkok, when police raided his office in Karon Municipality looking for evidence.

But the tourists knew nothing of this. Some chatted with the Marines and police. One said, “Wow! It’s cool seeing soldiers visiting the beach.”

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