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.
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.”