Phra Ratchasirimunee, the head monk overseeing the administration of all temples in Phuket, Chief of the Phuket Provincial Office of Public Works and Town & Country Planning Thawee Homhuan, Abbot of Wat Mongkol Nimit in Phuket Town and the head monk overseeing the administration of all temples within the diocese of Muang Phuket Phra Kru Metta Pirom, Abbot of the Thepwanaram Temple (Manik Temple) in Thalang and head monk overseeing the administration of all temples within the diocese of Thalang who is now also the Acting Abbot of Phra Nang Sang Temple Phra Kru Promprapatsorn, Director of Phuket office of the National Office of Buddhism Winya Paladkhwa, and Thepkrasattri Mayor Piyawat Jirajamorn were on hand to watch over the removal of the 30 metre-tall statue.
A first attempt at removing the statue saw a steel sling being tied to the left hand and top part of the statue. However, workers failed to carry out the removal as the slings were too small.
Steel cables were then tied to the right hand of the statue but the cable broke.
The third attempt saw steel cable also tied to the statue’s head. Again during two attempts to remove the statue the cables broke.
Finally, as a last resort, a backhoe was used to completely destroy the statue.
Mr Winya said, “Today is the highlight of the demolition. Everything has been done following a plan set out by the Phuket Provincial Offices of Public Works and Town & Country Planning. It was the safest and most environmentally friendly way to remove the statue.
“The areas where these improper statues were located will now be divided into two sections.
“The first will belong to the Fine Arts Department who will have design plans laid out for what they intend to do with the area.
“The second will belong to the temple, engineers will do a master plan to turn the area into a historical area.
“Thao Thepkrasattri and Thao Srisoonthorn used this area as an army base in the past. Old people will also give some details for the improvement,” Mr Winya explained.