Mr Sanya is at the centre of a Thai media storm over him carrying a firearm while carrying out the raid on Monday morning (Nov 16), with a formal police complaint filed against him for carrying a firearm in a public area without a permit or necessary reason.
Kamala Chief Police Col Chaiyapreuk Phadiwarakorn confirmed to The Phuket News that the formal complaint was filed by Jirachaya Sitthichoke, who conducted the surfing class on the beach.
Ms Jirachaya told police that Mr Sanya was carrying the sidearm, a 9mm Glock, when he and four other officers arrived at the beach and seized her surfing equipment, which she valued at about B100,000, Col Chaiyapreuk said.
Mr Sanya was called to Kamala Police Station to explain his actions, Col Chaiyapreuk confirmed.
“He said he had permission to carry the handgun as had previously served as Kathu District Chief,” he said.
“We are not sure yet whether this is correct. We are still looking into the matter,” he added, and declined to answer further questions.
Mr Sanya Khonpian told The Phuket News this morning that the raid was conducted as the surfing class was being conducted on a part of the beach where all commercial activities are banned.
“I have asked them to move and warned them twice before, but they just ignored me,” he said.
“So yesterday we arrived at the beach and asked them to move again, and asked them to pay a fine of B200 as a warning. They still just ignored me, so we seized their equipment,” he added.
“The equipment is still here at the Kamala OrBorTor office. No one has come to claim the equipment or pay the B200 fine,” Mr Sanya said this morning.
“I have the authority to carry my gun as I previously worked with the Kathu District Office,” Mr Sanya said**.
“The Kamala OrBorTor chief has also agreed for me to carry my gun while on duty,” he added.
“This is normal. There is no need to be worried, there is no need for any tourists to worry,” Mr Sanya said.
** Clarifcation: It was later clarified that Mr Sanya worked with the Kathu District Office, not that he was a former Kathu District Chief.