The local residents, who asked to remain anonymous, said that at about midday on Saturday (Dec 25) a group of men arrived on a small fishing boat, passing dangerously close to buoys marking where divers were underwater to see the coral reef there.
The men then donned masks and went spearfishing. Their prey included several clownfish.
“Everyone knows that it’s illegal to drop an anchor on a coral reef, but this group of men ignored that and broke the law. They drove the boat closer to the tourists who were snorkeling, which made foreign tourists alarmed. They also shouted rude words at the tourists,” one of the local residents said.
This was not the first time the local residents had witnessed the behaviour by the rmen.
“We often see this bad behaviour by this group of men, and they always show that they are not afraid of anyone. They name several politicians they will claim will threaten people who challenge them,” the local resident added.
The local residents said they wanted officials to investigate the behaviour of the men.
“Foreigners also have been fed up with the behaviour of these for a long time. When tourists have criticised them, they immediately shout back, causing the tourists to feel frightened about this group of men.
“Every time these men come to fish, they bring longtail boats to anchor on this reef, which has destroyed the beautiful coral,” the local resident said.
Nui Beach has become notorious over the years for price gouging and threatening behaviour by people claiming the beach is theirs.
The illegal beach club, where tourists for years were extorted entry fees and even threatened with violence, was torn down by officials for illegally occupying state forest land last year.
To ensure workers were not threatened while carrying out the demolition, more than 100 officers descended on the site, bolstered by security personnel from the Royal Thai Navy Third Area Command and led by the Phuket branch of the Internal Security Operations Command (Isoc).