The news came to light after The Phuket News received reports that visitors using the beach are constantly harassed by beach vendors riding their motorbikes and saleng (motorbikes with sidecars) along the beachfront path, which is much needed at Kamala as the local cemetery blocks direct access to the beach for more than 400 metres.
“We have to jump like a rabbit left and right to give way all the time. Yesterday, a huge quad bike pushed his way through the tourists,” one local long-term expat told The Phuket News.
“There used to be signboards pinned to the palm trees showing that motorbikes and parking was forbidden along the beach way. But they are gone now,” one local long-term Phuket expat explained.
“This is a walkway and not a driveway. If you want to walk along the path, you can’t make it more than a few metres before a motorbike or salaeng is in front or behind you, honking for you to get out of the way,” he added.
The expat made it clear that motorbikes delivering supplies to local restaurants made sense, but there was still no need to park their motorbikes on the beach all day.
Nopporn Karuna, Deputy Chief Executive of the Kamala Tambon Administration Organisation (OrBorTor), told The Phuket News that his office was aware of the problem.
However, Mr Nopporn said that his office had been unable to have any effect to correct the issue – and added that Kamala OrBorTor would not take any further action until a formal complaint is filed with the Damrongdarma Centre.
Mr Nopporn also said that Kamala Police, not just Kamala OrBorTor, were responsible for addressing the problem.
However, Maj Chaiyapol Kunnareumit of the Kamala Traffic Police said that was not so, simply because the issue was not on public roads.
“It is the responsibility of Kamala OrBorTor to manage and control Kamala Beach,” Maj Chaiyapol said.
Maj Chaiyapol’s position on the issue stands in line with the official mandate handed down by two past Phuket Governors, and including current Governor Norraphat Plodthong, in making clear which government organisations are responsible for managing the beaches under the provincial “beach management” policy.
Asked if riding or parking motorbikes along the Kamala beachfront path was legal, Mr Nopporn said, “Absolutely not. It is illegal.
“No vehicles or belongings of vendors or residents are allowed (on the beachfront path), but sometimes we cannot fine the residents and vendors as we will have to fight and argue with them as they say they need to to do their jobs,” Mr Nopporn babbled, while recognising that the fine for illegally bringing a vehicle or other possessions onto the beachfront path was a fine of B200 up to B1,000 per transgression.
Mr Nopporn also dragged tourists into the mix, saying that “most” of the motorbikes involved were those used by tourists to come to beach.
“Now we have municipal officials inspect the areas around Kamala Beach twice a day: once in the morning and again at night,” he said.
“But we don’t have any signs to inform people to not park any vehicles on Kamala Beach,” he added.
Mr Nopporn did not provide any explanation of why such signs had not been posted.
“I know the situation. We tried to inform people about this violation, but found it was hard to do. Also, we have many problems at Kamala Beach to deal with,” Mr Nopporn said.
“If you want us to strictly solve this problem, people and residents must officially complain about this by going to the Phuket Damrongdhama Centre to report this problem.
“Then Kamala OrBorTor and Kamala Police will coordinate with the Marine Office to tackle this problem. It will take about one month to resolve this, but right now we don’t have anyone who has officially filed a complaint about this,” he said.
The Phuket News notes that as the Damrongdarma Centre serves as Thailand’s Ombudsman’s Office, its sole official purpose is to receive complaints against officials for failing to perform their duties.