The Phuket News Novosti Phuket Khao Phuket

Patong Mayor steps aside in illegal hotel crackdown

Patong Mayor steps aside in illegal hotel crackdown

PHUKET: Following Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha on June 12 ordering all illegal hotels to register under an amnesty in effect until Aug 18, Patong Mayor Chalrmluck Kepsup has confirmed that Patong Municipality will not be taking any action whatsoever under the order until further notice, despite the call by PM Prayut that the focus is on fire safety.

By The Phuket News

Tuesday 2 July 2019, 11:56AM

A lone tuk-tuk makes its way down Bangla Rd, in the heart of Patong. Photo: The Phuket News /file

A lone tuk-tuk makes its way down Bangla Rd, in the heart of Patong. Photo: The Phuket News /file

Operators of illegal hotels on June 12 were ordered by PM Prayut to register with local authorities. The order also temporarily suspended the enforcement of town planning and local building control regulations on certain buildings that are used for hotel business operations, effectively granting amnesty to hotel operators who have not been in compliance with these regulations and hotel laws in the past.

While it is not clear whether the order specifically targets owners of condominium buildings where units are rented out for periods of less than 30 days – by which the building by law will be deemed as operating as a hotel as defined under he Hotel Act – the plethora of small hotels in Patong that have dodged regulation are now squarely in the firing line as the order by PM Prayut was issued through the “emergency powers” Section 44 of the Constitution.

(See previous stories on the order issued by PM Prayut posted by The Phuket News here and here.)

The much-feared Section 44 specifically empowers the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) leader to issue any order “for the purpose of reforms in various fields, for the enhancement of unity and harmony among people in the country, or for the prevention, restraint, or suppression of any act which undermines public order or national security, the Monarchy, the national economy, or State affairs, irrespective of whether such act occurred inside or outside of the Kingdom”. (See here.)

Section 44 orders issued are all deemed lawful, constitutional and final, and require a report to be submitted to the President of the National Assembly and the Prime Minister “for acknowledgement without delay”.

Ms Chalermluck this week dismissed any responsibility for rolling out the order, instead saying that the responsibility lay with Phuket Vice Governor Supoj Rotreuang Na Nongkhai.

She even declined to give an estimate of how many hotels were believed to be operating illegally in Patong, Phuket’s busiest tourism town. “It’s a lot,” she said. “But all that information is with V/Gov Supoj.”

“We are not anything to them [illegal hotels] yet. We will wait for the Vice Governor first,” she said.

Operators of illegal hotels have two months to register their businesses correctly, Mayor Chalermluck noted. “After that it all depends on what special instructions that V/Gov Supoj has,” she said.

“We want illegal hotels to become legal, but it is Vice Governor Supoj’s responsibility. He will call out to all small hotels, including illegal hotels, across Phuket, not only those in Patong,” she added.

Zest Real Estate

Ms Chalermluck also confirmed that the amnesty granted under the June 12 order only re-confirmed an amnesty already granted in the fallout from a crackdown on illegal hotels in Phuket three years ago, when the Ministerial Regulation Prescribing Descriptions of Other Types of Building Used for a Hotel Business Operation 2016 under the Building Control Act (1979) was introduced. (See story here.)

However, the regulation applies only to buildings that existed before it came into force and whose owners desire to use the property as “Hotel” as defined by the Hotel Act.

The regulation issued in 2016, and the amnesty provided under it, remains in effect for five years, coincidentally until nearly the exact same Aug 21, 2021 deadline in the latest amnesty issued by PM Prayut on the condition that hotel operators register with local authorities.

“We know this regulation has been active for three years, but still some hotels are avoiding becoming legal, but now the Prime Minister has issued this order because he is concerned about tourist safety right now,” Mayor Chalermluck said.

Regarding breaches of building regulations other than fire safety, such as illegal wastewater disposal, Mayor Chalermluck assured that Patong Municipality officers were still “conducting inspections from time to time”.

“We [Patong Municipality] have done our part already with other things. We always repeat to them [hotel operators] about wastewater and trash, but it is nothing to worry about as most small hotels have their wastewater systems emptying into Patong Municipality drains. The drains connect to the wastewater-treatment plant,” she said.

Mayor Chalermluck’s assurance to The Phuket News oddly contradicted her own repeated pleas for hotel operators to have their wastewater systems connected to the council’s sewage network and the repeated – and self confessed – failings of Patong’s wastewater treatment plant to cope with the volume of wastewater flowing to it and through the Bang Yai Canal, which empties into Patong Bay at the southern end of the beach.

“I want them [hotels] to to fix some parts to be correct, even now parts of some buildings can be fixed to comply with the rules, but we have to wait for them to register before the August deadline first.

“V/Gov Supoj plans to bring together all hotels to join together in two months’ time. We will relay announcements immediately through Patong Municipality website and Facebook page,” Mayor Chalermluck said.

While not avoiding contact from The Phuket News, Phuket Vice Governor Supoj so far has been unavailable for comment due to his current busy schedule.

Comment on this story

* Please login to comment. If you do not have an account please register below by simply entering a username, password and email address. You can still leave your comment below at the same time.


Kurt | 02 July 2019 - 12:31:20

Mutiny of a Mayor! Wow! As all Acts do, also this 'Order' is like a fishing net with big holes. And thai are the best and trained to make use of them. Now the V/G scratch his head what to do with this unpleasant task. How nice just to be busy with preceding important ceremonies and not have time for this hotel matter. It's a law enforcement thing, yulk!  :-)

Have a news tip-off? Click here


Phuket community
Body of second missing Filipino found off Phuket

Koh Keow (Green Island) is 1 of 2 small islands in the south of Phuket next to Promthep Cape. Isnt i...(Read More)

Phuket readies for HM King’s birthday

Fascinated, it is clearly mentioned that no ban on alcohol sales has been announced SO FAR. What n...(Read More)

Cross Hotels & Resorts inks deal for new Phuket venue

To be clear, they are taking over an existing hotel, not adding a new one to Patong's already th...(Read More)

Phuket Poll: Environmental damage, prices too high

And what would Mr.K like officials to do about those high prices? Force everyone to sell food at low...(Read More)

PM Prayut calls out Phuket van driver for overcharging Aussie tourists

What has this water shortage talk from Mr.K to do with this article? And as he knows that there wil...(Read More)

Phuket airport van B3k fare ‘just a misunderstanding’, say police

As Mr.K knows the prices so well,maybe he could tell us what the published prices are at those desk...(Read More)

Phuket Opinion: Hit the dog

No one would deny that this was an appalling thing to do, but if you want to talk about legal ramifi...(Read More)

Phuket readies for HM King’s birthday

Err Capn Jack READ the last sentence there is CLEARLY mention of it....(Read More)

Bridging Supply: Officials reveal B3.5bn proposal to resolve island’s water shortage woes

Ahhhh Dkk- still as arrogant as ever I read. I've been waiting years for YOUR constructive comme...(Read More)

Phuket Poll: Environmental damage, prices too high

Great Phuket Poll. Now waiting for response of Phuket Officialdom as the outcome is significant. Sic...(Read More)