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Phuket beach rights viral video blows out to nothing

PHUKET: A video that went viral over the weekend of a tourist claiming to be ejected from what he believed was a public beach area on Phuket’s west coast has been debunked by officials confirming that the area is indeed private land.

By Eakkapop Thongtub

Monday 8 January 2018, 05:44PM

Phuket Governor Norraphat Plodthing yesterday (Jan 7) ordered a host of officials to respond to the video, posted by “Aziz Yotharak” and which was causing an uproar on social media.

The video shows the tourist engaged in conversation with a representative from the Dusit Thani Laguna Phuket resort, which fronts onto the beach at Bang Tao. The hotel staffer is seen pointing to other areas along the beach while the tourist, exasperated, continues the debate while waving his arms.

Arriving at the scene in force to defuse the situation were Thalang District Chief Kongtho-adul Chuthong, Cherng Talay Tambon Administration Organisation (OrBorTor) Chief MaAnn Samran and Cherng Talay Village Headman Jirayut Jirasonthon.

“We can understand by looking at the area that people think that the area is public beach land, but it isn’t. The area is private land owned by the resort,” Thalang District Chief Kongtho-adul said.

Mr Kongtho-adul pointed out that the same misunderstanding occurs with beachfront land owned by the nearby Angsana Laguna Phuket resort, which also owns sand-covered land that connects with the public beach.

“Everyone thinks this is public beach area, but the land is owned by the resorts,” he said.

Meanwhile, Dusit Thani Laguna Phuket General Manager Gordon Aeria today (Jan 8) issued a statement in response to the high-profile publicity.

“Regarding the viral video shared on 7 January 2017 on social media, we would like to inform the public that the hotel staff did not expel the tourist featured in the video from the property, as it was claimed,” the statement read.

“Concerned that the tourist and his children may be harmed by falling branches, the tourist was politely asked to move from underneath a tree where he and his children were resting. It is the responsibility of the hotel management to safeguard the wellbeing of all guests using our property.

“Dusit Thani Laguna Phuket takes great pride in promoting tourism to Thailand and Phuket. We are fully aware of our responsibility as an ambassador of Thai hospitality and we always do our utmost to take good care of tourists, be it our hotel guests or otherwise,” the statement concluded.

The Phuket News notes that the issue of the beachfront area in front of the two resorts in question has resurfaced time and again over the years, despite a high-profile investigation in 2004, some 13 years ago, finally confirming which land is privately owned.

The resort management and the Land Office had posts installed to mark the resort’s private land boundaries. The posts, as is usual in Thailand, include the number of the land title that confirms the land boundaries’ accuracy.

The Phuket News also notes that coastal erosion by strong waves during the southwest monsoon each year has only added to the confusion by pushing sand further up onto the adjoining plots of private land - making the private land look like part of the main beach.




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Christy Sweet | 10 January 2018 - 12:54:04

That marker  looks about as old as when the Casuarina trees got cut down for the condos. They were protected as beach trees once upon a time. What changed that status? An inlet was filled in. 
I'm about environment, wish more were. 

Jor12 | 10 January 2018 - 10:15:44

Tough. The posts were placed by..."The resort management and the Land mark the resort’s private land boundaries." Tough also that the land has been eroded. It's still private land. 

Don't see any homes affected by the buildings...even 30 years ago. Then, "the issue of the beachfront area in front of the two resorts in question has resurfaced time and again o...

Christy Sweet | 09 January 2018 - 18:36:19

Eroded? I witnessed that as more of a filling in, with machinery. That's how an ocean lagoon became an inland one facilitating the cracker box condos.  
Incidentally this ruined the view for about 2 dozen PRIOR home buyers of, CONglomerate. If owned one of those properties I'd be getting residents together.
 And who would have signed off on such a development, who would have know...

CaptainJack69 | 09 January 2018 - 14:16:26

So the beaches are public (supposedly) but when you buy land next to a beach and the beach erodes away turning your land into the beach, now the beach is private? Hmm...

Coastal erosion results in people losing land all over the world. Why is Thailand any different?

Fascinated | 09 January 2018 - 12:13:50

The incident has NOT been de-bunked. A lot of spin coming from the resort and Ma-Ann but nothing actually proven yet. It needs a proper land survey to clear this up, not the word of unqualified officials with a vested interest. As for 'falling branches' that was pathetic. A few posts achieves nothing- they need to clearly  (and legally) delineate their property.

Kurt | 08 January 2018 - 18:23:31

So, are we saying now that Phuket public beaches disappear due to no care of it by thai officials?
Than in a few years no tourists come any more to Phuket island, as they will be waved away by what ever official!

So, foreign tourists, book a expensive 4 start hotel at beach sites, become 'quality tourists', otherwise don't come.

What a approach to downgrade Phuket Island. Public...

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