The club remaining open flies in the face of demolition orders issued last year, giving the owner seven days to demolish the club’s buildings by July 15, 2015. (See story here.)
Yet the club posted promotional material complete with photos on Facebook on Monday (Feb 1), saying, “The restaurant, massage, diving, snorkeling, kayaking, fly boarding, donut boating; all this awaits you on this bay. The entry fee is 350 baht and children under 12 enter free.” (See here.)
Lt Sompop Kamkhana of the Royal Thai Navy, who led the raids last year, told The Phuket News this week that he was aware that the club was still open.
“The owner of the business filed an appeal, claiming that due legal process was not observed (in issuing the demolition notices),” he said.
“The case is under review by the Phuket Provincial Office,” he added. “As requested, I filed the evidence supporting the decision to demolish the building on January 21.
“We are still waiting to hear the results (of the appeal), which we should receive by early March.”
Lt Sompop remained confident that the club will be brought under the law. “After all the illegal buildings are demolished, we will resolve the problem of them charging an entrance fee, too.
“We have already sent a request to the Agricultural Land Reform Office to build a public path to the beach for everyone to use freely.”
Asked why no public path to the beach already exists, he answered, “I have no idea. I have asked many people, but nobody knows.”
Nui Bay Member Club has a long, notorious history among many previous visitors, including many claims by foreign visitors of threats and intimidation by staff members there.
In the initial raid, when Navy security personnel, police and senior provincial officials arrived at the site in February last year, officers arrested Jakkapong Sawadtawee, 30, a member of staff at the club who tried to flee in his car. (See story here.)
Navy men chased him down in their own car and forced him to stop. In his car they found a Glock 9mm semi-automatic pistol and the equipment for smoking crystal meth. (See story here.)
That raid followed complaints from local people that staff of the Nui Bay Member Club had barred them from walking to the beach unless they paid a fee, and had fired shots to threaten them.