Leading the delegation of officials was Phuket Vice Governor Supoj Rotreuang Na Nongkhai, accompanied by Rear-Admiral Warodom Suwaree, who is the Deputy Commander of the Phuket branch of Internal Security Operation Command (ISOC), the political arm of the Thai military.
Joining the delegation as enforcement were Royal Thai Navy personnel and officers from the Karon Police, the Land Reform Office, the Royal Forest Department as well as Karon Kamnan Winai Chidchiew.
The inspection team found nine stalls set up to sell food and drink to tourists, but apprehend only three vendors.
From the official report, it was not made clear if the three people arrested operated all nine stalls.
The three vendors, not named by officials, were taken into custody and handed over to the Karon Police to file charges of encroaching on government land under Sections 9 and 112 of the Land Act, Vice Governor Supoj explained.
The inspection was conducted in order to uphold the terms laid out under Phuket’s beach management policy, Vice Governor Supoj said.
“The Phuket Government really means to save beaches for the public, and we have prosecuted a lot of people who invade public areas to make money, mostly in the form of beach vendors,” he said
“This case also includes encroaching on land protected under the Forest Act,” he added.
“Most beach invaders say that they [encroach on beaches] because they have to make money for living. If everyone thinks this way, the beaches would be covered with with stalls.
“The Phuket Government has a policy for organising the beaches in order to compete with neighbor countries, so we have to protect the natural beauty of our beaches and nature to create sustainable tourism,” Vice Governor Supoj said.