The confusion follows a report posted online by an English-language news portal yesterday (July 24) quoting the Governor as saying, “Swimmers have been banned on every beach until the crocodile is caught”.
As such the report informed readers, “Swimmers have been banned on all beaches in Phuket while the crocodile hunting operation is still in operation.”
The Phuket Governor has yet to respond to questions directly from The Phuket News to clarify the report posted in English yesterday.
However, Somprasong Saengchat, Chief Lifeguard at Patong Beach, this morning confirmed to The Phuket News that he himself has confirmed that there are no such orders banning swimmers from entering the water at all Phuket beaches.
“We have already held a meeting with the Patong Municipality. There are no orders to close Patong Beach,” he said.
“In the area of Patong Beach and other nearby beaches such as Karon, there are officers on watch and people are allowed to play in the water, but only in designated areas,” he added.
Mr Somprasong noted that tourists were not allowed to swim at Tri Trang Beach and Paradise Beach, where the crocodile has been spotted, confirming the safety mandate issued after sightings at those locations earlier this week.
At Patong Beach, safe swm zones have been set up, but other areas have been marked with red flags indicating it is too dangerous for people to swim at those areas.
Likewise, at Surin Beach red flags have been posted all along the beach as surf conditions are too dangerous for swimmers to enter the water.
Meanwhile, the hunt for the crocodile continues, Supachai Chanphet, Head of the Karon Municipality Tourist Assistance Center based on Karon Beach, confirmed to The Phuket News this morning.
“We are now focussing our search around Tri Trang Beach and Paradise Beach, and officers are on watch at Patong, Karon and Yanui,” he said.
“The crocodile was last seen near Tri Trang Beach around 3pm yesterday,” he added.
Officers are also scouring the coast around the headland at the southern end of Patong Bay to Freedom Beach, Mr Supachai noted.
“The patrols are closely monitoring the beaches at Tri Trang, Paradise Beach and Patong, as well as any other areas where we believe the crocodile might travel to.
“We are continuing our search all day long. There is always constant communication between the command centre and me,” he said.