However, officials today began deconstructing the structures, instead of crushing them with large excavators as done in carrying out the Surin beach demolitions last Wednesday (Apr 20). (See story here).
“We cannot demolish the buildings here like we did at Surin, because at Surin the government was demolishing its own buildings. Here, we have the right to remove the structures, but not destroy them,” explained Ma Ann Samran, Chief of the Cherng Talay Tambon Administration Organisation (OrBorTor).
The contingent of more than 100 officers at the site included Royal Thai Navy security personnel and police acting under orders of Phuket Provincial Police Deputy Commander Col Saman Chainarong.
However, objections by Tony Restaurant owner Kanokpol Somrak this morning delayed workers by only an hour before they began pulling down the restaurant.
“Today eight shops will be removed at Leypang and Layan Beaches, and the first restaurant to go is Tony Restaurant because it is the biggest among the eight,” said Vice Governor Chokdee Amornwat.
“The owner, Kanokpol Somrak, showed up with legal documents and tried to stop officials from proceeding. He insisted that he had the right to operate his restaurant while his case is being heard by the Administrative Court, but his attempt failed to stop the demolition after we reviewed his papers and talked to him,” V/Gov Chokdee added.
Noopadon Juntanoo, an officer with the Cherng Talay (OrBorTor), explained to The Phuket News that Mr Kamol presented a court order preventing the demolition. “But that was outdated and superceded by the court’s decision to reject that appeal,” he said.
Mr MaAnn added, “There are 10 businesses on Leypang Beach that will be removed, but today we will remove only eight because appeals filed by two of businesses are still being heard by the Administrative Court. We have to wait 30 days for the court’s decision before we can proceed.
“The beach covers 178 rai, and after the demolitions are complete, the entire area will be left as public beach,” Mr MaAnn said.
“We are waiting for the Land Office to issue a public land document, or NorSorLor, specifically for this area so there will be no further arguments about whether or not this is public land,’ he added.