There is a connection between the title of this post and a recent post of mine here about Phuket Beach Madness. There have now been some new developments about the beach “madness” and I am once more grateful to Phuketwan for being the bearer of that news. You will later learn as to why there is a connection between the title and Phuketwan.
Rohingya Peoples and Human Trafficking
In case you are unaware, Phuketwan is an English language newspaper based in Phuket, Thailand. Unfortunately, it is not being published after December 31 2015. I am unaware as to the reasons for it shutting down and I can only assume it is to do with its role in exposing the Royal Thai Navy’s involvement in corruption concerning human trafficking and the Rohingya people. Two of their journalists faced a criminal libel trial in Thailand as a result of their reporting on this issue.
Phuket Beach Madness
Back to the issue of the madness on Phuket’s beaches – this is what Chutima Sidasathian of Phuketwan wrote on November 5 2015 –
Tourists may bring their own equipment to Phuket’s beaches and sit on chairs under umbrellas wherever they like, Governor Jamleran Tipayapongtada said yesterday.
In a reversal of previous policy, the governor told a ”meet the media” gathering at Phuket Provincial Hall: ”If you are hot, bring an umbrella. When you are finished, take it off the beach, take it home. It’s simple.”
Until yesterday, one of several problems with the proposed ”10 percent zones” being introduced at all Phuket beaches was that tourists who brought chairs or sunbeds would be obliged to sit in the delineated zones.
Governor Jamleran, who recently took on the job of the holiday island’s top administrator, clarified what tourists can expect after many months of confusion since the military cleared commerce from Phuket’s beaches in June last year.
In response to a question from Phuketwan he said: ”If you are a tourist, you may bring your own equipment and sit anywhere on any beach. We will not arrest tourists who bring their own equipment. We will not do that.”
Phuketwan had asked whether the new rules were designed to suit the tourists, or local vendors.
At yesterday’s meeting, it was also made plain that the ”10 percent zones” would be for local workers only. People from other provinces would not work in them, providing tourists with hire mats and umbrellas, food and drink.
”Window shopping” vendors selling sunglasses and other items are also banned from all beaches. In the past, Burmese or Cambodians have often taken on these roles.
The governor said that the numbers of umbrellas available for hire would be very carefully limited, but the number could increase or decrease depending on demand.
The plan is for the registered beach vendors in the ”10 percent zone” to be obliged to form an association, so they pay tax.
”We are trying to help the vendors,” the governor said. ”If the businesspeople cannot follow the rules, it will be the end of the 10 percent zones.”
Land Titles officials will peg out five ”10 percent zones” at Patong beach on Friday. Patong beach is to be the role model for implementing the idea at all Phuket beaches by November 15.
Phuketwan has been an advocate of the ”sit where you like” concept for sunlovers on Phuket’s beaches.
I have previously made it abundantly clear that I love Thailand and Thai people. Like many countries in the world, it has its faults and problems.
I do have a problem with local officials telling me what I can or cannot bring to the beach. Tourists contribute to the Thai economy. Tourism forms a large part of that country’s GDP. But you wouldn’t believe it the way the tourists have been treated over the past year or two. I know people who have vowed never to return to Thailand because of all these shenanigans. Indeed, one of my readers left a comment to that effect on my original post.
Honest Thai Police Officers Don’t Grow on Trees
I have a bigger problem with a political system that dishonors talented and honest police officers. Not only has Thai bureaucracy dishonored one such honest Thai cop in Major Paween but it has also potentially placed his life in danger. It’s not as if honest Thai police officers “grow on trees”!
Once again I have to thank Phuketwan and Yan Zixin, formerly of Channel News Asia for this article in which she movingly describes her dealings with Major Paween when she was making a documentary about human trafficking in Thailand. I highly recommend clicking on that link to read her heartfelt and well written story.
I will be keeping an eye on that story. He seems such a nice guy as well as a good, honest Thai cop!