The second – and final – warning was handed down at a meeting at Phuket Provincial Hall attended by Department of Special Investigation (DSI) officials, Phuket Provincial prosecutors and the press this afternoon (Feb 13).
The vendors, mostly beachfront restaurants catering to tourists, were first warned to vacate the beachfront plots by official notices posted by the DSI on Nov 16 last year. (See story here.)
However, as recently as last week The Phuket News was receiving reports that several of the business operators were not allowing any persons, including tourists and local expat foreigners, to cross the land in order to access the beach if they were not paying customers.
Today, Lt Col Montree Bunyayothin, Director of the DSI’s Bureau of Natural Resources, led the meeting and announced the order for the business operators to vacate the land or face having their businesses demolished.
The order, signed by Phuket Governor Norraphat Plodthong, noted that it was issued to uphold a Supreme Court judgement handed down on Nov 1 last year.
The Supreme Court judgement overruled all claims to continue to occupy the land as presented by owners of restaurants and other businesses still operating on 178 rai along the Layan beachfront.
The order handed down today noted:
1. All plaintiffs and their colleagues must leave the land because it is the public land of the government. They must return the land as complete and in accurate condition to the government. If not, they will be reported to the court after the removal of any construction and assets, buildings, things, and any attendants out of the land. Any plaintiffs and attendants who ignore this order will be arrested.
2. Any people who claim not to be attendants of plaintiffs, including people living on the land are able to file a complaint for their rights to the court within the stated time in accordance with Section 353 of the Civil Code.
3. The people who are not relevant or people living in the nearby areas are ordered to avoid entering the land for their safety in life and property. They must not to obstruct officials’ operations. Otherwise, they will be considered as attendants under the sentence. Phuket Province officials will then coordinate to proceed further with legal action.
4. Any persons who do not follow the orders without any good reasons or excuses will be considered to proceed with a criminal case for not obeying the order of officials under Criminal Code 368.