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Police reveal how Phuket's public beaches were rented out - for billions


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I'd be happy for the sunbed vendors to get the slap on the wrist that the sentence from six years ago represents.

It's those that were taking the money that need to do the time.

Any bets that it will be the other way round?

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Think of what that money could do for the education system and to bring the quality of life up for the poor. I really hope this is not a blip on the radar. It will take a strong will to stand up to the wealthy.

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It looks to me that some hotels were in on the deal

I don't think they any choice, Pay or have the mafia pollute the and intimidate your costumers on the beach in front of your hotel.

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today in pattaya the police and military were measuring beach vendors spaces,the vendors were noticably ''pissed'' i was told the rows of chairs and umberellas which sometimes are 5 deep,will be reduced to (2) rows per section..as we know on high tide it is impossible to walk the beach as the vendors take up all the space....this is terrific news.....sawadee (love the crap)

Same is true in Jomtien today: tape measures, about 5-6 cops with other official looking types at various sites up and down beach. Umbrella people didn't look too happy.

"“Tomorrow about 15 sunbed operators will be summoned to the police station to be charged with trespassing on public land." I think that approach is a bit harsh. They dealt with officials and paid fees so they could do business. That went to pockets of corrupt politicians for sure, but who else would they get permission from? Report it to police? Ghostbusters? Who you gonna call? I think losing their investment in umbrellas and related vending stock is punishment enough. As far as government abuse, triple damages of money they stole from people of Thailand, 15 years minimum in prison hard labor.

I have to admit the permission argument is persuasive to me. In most places, permission to use public space is granted by the municipality. In Bangkok, for example, all those booths that line both sides of the sidewalk on Silom Road, are licensed by the Bangkok Municipality. The licensing is enforced by the Municipal Police or Thetsabaan. I suppose any honest business man (or even one who is less than honest) would think a license from the municipal administration, signed by the Mayor, would be legitimate. Of course you have to pay a licensing fee, that's not bribery.tongue.png

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Who's to say the hotels or their locally employed managers aren't neck deep in this. For example.

The locally employed manager/ senior staff member of the hotel says to the mayor we want to reserve the 80 meter beach front of our hotel for our guest sunbeds. If you give this guy ( who just happens to be my brother in law ) a concession to manage beachfront the hotel will pay him and he will pay you. The hotel will expense it and the leasee ( my BIL) will pay the tax. Your name won't appear anywhere. You'll be clean and the stupid farang owners/ international management company of the hotel will not question it deeply as their whole existence relies on their direct beach access.

It's still wrong and it could be way off base but I dont think anything in phuket us as cut and dried as we'd like to believe

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Democracy is so overrated....nothing better than a (mostly) benevolent dictatorship to clean up the mess....so far, it seems good

Benevolent Dictatorship is a Urban Legend. Not in history has one turned into anything good. Tito came close, but no cigar.

"Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time." Winston Churchill

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Democracy is so overrated....nothing better than a (mostly) benevolent dictatorship to clean up the mess....so far, it seems good

Benevolent Dictatorship is a Urban Legend. Not in history has one turned into anything good. Tito came close, but no cigar.

"Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time." Winston Churchill

Jigme Wangchuk did a pretty damn good job prior to abdicating the throne in Bhutan!

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I'm not much of a beach person so I don't know... how much does (did) it cost to rent a chair & umbrella for an hour?

Assuming these are public beaches, then whatever the cost, it should be a zero budget arrangement - the income going to pay for the cost of the furniture and vendor's salary and nothing more.

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The Mayor of Karon did not keep these "billions" - many people higher up than him also benefited.

I would like to see the names of those above the Mayor - this will be interesting reading, if he squeals. I am sure these names will include those with guns and politicians (or, more likely, their bag-men).

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but the other side tourist need sun beds and umbrellas. so someone have to rent.

Why on earth should someone have to rent. There are many places (but not in this country) where the municipality put sunbeds on the beaches for free and the nearby restaurants, bars and hotels will supply food and drink for those that want it. Hawkers are not allowed on these beaches. I hope Thailand can also adopt such practices.

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but the other side tourist need sun beds and umbrellas. so someone have to rent.

They should do the same as other countries and rent out the beach with control on prices and the money goes to central/local government - not the mayor's pocket.

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Wade72 raises a rational point. The “discovery” by investigators about the money involved in the renting out of beach space on Karon and Kata beaches may not be as scandalous as it seems.

Wade : “If the money had gone into public coffers in the first place there would be no corruption charges at this point.”

“… most municipal governments generally can issue permits, and charge for the permits, to operate businesses on public land when they can show it is in the publics interest.”

In this case the “Municipality would allocate a sunbed operator space in front of the resort.” It would seem that if the Municipality does have authority (either explicit or implicit by the lack of such prohibition), is transparent about the transactions (ie., public notice, municipal council review), and follows proper public procurement procedures (ie., competitive bidding, fair value), then such transaction should be treated as legal. If the Mayor keeps the transaction secret, has a conflict of interest with operators/hotel owners, and/or embezzles the receipts, he has probably committed one or more criminal offenses but that does not incriminate the transaction.

Having an exclusive legal license, the sunbed operator is then within his legal right to transact with the adjacent hotel for exclusive right to the operator services for which a fee would be proper. If the operator has a conflict of interest with the hotel, and/or fails to report income for tax purposes, he has probably committed one or more criminal offenses but that does not incriminate the transaction.

The Municipality can choose now not to renew such licenses (cancellation may result in costly breach of contract to the operators and lawsuits by the hotels). But obviously, the hotel owners and their guests might be upset for the lack of sunbed services (perhaps even advertised by the hotels to attract bookings) that might result in future lost bookings.

Before the law enforcement authorities get too far ahead of themselves, they should examine the whole picture before charging people and hotel owners with breaches of law. If corruption is pursued frivolously, driven by a mindset for accolades, the enforcement body becomes ethically and morally broken.

where to start with such apologetic nonsense
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but the other side tourist need sun beds and umbrellas. so someone have to rent.

They should do the same as other countries and rent out the beach with control on prices and the money goes to central/local government - not the mayor's pocket.

Get rid of the unsightly umbrellas and uncomfortable beach chairs and most of all the rip off people running the place. Pattaya beach looks like a garbage dump. It would be a big plus for the General if he cleaned up the beaches. Not holding my breath though.

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And another big head line from the NCPO, I donot understand what is the real problem.

Even if the local entrepreneurs would send contributions to Bangkok, what is the chance that that money would end up in the state's coffers?

To my belief the biggest thieves are located in BKK.

In the stock market there is a word for this kind of practice, it is called 'window dressing'.

We are to believe the Army is really stepping up against corruption in this country by issuing campaigns and releasing press statements regarding their clamping down on airport taxi maffia, on mini-van maffia at the Victory monument, on tuk-tuk and motor bike gangs, beach vendors etc.....yeah right!

The amounts of money being stolen by these controlled gangs come nowhere near the amounts diappearing at government level, as in the Ministry of the Interior, Transport, Education, shall I go on?

This country will never change in my opinion and if you really want to live in a South Asian country that is well managed and almost free of corruption, you should move to Singapore where a fried rice with chicken or a nice drink at a cool bar costs ten times more than it does here, if you catch my drift.

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"...Yutthana’s sunbeds, umbrellas, and other furniture were seized when he was arrested. He asked the court for their return. The judge said no."

cheesy.gif cheesy.gifcheesy.gifcheesy.gifcheesy.gif

What an arrogant fool. facepalm.gif

Well, perhaps let him keep one.

For his cell.

The definition of organized crime.

But, no mafia on the islands... wai2.gifwai.gif

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I see hope in Thailand under Junta, might be a historical moment for Thailand. Never knows

Keep on dreaming!

Never heard of that bomb detector fraud scandal, did you?

While it was already clear that it was a big and very expensive scam and the product was nothing more than a useless joy-stick sold for hundreds of thousands baht per piece, they were still ordering some more devices....quite historical indeed.

See also:

http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/jan/26/fraudster-paid-government-promote-fake-bomb-detectors

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-23768203

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today in pattaya the police and military were measuring beach vendors spaces,the vendors were noticably ''pissed'' i was told the rows of chairs and umberellas which sometimes are 5 deep,will be reduced to (2) rows per section..as we know on high tide it is impossible to walk the beach as the vendors take up all the space....this is terrific news.....sawadee (love the crap)

I totally applaud the actions and intent of the gov't doing this for: 1. trying to stamp out the nationwide ethic of corruption that is rampant and entrenched into society and 2. giving back some of the power and pleasure to ordinary citizens and tourists not looking to be scammed.

Now I am wondering when will the inevitable violent backlash happen? Let's hope it doesn't.

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