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Some 100 vendors and business owners who have been making a living on Patong Beach for years reacted angrily to the appearance on the beach this morning of municipal officials accompanied by heavily armed soldiers.
suriya Sintoke, Managing Director of the Solemio Group, which has had two medium-sized wooden restaurants on Patong Beach selling Thai and European food, pizzas and drinks for the past three years, complained to The Phuket News that the whole thing was unfair.
“I was informed last month that I must demolish the restaurants and if I don’t the army will do it.”
She accused the authorities of unfairness. “I was intimidated by some of the other businesses here. I believe the Municipality has singled me out.”
She shouted at the troops, “What are you doing? Why are you doing this to me? Please don’t pull down my restaurant.”
Mayor Chalermluck Kebsap said that no one was being treated unfairly and that about 500 businesses had already received notice to quit public land. “They already knew what was going to happen,” she said. “This is not about influential people.”
Col Somchai Ponatong, Officer in Charge of Training at the Royal Thai Army’s 41st Military Circle Command in Nakhon Sri Thammarat, who led the troops onto the beach, said there was no intention to deprice people of a living. He invited them to a meeting at the Royal Thai Navy 3rd Fleet base this Friday (July 11) to discuss options that would not involve them occupying public land.