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Fears that illegal structures were being erected on a popular beach off Phuket have been quashed after it has been confirmed that they are part of a film set.
The structures, under construction in front of The Racha resort on Racha Yai Island, about 25km south of Phuket, will be demolished after filming is complete, the Mayor of Rawai has assured.
Phuket has seen the demolition of many illegal structures over the past year as the Navy rolled out its support in the beach-clearing campaign ordered by the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO).
All the buildings along Phuket beachfronts were razed if they were deemed to be encroaching on public land.
Speaking to The Phuket News, Rawai Mayor Arun Soros said that the structures at Racha Yai island are a temporary setting for a production being made by a French film company.
“The structures will be there for at least two weeks and will then be demolished once filming is complete,” said Mr Arun.
The film company requested approval to erect the temporary structures from the Department of Tourism Thailand, who in turn contacted officials fromat Phuket Provincial Hall, the Marine Office and Tourism Authority of Thailand before giving the go ahead for them to be built, he said.
Santi Pawai, the director of the Phuket office of the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, visited the site today (June 23).
He confirmed that the buildings were part of the set for the French film Les Naufrages (“The Shipwrecks”).
“The film company has permission from Rawai Municipality and The Racha resort to set up the temporary structures on the beach – but they must demolish them after they have finished filming,” he said.
“The filming on location will help generate income for local residents and boost tourism business in the area,” Mr Santi added.
The movie, with an original script by Nicolas Saada adapted by director Maxime Motte, stars French actor Daniel Auteuil, who plays a banker who is absconding with stolen funds to Antigua when the private jet he is travelling in is downed by a hurricane.
The crash leaves him stranded on a deserted island with a fellow survivor, played by fellow French actor Laurent Stocker.
Filming in Thailand began on May 11 and will continue through July 8, and take in on-location shooting in Bangkok, Prachuap Khiri Khan and Trang.
Additional reporting by Supatra Sutham and Pijittra Taluengjit.