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Beach-and-umbrella operators today (July 8) began clearing their businesses off Patong Beach, the last place holding out against the Royal Thai Army’s campaign to reclaim the sands for the public.
Truckload after truckload of beach chairs, umbrellas and the bones of makeshift bars, massage salas and little eateries were seen trundling through the town.
Patong Mayor Chalermluck Kebsap told The Phuket News this evening that Municipal officials had been going along the beach telling the local business people to take their gear away or face a tough time at the hands of a task force backed by heavily armed Navy Marines, due to visit the beach tomorrow.
“We have wanted to do this for a long time,” she added, “but until now it was impossible. Now it can be done.”
All along the coast beaches have been cleared, the most high profile action being on Surin Beach. Areas in the shade are now available for tourists who have had enough sun, instead of being occupied by umbrella renters.
Tourists appear to like the new arrangements well enough, though it does mean they now have to walk to the area behind the beach to buy food or refreshments, rather than have them delivered.
But now everyone can see the ocean at last.