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PHOTO: OrBorTor President Ma’Ann Samran showing reporters and officials where the beach is.

By Salinee Prap

Phuket has set up a committee to manage the 178-rai Layan and Laypang beaches in Thalang district after it was ruled as public space by the Supreme Court last year.

Efforts will be made to allow common use and prevent anymore encroachments, Phuket Land official Amnuay Pinsuwan revealed today (January 11).

The Supreme Court had issued the ruling on November 1, rejecting a lawsuit brought by six businesspeople who had challenged the province’s 2003 announcement of the land being public place.

There were nine businesspeople who contested the provincial decision but only six of them approached the court. The Supreme Court confirmed the previous courts’ ruling that the 178 rai was public land. Restaurants and businesses occupying this 178-rai land located in Tambon Cherngtalay had been told to vacate and their structures demolished by January 2.

But some areas remain occupied by new people who started their businesses before the court judgement and claimed they had nothing to do with the businesses that the court had ordered to move out. Amnuay said the authorities were gathering information about the area’s occupants.

Phuket’s Governor Plodthong has assigned Amnuay’s office and public prosecutors to bring the legal execution warrant to compel the remaining four businesspeople to comply with the court order by vacating the land.

An administrative order was issued for two occupants to move out and demolish their shops, despite their claim of no involvement with the legal battle. Another administrative order was for three businesspeople, who were involved in the original dispute but did not join the court battle, to also vacate, he said.

“The governor has instructed officials to implement clear and strict management measures to prevent future issues, including creation of a land management panel,” he said.

He also said that another committee was set up to check on the land’s exact territory and measurements, while the Cherng Talay Administrative Organisation was assigned to seek the demarcation of this land by Phuket Land Office, with territory markers erected.

This ‘map’ would be submitted for the National Land Committee’s approval and it would be announced as public land in the Royal Gazette.

The provincial-level panel would convene meetings to draw up measures for the management of the 178-rai land, which was initially divided into two parts: the conserved area behind a line of pine and coconut trees, and the beach area for public use.

- Phuket Gazette & The Nation