UPDATED (Friday): Govt bill inspections at Hua Hin tourist restaurants
published : 14 Aug 2014 at 14:10
writer: Jon Fernquest
Bill inspections of Hua Hin beach food vendors launched with fines & jail terms for swindling tourists or charging above reference prices.
Jirawat Phramanee, deputy mayor of Hua Hin municipality, meets food shop owners on Tuesday. (Photo by Chaiwat Satyeam)
UPDATE #2 (Friday)
After complaints about inflated bills for meals in Hua Hin, the Commerce Ministry's officials in the province, particularly in the Internal Trade Department and the Provincial Commerce Office, are now inspecting food bills at tourist and beach areas.
Previously, the ministry considered putting restaurant bills on the price control list under the Price of Goods and Services Act, but this idea was scrapped because Thailand has plenty of restaurants and intense competition, keeping food prices fair. In practice, provincial governors are eligible to declare an appropriate reference price at each location and a proper profit structure for food sellers not exceeding 30%. The food bills should be based on raw material costs, rent and other relevant costs. Prices should not differ greatly from other outlets at the same location.
Food traders found selling goods or services at prices higher than the reference prices will be subject to seven years' imprisonment or a fine of up to 140,000 baht, or both. If a vendor is found guilty of swindling a consumer, the penalty is three years' jail or a 6,000 baht fine, or both. Consumers have also been encouraged to use social media to spread the message about outlets that sell at inflated prices.
Read full story here
Hua Hin is the next beach to be targeted in the junta' s beach clean-up program to return beaches to nature. Hua Hin's beach has long been encroached on by a number of vendors and resort owners who have illegally built their own facilities right on the beach. The plan is to move vendors to special areas near the beach so that the beach can be cleaned up, but around 200 vendors have defied the order claiming that the areas they are being moved to are too far away. Vendors who have built permanent structures on the beach are currently being evicted but this is a legal process that takes time.
(Source: Thai PBS here)
High food prices spur larger government cleanup of Hua Hin beachfront
A lunch of papaya salad and seafood sounded like a fine complement to a relaxing day on Hua Hin beach to Ladda Chumchim and her family group of 11. Then they got the bill: 7,480 baht.
The total charged by one of the many food stalls in Hua Hin certainly was more than Ladda expected. The bill included charges of 250 baht for a plate of som tam, when the posted menu said the regular salad with shrimp cost 200 baht. And the platter of seafood was nothing special: just a half-dozen mussels, cockles, two prawns and a squid. The quantity served wasn't nearly worth 900 baht, she said.
Ladda paid the bill, but she wasn't done: She went to the police and plans to take her beef to the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) which, as it turns out, already had its eye on Hua Hin as the next target for its beach-resort cleanup campaign.
The price of food in Hua Hin is just the sorest of many sore spots tourists and authorities have in the popular beach town. But unlike in Phuket and Pattaya, where the NCPO sent uniformed soldiers to clean up the beach and back up police, Hua Hin officials are handling things themselves.
The province has planned a so-called "D-Day" where authorities will clean up the beach, remove illegal structures, and, to the delight of many tourists, regulate the service and price of food on the beach.
Mayor Nopporn Wuthikul said officials have surveyed food prices at beach stands and agree that some are charging too much. He said stall owners have been asked to reduce prices voluntarily, but the province ultimately will meet with vendors to set standardised prices and post clear menus.
Mr Nopporn also said authorities plan to reorganise the beach and remove stalls from public land. Officials said several already have agreed to move voluntarily.
Bussaba Phramtoh, owner of the stand where Ms. Ladda's group ate, defended her prices, claiming 13, not 11, people ordered 17 seafood dishes between 11am and 5pm. It was only when the bill was presented did anyone complain about menu prices.
Ms Bussaba said she offered the group a 1,000-baht discount to settle the dispute, but then discovered Ladda took her grievance to the police.
Other vendors have had their price disputes go viral online.
On Monday, the Facebook page for Phetchaburi and Prachuap's community TV news outlet published a 3,820-baht bill from a Hua Hin food stall. Papaya salad was sold for 150 baht with ordinary glass noodle and minced pork soup at 250 baht a serving. The average price of each dish was more than 150 baht.
Netizens commented that the food was overpriced, with prices similar to those charged by high-end restaurants. They urged authorities to investigate and better regulate food stalls on the beach.
Vendors, however, are hitting back. A group representing food shops on Hua Hin beach on Wednesday submitted a letter to NCPO chief Prayuth Chan-ocha, asking him to force Prachuap Khiri Khan governor Weera Sriwattantrakul to fairly reorganise the more than 160 shops on the beach.
Group leader Jongkolnee Ritthirong said some vendors had been operating on the beach for more than 30 years and have complied with regulations, contrary to the governor's claims the vendors are operating outside legal boundaries. They complained that regulation and removal of their stalls would impact their livelihoods.
As for food prices, Ms Jongkulnee said all shops had posted menus with clear prices. She claimed 150 baht for som tam with crab was the normal for tourist spots like Pattaya and Phuket. She added that vendors had suggested the province set a median price for food, but their suggestion had been ignored.
Finally, Ms Jongkulnee reasoned, the province was unfairly coming down on beach vendors while ignoring restaurants and resorts that have constructed buildings on public land near the sea. She said the NCPO should ensure the same standards apply to all businesses in Hua Hin.
Authorities meet with beach vendors in Hua Hin.
Another high surprise food vendor bill of almost 4,000 baht.
Authorities meet with food vendors in Hua Hin.
Learn from listening
- appropriate: suitable or right for a particular situation or purpose - ที่เหมาะสม
- authority (noun): a person or government agency who has the power to make decisions or enforce the law - เจ้าหน้าที่ผู้มีอำนาจ
- authority (noun): a person or group with special knowledge or expertise - ผู้เชี่ยวชาญเฉพาะทาง
- average: ordinary; not unusual or different in any way - ธรรมดา, ปกติ
- back up: to support - ให้การสนับสนุน
- based on (verb): information or facts used to make a story, calculation, judgement or decision - ตั้งอยู่บน,ยึดเป็นหลัก
- beef: complaint -
- boundary: a real or imagined line that marks the edge or limit of something - เขตแดน,เส้นแบ่งเขต
- campaign: a planned group of especially political, business or military activities which are intended to achieve a particular aim - การรณรงค์
- charge (noun): a payment or fee for something - ค่า
- claim (noun): saying that something is true although it has not been proved and other people may not believe it - ข้ออ้าง ข้อกล่าวหา
- clear (adjective): easy to see and understand - ชัดเจน
- comment (noun): expressing an opinion - การแสดงความคิดเห็น
- Commerce Ministry: the Thai government ministry focusing on internal and external tarde, ensuring free and fair trade and protecting consumers - กระทรวงพาณิชย์
- community: the people living in one particular area - ชุมชน
- competition: a situation in which people or organizations compete, i.e., try to be more successful or better than somebody else who is trying to do the same as you - การแข่งขัน
- complain: to say that you are annoyed, unhappy or not satisfied about somebody/something - บ่น, ร้องทุกข์
- complaint: when someone says that something is wrong or not satisfactory - การบ่น, ข้อที่ไม่พอใจ
- consider: to give careful thought to something before making a decision - พิจารณา
- construct: to build or make something, especially buildings, bridges, etc. - สร้าง
- consumer: someone who buys and uses goods and services - ผู้บริโภค
- contrary: completely different or opposed to something else - ตรงข้าม
- currently: at this time; now - ในปัจจุบัน
- declare: to announce officially that something is true or happening - ประกาศ ยืนยัน
- defend: to say things to support someone or something - ปกป้อง
- defy: to refuse to obey or accept someone or something - ฝ่าฝืน,ไม่เชื่อฟัง, เป็นปฏิปักษ์ต่อ
- delight: a feeling of great happiness and pleasure - ความปลื้มปิติ
- discover: to be the first person to become aware that a particular place or thing exists - ค้นพบ
- dispute: a serious disagreement - การโต้เถียง, ความขัดแย้ง
- eligible: allowed by rules or laws to do something or to receive something - มีสิทธิ
- encourage: to make someone more likely to do something, or to make something more likely to happen - ปลุกใจ
- encroach: to gradually enter, cover or take control of more and more of an area of land or sea - บุกรุก, ล่วงล้ำ
- ensure: to make certain that something happens or is done - ให้การยืนยัน, รับรอง, ให้ความมั่นใจ
- evict: to force someone to leave a building or place where they have been living or working - ขับไล่ออกจากพื้นที่ ไล่ที่
- exceed: to be more than something; to go beyond a limit - เกินกว่าที่กำหนด
- facility (noun): a building, equipment, etc., used for a particular purpose - โรงงาน, สถานบริการ, สิ่งก่อสร้าง, สิ่งอำนวยความสะดวก
- fine: an amount of money that you have to pay because you have broken the law - ค่าปรับ
- governor: a person who is chosen to be in charge of the government of a state or province or a government agency - ผู้ว่าการรัฐ, ผู้ว่าราชการจังหวัด
- grievance: a complaint about being treated in an unfair way - ความคับข้องใจ
- guilty: having been decided by a court of law that you committed the crime your were accused of - มีความผิด
- high-end: expensive and of high quality; having a lot of money to spend - มีคุณภาพ
- ignore: to fail to pay attention to; to pretend that you have not noticed or do not know about something - เพิกเฉย
- ignore: to intentionally not listen or give attention to - ทำเพิกเฉย
- illegal: against the law - ผิดกฎหมาย, นอกกฎหมาย
- illegally: in a way that is against the law - อย่างผิดกฎหมาย
- impact (noun): an effect or influence - ผลกระทบ
- imprisonment: the punishment of being put in prison - การจำคุก
- in practice (adjective): the way things are really done - การปฏิบัติ
- inflated: (of a price) higher than it should be - ซึ่งเฟ้อ
- inspect: to look at something carefully - ตรวจสอบ, ตรวจสอบอย่างละเอียด
- intense: very strong - แรง, เข้มข้น
- investigate: to try to find out the facts about something in order to learn the truth about it - ตรวจสอบหาความจริง
- junta: a group of military officers that governs a country, usually without having been elected - รัฐบาลทหาร
- legal: allowed by the law - ถูกต้องตามกฎหมาย
- legal: relating to the law or lawyers - เกี่ยวกับกฎหมาย
- livelihood: (the way someone earns) the money people need to pay for food, a place to live, clothing, etc - การดำรงชีวิต, การครองชีพ
- location: where someone or something is - ที่ตั้ง,ทำเล
- meal: the food that you serve or eat at one time - มื้ออาหาร
- median (adj.): having a value in the middle of a series of numbers; a measure of where the middle is or what is normal or usual (measure of central tendency) - จุดกึ่งกลาง, ตรงกลาง, ค่ากลาง (ทางคณิตศาสตร์), ซึ่งอยู่ตรงกลาง, ระหว่างกลาง
- ministry: a government department that has a particular area of responsibility - กระทรวง
- municipality: a town, city or district with its own local government - เทศบาล
- offer (verb): to make something available or to provide the opportunity for something - ให้, เสนอ
- officials: people who have the power to make decisions or enforce the law - เจ้าหน้าที่ผู้มีอำนาจ
- outlet (noun): a shop or place where a particular product is sold - ร้านขายสินค้า, ร้านขายสินค้าจากโรงงาน
- particularly: especially, or more than usual - โดยเฉพาะ
- permanent: happening or existing for a long time or for all time in the future - ถาวร
- platter (noun): a large plate that is used for serving food - จานตื้นขนาดใหญ่
- plenty: more than enough - มากพอ
- popular (adj): a situation in which someone or something is liked by many people - เป็นที่นิยม, เป็นที่ชื่นชอบ
- post: to put a notice, etc. in a public place so that people can see it - ปิดประกาศ
- present (verb): to show - แสดง
- previously: before -
- process: a series of actions that you take in order to achieve a result - แนวทางปฏิบัติ, กระบวน, วิธีการ
- profit: money that you make from selling goods and services after all your costs have been paid - กำไร
- prompted: caused - ก่อให้เกิด
- proper: right, appropriate or correct; according to the rules - เหมาะสม
- province: one of many divisions of the government of a country into smaller parts - จังหวัด
- provincial (adj): related to "provinces" , the different parts of a country - ประจำจังหวัด, ส่วนท้องถิ่น
- public (adj): belonging to the government -
- quantity: a particular amount of something - ปริมาณ, จำนวน
- raw material: a basic material that is used to make a product - วัตถุดิบ
- reason (noun): the process of thinking about things in a logical way; opinions and ideas that are based on logical thinking - เหตุผล, การใช้เหตุผล, การอ้างเหตุผล
- reference price: a price used to calculate other prices from; to control, measure or set other prices; a benchmark price -
- regular (adj): normal; following a pattern, especially with the same time and space in between each thing and the next - ปกติ, เป็นประจำ, เสมอๆ
- regulate: to control an activity officially by using rules - ควบคุม
- regulation: an official rule that controls the way that things are done - กฎระเบียบ
- regulations: official rules that control the way that things are done - ระเบียบปฏิบัติ
- relevant: directly connected and important to what is being discussed or considered - ที่เกี่ยวข้อง
- scrapped: decided not to continue with something, such as a plan or event - ยุติแผนที่วางไว้
- serving: one amount of food given to people to eat -
- settle: to end a dispute or disagreement, in this case, forcefully - ขจัดให้เสร็จสิ้น, จัดการ
- similar: like somebody/something but not exactly the same - คล้ายกัน
- social media: the use of web-based and mobile technologies to turn communication into an interactive dialogue, e.g., Facebook, Twitter, etc. - เครือข่ายสังคมออนไลน์
- sore (adj): hurting, aching - เจ็บ
- spot: the particular place where someone or something is - ที่, สถานที่
- spread: to (cause to) cover, reach or have an effect on a wider or increasing area or number of people - แพร่กระจาย, แพร่กระจายไปทั่ว
- stall: a large table or a small building that is open at the front, used for selling things (or for giving people information) - รถ หรือแผงขายของ
- stand (noun): a table or a vertical structure that goods are sold from, especially in the street or at a market - แผง,แผงลอย
- standard (noun): a level of quality that is normal or acceptable for a particular person or in a particular situation - มาตรฐาน, บรรทัดฐาน
- standardise: to make objects or activities of the same type have the same features or qualities; to make something standard - วางมาตรฐาน, ปรับเข้ามาตรฐาน
- structure: something large such as a building or a bridge that is built from different parts - โครงสร้าง
- structure: the way in which the parts of something are connected together, arranged or organised - โครงสร้าง
- subject to: affected by - ภายใต้บังคับ (กฎหมาย)
- submitted: formally given to someone so they can make a decision about it - ยื่นเอกสารเพื่อการพิจารณา
- suggestion: an idea or a plan that you mention for somebody else to think about - ข้อเสนอ, ข้อเสนอแนะ
- survey: to make an examination of something to find out about its condition - สำรวจ
- swindle: to obtain money dishonestly from someone by deceiving or cheating them - โกง
- target (noun): an object, person, business, building, area, etc., that someone intends to attack, deal with or find - เป้าหมาย
- total: to add up the numbers of something/somebody and get a total - ผลรวม, ยอดรวม
- ultimately: finally, after a series of things have happened - ท้ายที่สุด, ตอนสุดท้าย, ในที่สุด
- uniform: the special set of clothes worn by all members of an organisation or a group at work, or by children at school - เครื่องแบบ
- urge: to advise someone very strongly about what action or attitude they should take - ผลักดัน, กระตุ้น
- vendor: someone who sells something, but often not in a shop - พ่อค้าแม่ค้าแผงลอย
- vendors: people who sell things, e.g., food or newspapers, usually outside on the street - พ่อค้าแม่่ค้าหาบแร่แผงลอย
- viral: (of a video, photo, story, etc.) spread across the internet very quickly (like a virus spreading a disease) as people share it with their friends or the news media reports on it - แพร่กระจายผ่านทางอินเทอร์เน็ตอย่างรวดเร็ว
- voluntarily: done because you choose to do it rather than because you have to - ด้วยความสมัครใจ