Survey finds most markets in Bangkok are illegal

Survey finds most markets in Bangkok are illegal

More than half of the approximately 1,000 markets operating across Bangkok are running illegally, city governor Aswin Kwanmuang says, as authorities ramp up efforts to address the problem.

Pol Gen Aswin said district offices were told to survey markets in their jurisdictions and provide reports on them to Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) executives within seven days.

Based on a preliminary survey, more than 1,000 markets were found in the capital, and less than half of them were licensed to operate, he noted.

Two approaches can be used to deal with the problem, he said. One is to close the markets and the other is to find ways to "right the wrong". He is understood to mean allowing market owners a grace period to obtain a licence to continue operating.

According to the BMA's Health Department, 364 markets are legal and do not include soi food markets or night markets.

The BMA has scaled up efforts to check on the illegal markets in the wake of an incident at Seri Villa housing estate in Prawet district on Monday, in which two angry women smashed a market-goer's pickup truck blocking their driveway. Video clips of the incident have gone viral.

The women said they had complained for years about five markets surrounding their house. The incident prompted the BMA to investigate the matter and widen its check on other markets.

A panel has been formed by City Hall to examine the status of the five markets. They are the Suan Luang 1, Ple, Yingnara, Rungwanit and Rom Lueang markets.

Prawet district chief Thanasit Metphanmuang Thursday met representatives from four of the markets near the two women's house. Ple market traders did not attend the meeting.

According to Mr Thanasit, Ple and Yingnara markets were permitted to construct buildings for commercial purposes. The former, however, did not sell products in line with the permit while the latter sold items that met requirements under the permit but did not provide parking space as required by law.

Suan Luang 1 market was granted a construction permit but did not obtain a certificate to run a market in line with the Public Health Act. The two other markets have no permit. Vendors at Suan Luang 1, Rungwanit and Rom Lueang markets can trade until next Wednesday to clear their stock. After that, the markets will be closed until they comply with the law.

Ple can sell products, except fresh food, while Yingnara must arrange parking space.

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