Eateries get five days to fix eyesore
12 outlets face police action over terrace
Nakhon Si Thammarat: About a dozen restaurants began demolishing a cement terrace encroaching on the famed Klong Tha Dee waterway in Lan Saka district yesterday after local authorities sought police action against them.
The waterway runs through Khiriwong village, hailed as one of the country's most pristine eco-tourism destinations.
A video clip of the ugly concrete construction, posted by a webpage called Chom Rom Strong-Jit Porpiang Tan Thudjarit (Strong Association-Sufficiency Mind against Corruption), prompted investigations into who encroached at the spot.
In response, restaurant operators began demolishing the construction yesterday morning. On hand at the site were Lan Saka district chief Samkhan Orathai and Santhana Chanthara, head of the provincial marine office, who told the operators they are legally required to remove the terrace within five days.
Mr Santhana said provincial governor Siriphat Phatthanakun had instructed local authorities to take action to force the business operators to clear away the eyesore by deadline. Acting on the governor's directive, Mr Santhana yesterday filed a complaint with Lan Saka police against the alleged encroachers, who face up to five years in prison and a maximum fine of 20,000 baht each if found guilty.
Somphon Anuto, owner of the Phian Chom restaurant shown to be serving tourists on the concrete terrace in the video clip, complained he had poured the cement only a few days before the district chief ordered it to be removed.
He said he had wanted to provide convenience for his customers, who like to sit close to nature while keeping an eye on their children playing in the waterway. Several other restaurants upstream had built cement terraces years ago but never faced complaints, he said, adding he expected a sharp drop in the number of customers after he removes the construction.
Suphap Phrommatra, a tourist from the neighbouring province of Surat Thani who arrived in Khiriwong village yesterday, said he visits the tourist attraction every year and has witnessed concrete structures springing up recently. About 2km of the waterway have been encroached upon.