Navy moves in on Koh Lipe beaches

Navy moves in on Koh Lipe beaches

SATUN — Officers from the 3rd Naval Area Command have given resort operators on Koh Lipe three days to clear away deckchairs, umbrellas and tables as part of a campaign to reorganise the southern island’s beach landscape.

The navy officials led by Lt Cmdr Weerapong Narkprasit, commander of the 491st Air and Coastal Defence Command, and staff from the Tarutao National Park, started their cleanup operation on Sunday at Pattaya beach, also known as Bundhaya beach, the busiest among the island’s three beaches, ASTV Manager Online reported. The area has more than 20 resorts and beach vendors along a stretch of about 1,000 metres.

The team ordered them to move all stalls and structures that encroached on public space on the beach and said they would return to inspect the area again on Wednesday. 

Lt Cmdr Weerapong said authorities had received complaints from both locals and foreign tourists that beaches on Koh Lipe looked untidy as public spaces were occupied by deckchairs and tables. The Koh Sarai Tambon Administration Organisation (TAO) and other government marine agencies had been asked to work together to arrange zoning for swimmers and other water activities for visitor safety.  

Lt Cmdr Weerapong said officials had taken legal action against eight of the 61 resort owners on Koh Lipe for encroaching upon Tarutao National Park. Of the resorts, 60 operators had land rights papers, or Sor Kor 1 and Nor Sor 3, and one had documents to operate on a plot of public land under the Koh Sarai TAO.

An investigation is underway as most of the resort owners were found to have occupied more land than stated in their documentation, with some even obtaining land merely on oral agreements, Lt Cmdr Weerapong added. 

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