City officials issue more ultimatums to rules-flouting beach vendors

Friday, 20 May 2011 From Issue Vol. XIX No. 20 By  Phasakorn Channgam

Fed up with vendors who continue to flout nearly every regulation laid down to control the area’s beaches, Pattaya officials again threatened more than 100 merchants with fines, suspensions and license revocations unless they stop usurping public land, littering, and facilitating prostitutes.

Deputy Mayor Ronakit Ekasingh and Pattaya City Council President Sanit Boonmachai made their latest ultimatum to Pattaya and Jomtien Beach chair and food vendors May 11. They said city regulatory enforcement officers will be stepping up patrols and will fine violators 500 baht or suspend their operations for a week for serious violations. Repeat offenders risk having their license revoked.

“Pattaya Beach, a famous destination for tourists in Pattaya, is now being criticized for its lack of order and cleanliness,” Ronakit said.

Problems - none of them new - include beach chair operators using more than their assigned 49 sq. meters of sand, motorbikes running on the sidewalks, sloppy food vendors, trash, rats, view-obstructing stacks of beach chairs and, most recently, vendors who rent private “rooms” made of beach chair stacks for women and transvestites to service customers on the beach.

Ronakit blamed beach vendors for the motorbike problems, claiming they drive on the sidewalk while delivering food and other items. Accidents and complaints have resulted. However, Ronakit claimed the problem has now been solved due to stepped-up beach patrols.

The deputy mayor also took food merchants to task for unsanitary conditions and the rat population explosion on the beach. He said people are not disposing of their trash and leaving food around. Rats are now common up and down the beachfront.

As for the decades-long problem of beach chair vendors exceeding their rented space, Sanit complained that vendors continue to ignore province-wide and city regulations limiting their operations to 65 percent of the beachfront. Tourists continue to complain the vendors are leaving little of the beach’s dwindling amount of sand for them to use without paying.

He added the vendors don’t have rights to the entire beach. There are 35 7-by-7-meter sections and some parts of the beach are left without chairs for a reason. However, some vendors continue to spread out.

The city, he said, is now installing posts to mark the corners of each plot and will be able to easily see if a vendor has exceeded his allocation (provided the vendors don’t move the posts).

He also urged the beach chair agents to not block view of the beach with huge stacks of unused beds and umbrellas. And he lashed out at vendors who pile their chairs in such a way as to create secluded alcoves they then rent out to ladyboys and female prostitutes.

He said that type of behavior should not be encouraged on the beach and called on more upstanding merchants to report competitors offering such services.

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