Pattaya brought in bulldozers to demolish a building at Sukhawadee House after the tourist attraction spent more than a year thumbing its nose at the city for encroaching on public land.
Deputy City Manager Sutham Petchket oversaw the task force of soldiers, police, Banglamung and Pattaya officials that arrived at the ostentatious Sukhumvit Road mansion to enforce the long-standing demolition order.
“Building B”, a one-story, 1,400-sq.-meter reinforced-concrete building encroaching on public land was the first target of the heavy machinery and demolition crews. They then moved on to “Building C”, a 75-sq.-meter concrete shed and other fixtures around both structures.
Sukhawadee House will be billed for the expense of the demolition.
Sutham said the city demolition became necessary after Ban Sukhawadee’s owners refused to comply with a string of citations about buildings, walkways and parking lots built on public waterfront and roads. Management dragged its heels since 2018 when the city first said more than 13 percent of the tourist attraction was built on public land.
After initially promising full cooperation, the attraction’s owner, Saha Farms Co. founder Panya Chotitawan engaged in an asserted campaign of ignoring and appealing orders while simultaneously continuing to build on land Pattaya asserts is public, not private, property.
In December, Pattaya cited two five-story concrete buildings being constructed that lie on waterfront land that city officials say Panya doesn’t own.
He added that Mayor Sonthaya Kunplome has made prosecuting Panya, a billionaire poultry baron, a priority, arguing that the law must be applied both rich and poor, regardless of social class.
Neighbors have hailed the crackdown as they have battled against the rich and powerful Saha Farms owner for years. In 2016, the complex was found to be flushing untreated sewage across neighboring Kratinglai Park and into the ocean.
A nearby community leader said he had been among those that accused the city of giving Panya a free pass, but he and other neighbors have been pleased to see the concerted campaign against Sukhawadee House in recent years.