As promised, the army descended onto Bali Hai Pier Tuesday, ensuring speedboat owners moved their trailered watercraft as ordered and overseeing the start of a massive cleanup and renovation.
Several hundred soldiers blocked off access to the jetty’s large parking area early Nov. 1 as tractors with scraper blades began removing muck, oil and grime that accumulated over the years. Meanwhile, jackhammers pounded away at the boat ramp adjacent to the parking area, which will force speedboat owners looking to put their vessels back in the water to go elsewhere.
It appeared Oct. 31 that the hundreds of boat owners had complied with the military’s order to relocate their parked vessels before the month’s end. Pickup trucks and tractors were seen throughout the day hauling away 100-150 boats to lots on Soi Kophai and in Jomtien Beach.
Apart from the boats, tents that operators had used as their temporary offices to sell tickets also were removed.
The National Council for Peace and Order had threatened owners enjoying free parking and office space with fines of up to 10,000 baht and up to three years in prison if they didn’t stop encroaching on public land.