Pattaya’s top lawyer defended his controversial crackdown on street vendors, claiming they contribute to both traffic and tourist complaints.
Legal Department chief Sretapol Boonsawat said the number of hawkers, both on foot and using carts, has grown dramatically in recent years and they now swarm around tour buses and set up shop on public sidewalks.
The result has been litter and traffic congestion, along with complaints from tourists hassled to buy all range of food and products, he said.
Starting with a ban on selling in front of shopping centers, Sretapol extended the clampdown to all public sidewalks and, most recently, he began encouraging tour bus operators to not patronize the small businesses that survive based on the tourist trade.
Those found in violation of selling on public sidewalks face fines of up to 2,000 baht and the confiscation of their property.
The outcry from the independent sellers has been loud and fervent, but Sretapol – put into office by the military-appointed acting mayor – has had carte blanche to carry out his plan.
Sretapol said the crackdown will continue and even expand to areas including Soi 4, the Twin Palms Hotel area, the Hard Rock Hotel area and Bali Hai Pier.