Pattaya’s ban on tour bus vendors a failure

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Street peddlers and hawkers are still busy on Pattaya’s beaches.
Street peddlers and hawkers are still busy on Pattaya’s beaches.

Pattaya officials like to claim they have chased street peddlers and hawkers away from tour buses, but it turns out they’re alive, well and busy on Pattaya Beach.

Vendors selling everything from beach toys to soft drinks to clothing swarmed around tour buses dropping off visitors on Beach Road from 8 a.m. to noon Feb. 16.

While many tourists purchased various items, just as many looked annoyed at being pestered.

Vendors interviewed said they’ve not been daunted by city hall’s crackdown on independent sellers that began more than a year ago. There are numerous groups of peddlers and each has marked out its own territory to avoid conflicts, they said, admitting some concessions are run by organized-crime gangs.

In September 2016, Pattaya’s top lawyer, Sretapol Boon­sawat, who made stamping out street vendors his personal mission, tried to put the screws to the hawkers by imploring tourist buses and boats to stop supporting the sellers. Sellers found in violation of selling on public sidewalks face fines of up to 2,000 baht and the confiscation of their property.

The vendors said they know city officials are trying to shut them down, but they simply wait until enforcement officers leave the area and go back to work.