Hua Hin Beach in Prachuap Khiri Khan is soon to be re-organized as part of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO)’s mission to return commercial beach side areas in coastal provinces to nature.
The move also came after complaints about exorbitant restaurant bills in Hua Hin have surfaced in the online community. Facebook users have shared photos online pointing to a group of customers who were forced to pay up to 3,820 baht for ordering only nine menu items from a beach restaurant in Hua-Hin.
Investigations reveal that there have been 22 restaurants in the Hua-Hin beach area that were allegedly guilty of charging exorbitant prices from their customers. However, the names of those restaurants have not been disclosed to the public.
The Commerce Ministry’s officials in the province are now inspecting food bills at tourist and beach areas. Food traders found selling goods or services at prices higher than the reference prices will be subjected to seven years’ imprisonment or a fine of up to 140,000 baht, or both.
The NCPO has already cleared out businesses from Phuket’s well-known beaches in a bid to eliminate unfair use of public spaces. Hua Hin’s beach has long been encroached on by a number of vendors and resort owners who have illegally built their own facilities on the beach. The plan is to move vendors to special areas near the beach so that the beach can be cleaned up.
Hua Hin municipal authorities expressed support for the drive, saying that the clean-up of the Beach would help to improve the province’s image and provide the fullest benefit to the public. The Prachuap Khiri Khan provincial body has recently designated August 13 as the D-Day for cleaning the beaches.The D-Day is aimed at returning order and cleanliness to the popular beach, as well as revamp the standard of service and food prices on the beach.
A number of Hua Hin vendors have traveled to Bangkok to file a complaint to the NCPO, asking the council to reconsider the cleaning up of the beach. Local authorities have so far responded by stating that violation of the regulations would not be tolerated, and that all apprehended suspects would face legal action.
While land encroachment in Phuket accounts for 30 percent of the total in Thailand, Hua Hin’s figure is not far behind. Beach encroachment along Hua Hin’s coastline has been an ongoing problem for many years, with local fishermen the original offenders. After heavy tourism development in the area and the decline of the family fishing industry, a number of fishermen sold plots of land on the beach to shop owners and other tourist businesses, although they had no legal entitlement to the land.