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Rally on Phuket to reclaim public beaches from developers

Written by World Events

Hundreds of Phuket residents spontaneously gathered on Yamu Beach today, to demand the reclaiming of the beach as public property.

It follows an incident, a few days ago, when a Swiss tenant of a luxurious villa, located on the beach, was accused of attacking a female Thai doctor for alleged trespass.

The doctor claimed that she and a friend took a rest on the staircase of a villa, believing that it is a public beach. Without warning, she was then allegedly kicked in the back by a Swiss man, who claimed to be the tenant of the villa. He accused her of trespassing on his property. The doctor was also harshly reprimanded by the Swiss man’s Thai wife.

The doctor subsequently filed a complaint with Chalong district police, accusing the man of assaulting her. The accused claimed, however, that he did not kick her, but he had slipped as he walked down the staircase and one of his legs struck the doctor.

The couple later apologised to the doctor and withdrew the trespass charge, but the incident, which went viral on social media, has snowballed into a campaign to deport the Swiss national, identified only as David, and to have provincial authorities examine all the beaches on Phuket to find out whether they are being illegally occupied by real estate developers, depriving the public of access to them.

Many Phuket residents admit that they have never visited Yamu Beach, because they understood that it is private land.

Yamu Beach is in Village 7 in Pa Khlok sub-district of Chalong district. It is a quiet beach where many luxurious villas are located. The Thai doctor’s story and the publicity it has attracted in the media has now put a spotlight on the status of Phuket’s beaches.

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