The Beach Vendor Video

September 8, 2014
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The latest video to go viral on the Internet in Thailand also did a lot of damage to the tourism industry in the kingdom. It showed a beach vendor on Koh Larn, off the coast of Pattaya, arguing with a Russian tourist.  The man was angry as the tourist was lying on the beach on a towel for free instead of paying him money to sit on one of his sunloungers. In the video you can clearly see him kicking sand on the towel of the tourist trying to get her to move.

In a surprise development, the beach vendor was quickly arrested by Pattaya police. According to a report in Thai Rath, threatening someone with violence and extortion of money could lead to at least three years in jail. But, as it turned out, he will probably walk free. This is because the video clip was shot in October 2013, nearly one year ago, and was only uploaded to YouTube last Friday when it went viral. According to Thai Rath, police then turned their attention to the person who shot the video. Believe it or not, they actually considered bringing charges against that person for “tarnishing the image of the country”. Talk about shooting the messenger.

beachclip_3

These pictures show the beach vendor, who turned out to be Cambodian, being taken back to the beach for a re-enactment. It is not known yet, but he is expected only to get a small fine before he walks free. Though, as he entered the country illegally and doesn’t have a work permit, he will probably be deported. Police are also now saying that they don’t have a plan to prosecute the person who shot the video and uploaded it to YouTube.

But, at least some good may come out of this. The attitude of the beach vendor highlights complaints made by other tourists that they act like they own the beach. Though, I guess as they paid over one million Baht for the rights to a small stretch of sand, they probably do feel they own it. Which also explains why they want people sitting on the seats for 100 Baht (50 Baht for Thais) instead of for free on the sand.

What do you say? Should all of these beach vendors be cleared from the seafront? Personally I think there should be zones for sunloungers and umbrellas. But, it shouldn’t be controlled by the mafia type figures.

6 Responses to The Beach Vendor Video

  1. Khun Don
    September 8, 2014 at 5:42 pm

    I am with you on zoning the beaches-clearing them totally of sun loungers etc is going to lead to some tourists going elsewhere, but such beach commerce must be subject to proper supervision and licensing by the authorities-any bullying etc of customers leading to immediate loss of licence and eviction from the beach.
    All very well in principle, but have a feeling once the military step down it will all quickly drift back to “business as usual” -mafia control ignored by Town Hall and Police.

    • Baht
      September 8, 2014 at 6:48 pm

      What do you mean: “it will all quickly drift back to ‘business as usual’-mafia control ignored by Town Hall and Police.” ?

      Instead of “ignored”, your sentence would be more accurate if you had written “run”.

    • Richard Barrow
      September 8, 2014 at 7:43 pm

      It is already licensed by city hall – fee is 500 Baht per year which they duly pay. The problem is the mafia type people are more powerful than city hall.

  2. ken crossley
    September 8, 2014 at 8:55 pm

    how can someone from city hall charge for “free land” they have no right, this land belongs to the people not city hall, so they are the “mafia”

    • Richard Barrow
      September 8, 2014 at 9:07 pm

      How do city hall in Bangkok charge people of selling on the sidewalk? same.

  3. David Langdown
    September 10, 2014 at 6:48 pm

    Ban the bloody lot, that will settle all arguments, otherwise it will be very difficult deciding just who gets the beach licence. If anyone has to supply beach seats let it be the council itself. This is how it is done in the UK.

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