Koh Larn residents march to Pattaya City Hall to protest what they are
saying is illegal development on their island.
Koh Larn residents blocked roads and successfully demanded the
ouster of the island’s top administrator in protest over developers who
are razing forest land to build new resorts.
About 660 protestors blocked roads around Pattaya City Hall Oct. 5,
barring cars from entering or leaving Pattaya as they waved signs and
posters demanding that Sutham Phetket be terminated as deputy permanent
secretary of Pattaya. They claimed he is responsible for letting
commercial developers flatten hills and deforest the island without
In a hastily called meeting with protestors, Deputy Mayor Ronakit
Ekasingh and two members of the Pattaya City Council announced that city
hall had fired Sutham.
Koh Larn village chief Booncherd Boonying said protestors rallied after
more than 320 rai (126.52 acres) were razed to make way for new hotels
and private enterprises.
“We residents are saddened by the acts of investors and have never
thought that Pattaya City would allow investors to execute such
operations when the city has been promoting a permanent reforestation
project to honor Their Majesties,” he said. “It is unbelievable that
such a steep hill can be built upon, even residents building their
houses is such an issue but the ability of the investors being able to
built according to their wishes is a clear double standard.”
In addition to demanding Sutham’s removal, residents also asked city
officials to terminate land concessions. He said residents also are
demanding more input on island affairs and the replanting of trees
developers have chopped down.
Ronakit said the contracts would be reviewed, but no decision could be
made on the spot.
For the protestors, who packed up their tents and went home after the
meeting with officials, grievances with Sutham had been building for
They accused him of taking 100 million baht from the city treasury to
fix drainage canals but doing nothing as well as allowing resorts and
restaurants to be built on Samae Beach without resident approval.