BANGKOK, Thailand (eTN) – Something is definitely changing in Thailand where authorities are now cracking down on illegal practices in the tourism industry. The latest case is the potential demolition of the Aetas Hotel, a deluxe property opened five years ago in a narrow alley, without taking into consideration construction rules.
The hotel is due to be demolished as it did not respect construction and urban planning rules. Earlier this month, the Supreme Administrative Court issued a warrant to the owners of the four-star, 24-story Aetas hotel, located in the vicinity of Ploenchit on Sukhumvit, to demolish the property within 60 days following the court ruling, as the building does not comply with construction rules. The hotel offers over 210 rooms.
The dispute occurred following a complaint from residents in the Soi Ruamrudee who declared that the hotel was far too large for the road where it is located. The dispute between residents and the hotel lasted for six years.
In fact, real estate developers are not allowed to build construction higher than eight floors in alleys which are less than 10 meters wide, such as soi Ruamrudee. However, Bangkok local administration and the district office chief issued a certificate where the road width had been exaggerated. Residents complained about jams around the hotel and also about the fact that safety is now jeopardized due to the difficulty to evacuate the street in case of fire.
According to the Supreme Administrative Court decision, owners must now demolish at least the 16 illegal floors. However, the hotel can still go on appeal and lodge a suit against the city administration which allowed the construction. Whatever the future decision over the demolition, it is likely to be delayed again, as the Supreme Administrative Court ruling creates a precedent and could be followed by other cases where owners could be forced to demolish illegal structures at their own cost.
The judgment has another consequence. For the first time, it points out publicly bad administration practices at Bangkok City Hall, underlying the need to overhaul administrative structures in the Thai capital.