Beach trial will resume

2002-03-15 15:55
Bangkok - A Thai court will reopen a trial of a case brought against 20th Century Fox over accusations that it damaged the ecosystem of a tropical island while shooting the movie The Beach, a plaintiff lawyer said on Friday.

Warin Thiemcharas said the Appeals Court on Thursday reversed an acquittal of the defendants by the Civil Court, and ordered it to resume the trial on May 10.

The Beach, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, was shot at Maya Beach on Phi Phi Lek island - part of Phi Phi Marine National Park in Thailand's southern Krabi province - in early 1999. Its producer, 20th Century Fox, created an idyllic tropical setting by planting dozens of coconut trees with the approval of the Royal Forestry Department.

In 1999, the Krabi Provincial Administration Organisation along with 17 residents filed a suit in the Civil Court, saying the alteration to the landscape violated a law on national parks. Among their four demands were that the filming be stopped or the defendants return the ecosystem to its original condition.

The Civil Court threw out the case in 2000, reasoning that the filming was over and the plaintiffs' demand redundant.

But the Appeals Court ruled the plaintiffs' demand to have the ecosystem restored is still valid.

Representatives of the Hollywood studio were not immediately available for comment.

"Maya Beach is in need of restoration. Its beach has been destroyed by monsoon rains since vegetation that had covered the beach was totally destroyed," Warin said.

He said the plaintiffs are demanding 100 million baht ($2.27 million) for a restoration fund under the control of local administrators.

"Actually, 100 million baht is not enough considering the damage they have done to the environment, the scenic beach and the life of villagers," he said. - Sapa/AP

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