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Thai court orders rehab work on ‘The Beach’ 22 years after filming

BANGKOK (AFP) – More than two decades after Hollywood film The Beach was shot at Thailand’s glittering Maya Bay, the kingdom’s Supreme Court yesterday ordered officials to press ahead with environmental rehabilitation work.

The 2000 drama, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, drew criticism for the impact of the shoot on the pristine sands of the bay, located on the island of Ko Phi Phi Ley in southern Thailand.

Filmmakers planted dozens of coconut trees to give a more “tropical” feel to the glimmering Maya Bay and were also accused of ripping up vegetation growing on sand dunes.

However, United States (US) production studio 20th Century Fox insisted it left the beach exactly how it had found it and had removed tonnes of rubbish.

Local authorities filed a civil lawsuit in late 1999 against Thai government agencies, 20th Century Fox and a Thai film coordinator, seeking THB100 million in compensation for environmental damage.

Yesterday, the Supreme Court in Bangkok upheld a previous ruling by a Civil Court that the Royal Forest Department was liable for rehabilitating Maya Bay.

In a final ruling, the Supreme Court ordered the department to set up a committee to formulate a rehabilitation plan within 30 days.