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Tourism and marine parks threaten Thailand's 'people of the sea'

Tourism and marine parks threaten Thailand's 'people of the sea'

When Sutem Lakkao's grandmother and father died, they were buried much as their ancestors had been: on the beach, close to their beloved boats so they could listen to the waves and watch over the Chao Lay community of fisherfolk in their afterlife.

But when his time comes, Sutem will be laid to rest in a cemetery where all he will hear is the roar of traffic on Phuket, Thailand's largest island and a key tourism destination.

The land in which Sutem's ancestors were buried now heaves with daytrippers taking selfies, while the Urak Lawoi community of the Chao Lay are confined to a small patch of Phuket's Rawai beach that is also claimed by developers and individuals.

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