'The Beach' island wins case for natural restoration

The Supreme Court of Thailand has ordered the government to restore the natural environment of a southern resort island used to shoot the 2000 hit film "The Beach," with Leonardo DiCaprio.

The shooting took place in Maya Bay in the Phi Phi islands. Local authorities filed a lawsuit in 1999 against the government, 20th Century Fox, and a Thai film coordinator. They said the island's nature had been destroyed, imported palm trees had been planted and vegetation had been ripped out.

The studio has said it kept the beach in its original condition, and removed a large amount of garbage.

But the Supreme Court disagreed. In a ruling on Tuesday, it ordered the government to repair the damage that had been done. The studio must also pay 10 million baht, or about 273,000 dollars, in restoration costs.

Tourists flocked to the bay after the movie's release. It was closed in 2018 to restore the environment. The island started accepting a limited number of tourists again this year, and must now balance tourism with preservation.