Land Department Director-General Apinan Suethanuwong on July 14 gave the order to revoke a NorSor 3 Kor land occupancy document that was presented by Phukhaohokluk (Six Mountains) Co Ltd to claim 24 rai on Koh Naka Noi, off Phuket’s east coast.
“The Director-General agreed that the NorSor 3 must be annulled after an investigation revealed that a ‘flying SorKor 1’ was used to upgrade the land title,” Phuket Land Office Chief Watcharin Jetanawanich told The Phuket News today (July 21).
A “flying SorKor 1” is a common method of using a SorKor 1 land document to claim an entirely different plot of land elsewhere.
Investigating complaints filed by famous Thai actor Puri Hiranprueck, who owns land next to the plot now deemed illegal, Pol Lt Col Prawut Wongsinil, chief of the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) Consumer and Environment Protection Division, in December 2014 said he believed that a SorKor 1 for land on nearby Naka Yai Island was used to upgrade the land on Naka Noi Island claimed by Six Mountains Co Ltd. (See story here.)
A special investigation by the Land Department has now concurred.
However, Six Mountains Co Ltd has until July 29 to appeal that order, Mr Watcharin confirmed today. “If that appeal fails, they can then file an appeal with the Administration Court,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Phuket land official who approved the now-illegal NorSor 3 Kor remains unnamed by officials.
“The person involved in the upgrade of the land document at Naka Noi was investigated and questioned by the committee set up by the Land Department,” Mr Watcharin said today.
However, he added, “I do not have details of the committee’s investigation. The process and all details, including the information of the person under investigation, is confidential.”
Mr Watcharin said he was unable to give any further information or identify how to contact the committee tasked with carrying out the investigation.
In defence of his claim, Charnwit Kitlerdsiriwattana, Managing Director of Phukhaohokluk Co Ltd, in May last year told The Phuket News that he bought the land from the Thawthip family in 2014 and had the land surveyed and obtained legal documents from government officials.
“Government officials checked all the paperwork related to the land that was sold to me,” he said. (See story here.)
Only last month Mr Charnwit publicly reasserted that the Six Mountains Co Ltd claim to the land was genuine.
“The [SorKor 1] was not a flying title deed as reported, and be assured it’s not in the boundaries of any national forest. Taxes have been paid on the land for 20-30 years,” he insisted.
“I’ve submitted the evidence to the director-general of the Land Department, and have appealed for fairness from the Fourth Army Region, who are presiding over land reforms in 14 Southern Thai provinces.
“We have not been treated fairly by the Phuket Land Office, nor the DSI in their investigation,” he said. (See story here.)
Today, Mr Watcharin in response said, “The land issue is very delicate with a lot of details and it is taking a long time to process and investigate. Officials are also investigating the title deed of Mr Puri (for his land on Naka Noi).”