Rang Noi Island owners 'to be charged'
PHUKET: The Office of the Natural Resources and Environmental Crime Suppression Division (NREC) plans to charge the owners of the Kan Krao Co today (August 9) with “occupying forest without permission” on Rang Noi Island, after the company failed to produce documents to prove their innocence before the August 8 deadline set by the NREC.
Thursday 9 August 2012, 04:16PM
After receiving a complaint “from an individual”, the NREC made a high-profile inspection of the island on July 31 and then set a seven-day deadline for the owners of the land to prove their ownership of parts of the island.
The NREC found that five years ago the owners had obtained a Chanote title deed covered 15 rai – most, but not all of the island – though the NREC says it has some doubts as to whether the deed was issued legitimately.
A surveyor and related experts went to the island for the site examination. Their report, which was finalised during a meeting of officials in Bangkok yesterday, concluded that about four rai of forest, not included in the Chanote, had been encroached upon, said the Superintendent of NREC region 5, Pol Col Watcharin Pusit.
He added that the NREC would continue investigating the legitimacy of the land deed, as the Forestry Department had confirmed that the entire island had been declared forest under the Forestry Act of 1941.
In addition, the Marine Office reported to the NREC that the floating pier, the only access to the island, had been installed without permission. The owners will be charged over this offence as well.
Currently, officials of OrBorTor Koh Keaw are examining the buildings on the island, which are suspected not to conform with the master plan submitted to the OrBorTor.
The NREC will invite the owners of the company to be questioned.
No mention was made of the complex on the island being designed as a casino, a major part of the excitement over the island on the day of the raid.