The landslide stopped short of directly damaging the monk’s accommodation, called the “Bang Thong Monastery” in Thai, but left the road right in front of the buildings covered in mud and debris. Large trees were among the debris that stopped short on the steep slope just tens of metres from the dwellings.
Phuket Vice Governor Amnuay Pinsuwan and Kathu Mayor Chai-anan Suthikul inspected the site last Wednesday. The runoff from the excavated land caused the small creek at the base of the steep slope to rise to dangerous levels with very fast-flowing water. A layer of mud still covers the car park area at the monastery. (Located here.)
The investigation into the excavated land now launched involves a slew of government offices and agencies, noted an official report yesterday (Oct 23).
Officals returned to the site yesterday (Oct 23) to continue their investigation, said the report.
Officers from the Phuket Provincial Office, the Phuket Provincial Land Office, the Phuket Provincial office of the Office of Natural Resources and Environment, the Kathu District Office, Kathu Municipality, the Royal Forestry Department and even the Phuket branch of the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) have joined the investigation, the report noted.
Phuket Provincial Chief Administrative Officer (Palad) Sompratch Prabsongkram had informed Phuket Governor Narong Woonciew of the investigation, the report added.
According to the report, the investigation follows “people” complaining that the excavation of the land had caused the landslide and runoff.
“If anything is found illegal with the site, officials will take serious action,” said the report.
Mr Sompratch said that from the initial investigation, it was found that no permission had been granted for land to be excavated at the site.
“So Kathu Municipality was assigned to investigate the complaint,” he said.
The Phuket Land Office is to investigate whether the land ownership document presented by people on behalf of the person claiming to own the land was also to be investigated to determine whether it is genuine.
Forestry Department officials are to check whether or not the land claimed is within any protected forest area, he added.
Mr Sompratch said that flooding and landslides had occurred in many areas across Phuket following the heavy rains last week.
Governor Narong has ordered officials to investigate the sites and take “strict legal action” where any offences had been committed, he said.
“If officials have been neglectful, there will be measures to punish them as well,” he said.