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'Demolisher' orders probes into 10 sites

PHUKET: Damrong ‘the Demolisher’ Pidech, the Director of the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation has ordered nine separate committees to investigate the legality of nine land plots on the north west coast of Thalang District, where a number of five-star hotels, resorts and villas are currently under construction.

By Paritta Wangkiat

Friday 13 July 2012, 09:02AM

Speaking at another site already under inspection – a 38-rai plot of land north of Nai Thon Beach where the construction site of the Phuket Arcadia Naithon Beach Resort is located – Mr Damrong said, “The Arcadia will be our pilot land investigation. The other nine projects will be investigated afterwards. It will take around a month to compile the results.”

The investigation into the Arcadia land had yet to be completed when Mr Damrong was speaking (July 11), with further investigation into the origin of the title deeds of the land, and questioning of related officials still to be performed.

However, a representative of the Arcadia, Weeranan Pithupakorn, insisted that the deeds were obtained legally.

The ‘owners’ of all 10 plots of land must be able to prove that ownership papers existed before the national park was established in 1981.

In addition, they must prove that the original SorKor 1 papers were issued before 1964, the year when the authorities announced that SorKor 1 papers could no longer be upgraded to title deeds in what was then a protected area and is now the Sirinart Marine National Park.

Mr Damrong initially set up a committee to investigate Sirinart Park encroachment in 2006, but he ordered this particular investigation into the 10 plots after visiting Phuket on May 29 this year and learning that a rai of land could be worth between B30 million and B50 million.

“We will continue our investigation. If the land is found to have been obtained illegally, demolition will be a result,” said Mr Damrong.

He said he was optimistic he would receive initial findings of the investigations within a month, and he hoped the entire investigation would be completed before he retires this October.



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