Mr Traiyarit brought with him an entourage of DSI officials, including Pol Lt Col Piya Raksakul, Director of the DSI’s Banking and Money Laundering Division; DSI Secretary Pol Lt Col Thas Laothawee; Deputy Spokesperson and DSI Director of Public Relations Yaninee Kiatphaiboon; and Supachai Khamkhum, Director of the DSI Special Case Operations Center, Region 8 branch.
Joining Phuket Governor Narong Woonciew at the meeting at Phuket Provincial Hall were Phuket Vice Governor Amnuay Phinsuwan and a host of heads of local government offices, including the Thalang District Chief and officers from the Phuket Provincial Land Office.
Mr Traiyarit explained that he had requested the meeting following his office receiving a request from the Governor of Phuket, following the governor receiving a letter from the Thalang District Chief.
At the meeting it was explained that Phuket Provincial Land Office had set up a special committee “to consider the matter according to the details of the relevant court judgments by providing fairness to all parties including stakeholders such as tenants, people who had taken out mortgages, etc,” said a DSI report of the meeting.
Mr Traiyarit pointed out that the Supreme court had already ruled that the 178 rai, estimated to be worth B50 billion in total, was state land.
“In the judgment it is clearly stated that the land in that area is the public domain of the land,” he said.
However, it was not explained why special consideration was being provided by local land officials or the DSI to people involved in the multi-billion-baht land grab over land that has not once, but twice been ruled by the Supreme Court to be state land.
Of note, the report marked that Mr Traiyarit added, “As for the special case, the lawsuit was brought against the relevant government officials until the court has a final judgment punishing the offender.”
The DSI report of the meeting and the report of the meeting by the Phuket office of the Public Relations Department (PR Phuket) both did not identify which government officials had been found guilty of any criminal activity involving people laying claims to the land.
“As for the same case that is prosecuted by the private sector, it is being investigated by the Department of Special Investigation [and] will expedite the procedure and order the case as soon as possible,” Mr Traiyarit said, according to the reports.
Mr Traiyarit was in Phuket in late April to personally inspect the land in question, which he said was valued at about B300 million a rai, and to be updated on the DSI’s investigation into the land claims.
At a meeting with Manoch Punchalad, the newly elected Chief of Cherng Talay Tambon Administration Organisation (OrBorTor), Mr Manoch explained that the government had been fending off claims to the land for 30 years.
“It has been a struggle,” he said.