Mr Traiyarit, joined by a team of investigators, said the purpose of his visit was to learn more about the case in order to inform prosecutors on how to proceed.
Considering the complicated history of the claims to the land, which involves some three kilometres of pristine beachfront, the DSI had taken up an investigation of the claims to the land as a special case, said Mr Traiyarit.
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.
In total nine claimants have refused to recognise their claims to the land dismissed by the Lands Department in 1984, Mr Manoch said.
In dismissing the claims the Lands Department “revoked” illegally issued land title papers the claimants had presented as evidence of the claims, he explained.
Six of the nine filed official objections to the decision, three did not contest losing their claims.
“In handing down its decision against claims by two parties, the Supreme Court ruled first in 2015 and again 2017 that all 178 rai of land is state land. In its determination, the Supreme Court estimated the land to be worth B50 billion,” Mr Manoch said.
Mr Traiyarit said that his officers were investigating whether rights to the land by any of the claimants could be verified, even though some of plots claimed are now within the boundaries of Sirinath National Park.
Also further complicating the issue, claims to the land have not been filed just by individuals, but also now by companies, he added.
The aim of the government is to leave the area in its undisturbed natural state for the public to use as a recreational area, Mr Traiyarit said
He noted the land in question was valued at about B300 million per rai.
Mr Traiyarit warned that any persons found still trespassing on government land would face prosecution.
“There are many [land] cases in Phuket, but we are paying a lot of attention to this case because other cases are now moving forward. Many cases are in the process of prosecution,” he said.
Already 10 cases of land claims in Phuket have been forwarded to the National Counter Corruption Commission (NACC), Mr Traiyarit said.
“There’s probably a lot more to try and keep an eye on,” he added.
Phuket has gained a notorious reputation for land title documents being illegally issued by officials, much of which has been blamed on Tawatchai Anukul, who was the Phuket Land Office Chief in 2003.
After 13 years on the run, Tawatchai was finally arrested in 2016.
However, within hours of his arrest he was found hanged in his cell at the DSI headquarters in Bangkok.