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Four sentenced to jail for B15bn ‘theft’ of Phuket park land

PHUKET: The Phuket Provincial Court has sentenced four Thai nationals to eight to 14 years in jail for their part in obtaining illegal titles to possess protected state land in Phuket with an estimated value of B15 billion, leading officials announced today (June 1).

landpropertycrimeenvironmentnatural-resourcespolicetourism
By Suthicha Sirirat

Wednesday 1 June 2016, 09:45PM


Each of the four handed down jail terms have also been fined B9 million, while the Department of Special Investigations (DSI) pursues 10 more cases, members of the Phuket press were told this morning.

Presiding over the press conference, held at Sirinath National Park on Phuket’s northwest coast, was National Parks Wildlife and Plant Conservation Director Thanya Netithamkul.

Joining him were DSI Deputy Director-General Pol Lt Col Pong-In Intarakhao, DSI Bureau of Consumer Protection and Environment Crime Director Pol Lt Col Prawut Wongseenin and Sirinath National Park Park Chief Kitiphat Taraphiban.

Together the panel of high-powered officials announced recent courts verdict for five encroachment cases covering prime beachfront land in Sirinath National Park and national forest of Khao Ruak Khao Muang Park.

The land in question spans parts of Moo 2 and Moo 3 in Thalang’s Sakoo subdistrict, south of Phuket International Airport.

Mr Thanya announced, “The NCPO has ordered officials to tackle all encroachment including deforestation in national forest and it is the government’s policy to reclaim state land.

“Previously, officials investigated land developers who claimed national park land in the Sakoo area. During their investigation, they found four plots that had been issued Chanote land titles and requests had been filed to upgrade five plots to Chanote status.

“The DSI investigated further into the four plots already issued Chanote titles and so far have filed charges in one case covering two plots. As for the other two plots, officers are still gathering information for the investigation.

QSI International School Phuket

“As for the claimants who requested the Thalang Land Office to upgrade five plots to Chanote titles, the land office officials confirmed that ‘Flying SorKor 1’ land documents (for other plots elsewhere) were used in an attempt to have the Chanote titles issued, so they rejected the requests.”

He continued, “The DSI then took seven SorKor 1 documents to the Central Institute of Forensic Science Thailand (under the Justice Ministry) for further examination and it turned out that all were [deemed] forged documents.

“The chief of Sirinath Park was notified of the findings so he could file charges against these four individuals.”

Mr Thanya credited the verdict to critical testimony from the DSI, the Land Department’s Thalang office and the Central Institute of Forensic Science, as well as other unnamed officials.

The four found guilty by the court, and their respective sentences, were listed as:

  • Ms Anoma Phangsen – sentenced to 14 years in jail on May 3 (for SorKor 1 no 23)
  • Mr Prapas Sae-ong – sentenced to 12 years in jail on May 3 (for SorKor 1 no 44)
  • Mr Prapas Sae-ong – sentenced to 12 years in jail on May 24 (for SorKor 1 no 45)
  • Mr Nakorn Wongsrithong – sentenced to 13 years in jail on May 31 (for SorKor 1 no 32)
  • Mr Chan Pongpha – sentenced to eight years and eight months in jail on May 31 (for SorKor 1 no 110)

Mr Thanya added, “We believe these people are only representatives of bigger businessmen or influential people, which the DSI are investigating and gathering more information to bring them in.”

“The [encroached] beachfront property today is valued as much as B15 billion, or B30m per rai, and with these verdicts, Sirinath has regained 429 rai.”

 

 

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Walter | 02 June 2016 - 09:24:32

Unbelievable! I start to like Thai authorities. I never thought something like that will happen here in Thailand.

Christy Sweet | 02 June 2016 - 07:21:46

I do not see developments on the map pinpoint. Is the location correct or did they just arrest four rubber tree farmers?

Sam hayman | 02 June 2016 - 01:18:05

Why can't you name these "bigger businessmen or influential people" as suspects who are alleged to be involved:

“We believe these people are only representatives of bigger businessmen or influential people"

If you name them, you might get more evidence or other valuable information against them.

Andy | 01 June 2016 - 23:00:19

Excellent. I thought I would never see this.
But are they actually in jail? Hopefully the answer is yes and they will be offered a deal to testify against the "bigger businessmen or influential people".

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