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Hunt for B1bn Phuket national park encroachment fugitive begins

Hunt for B1bn Phuket national park encroachment fugitive begins

PHUKET: The Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP) has won a 16-year court battle to repossess two plots of land covering about 12 rai within Sirinath National Park, valued at about B1 billion.

environmentcrimeconstructioncorruptionmilitary
By Saroj Kueprasertkij

Thursday 10 September 2015, 10:43AM


Sirinart National Park Chief Kittipat Tharaphiban (right) explains to Maj Gen Ronnarong Kotdamrong, deputy director of Isoc’s Operations Coordination Centre 4, details of the park encroachment battle during an inspection earlier this year. Photo: Suthicha Sirirat

Sirinart National Park Chief Kittipat Tharaphiban (right) explains to Maj Gen Ronnarong Kotdamrong, deputy director of Isoc’s Operations Coordination Centre 4, details of the park encroachment battle during an inspection earlier this year. Photo: Suthicha Sirirat

Now the hunt begins for the woman whose name appears on the land documents registered for the two plots, Kittipat Tharaphiban, Chief of Sirinart National Park told The Phuket News.

“Sawanya Siripong’s name and address was registered in Thalang, Phuket, but we have not been able to find her at her registered address,” he said.

“We believe that she might have changed her name and address and fled to somewhere else already. But we have her ID number and we believe that we can find her.”

Mr Kittipat explained that the hunt for Sawanya was to execute legal recourse for the public land she tried to claim.

“We have to find her because we want to sue her. She has to at least be fined for the destruction of the national forest,” he said.

Meanwhile, the DNP’s fight to reclaim park land in Phuket continues.

The DNP has categorized 745 plots of land under investigation, covering about 3,900 rai, into three categories: black, grey and white, DNP Director-General Nipon Chotibal told Thai-language newspaper Thai Rath. (See story here.)

“There are 266 plots covering 1,683 rai that are clearly illegal, making them ‘black properties’. The DNP expects to seize them in the near future, pending rulings from the court,” he said.

“There are also 356 grey plots, comprising 2,081 rai, which are still under investigation and 93 white plots, comprising 136 rai, which are legally owned.”

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Office of National Parks Director Samak Donnapee added that five former Sirinath National Park chiefs are under investigation: Thanapong Apaiso, Somkiet Suntornpitakkul, Sukkee Khamnuansin, Jarouy Inchan and Nonthawit Jutrabandit.

“I will push for officials to revoke the 266 plot land deeds that these five DNP officers were involved in issuing as soon as possible,” he said.

Meanwhile, the DSI is continuing its work on cases against five companies in Phuket, DSI Special Case officer Lt Col Prawut Wongseenil, who begin his investigations into Phuket park encroachment in 2013 (see story here), told Thai Rath.

The five companies are: Three Dolphins Co Ltd (Trisara); Three Dolphins Resort; Fair and Firm Co Ltd (Phuket Arcadia); Phuket Peninsula Co Ltd (Phuket Peninsula); Pinnacle Cape Co Ltd; and The Andaman White Beach Resort.

The DNP in December requested cancellation of papers for 17 land parcels totalling around 100 rai – worth an estimated B5 billion and registered as owned by the five companies (See story here.)

“Also under investigation are individual owners: Chomchanok Suthamma, Surachai Laochuasai and Anupap Vechwanichsanong,” Col Prawut said.

Next Tuesday (Sept 15), DNP officials will begin reclaiming rubber plantations inside the park under a B1.86 million campaign which will continue through October, said DNP Chief Samak.

“The campaign ‘Take back the forest land at Sirinart National Park’ will start on September 15-16, with officers destroying or reclaiming all rubber plantations within the park’s boundaries,” he said.

In June, DNP officers posted eviction notices on rubber plantation trees inside the park to give warning that the reclamation was soon to arrive. (See story here.)

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Asterix | 10 September 2015 - 14:39:05

Department of National Park will have to buy large excavators to pull down illegal buildings and digging holes to plant young trees for reforestation of all national parks and forests.

Andy | 10 September 2015 - 12:23:41

How many years has this investigation been going on?
When will these various departments actually do something?
As an example Trisara is a superb development but if the land was obtained by fraud then it should be repossessed including the buildings and then auctioned to the highest bidder. If the current owners bought the land in good faith from the real culprits then they will have to find the...

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