The team of Royal Forest Department (RFD) officials together with Tourist Police of Phang Nga, local government officials and soldiers from the Royal Thai Army inspected four piers in Lam Kaen, Thai Muang district, after receiving a tip-off that there were illegal piers in the Khlong Thung Maprao national forest reserve.
Cheewapap Cheewatham, a former Chief of Sirinath National Park who now serves as the Director of the Strategic and Forest Protection Division of the RFD passed the news to The Phuket News today (Mar 3) while the inspection took place yesterday (Mar 2).
The operators were serving mainly Chinese and Russian tourists, taking them on tours in Phang Nga Bay to view attractions in the nearby islands, he said.
‘Blue Da Marine’ and ‘Han Sea Port’ were serving tourists from China, while ‘Russian Port’ and an unnamed port adjacent to ‘Russian Port’ were serving Russian tourists.
The inspection revealed that the piers were big enough to accommodate dozens of large speedboats, while the adjacent area on shore was converted into a parking space for over ten large vans and buses. Officials estimate that no less than one thousand tourists came to each pier every day, confirmed Mr Cheewapap.
“We inspected the area and found a dining room and a large office building as well,” he said.
According to Mr Cheewapap, the investigation confirmed that nobody had ever applied for permission to develop this area. The piers were constructed in breach of several relevant laws, including Forest Act 1941, National Reserved Forests Act 1964, Building Control Act 1979, Marine Act in Thai Waters, 1960.
The team will survey the area thoroughly before filing a complaint against the pier operators with Phang Nga Provincial Police, Mr Cheewapap confirmed.