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Krabi ex-mayor loses legal fight in claim for tourist hotspot island

Krabi ex-mayor loses legal fight in claim for tourist hotspot island

BANGKOK: The Supreme Court yesterday (Sept 10) handed down a suspended three-and-a-half-year prison sentence to former Krabi Town Mayor Chuan Pukaoluan for encroaching on national park land, ending his 33-year legal battle with the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation.

Wednesday 11 September 2019, 09:29AM


The romantic ambience of Ko Poda, a tiny island a few kilometres south of Ao Nang Beach (20 minutes by boat), makes it the perfect destination for honeymooners. Photo: Yvonne Bohwongprasert via Bangkok Post

The romantic ambience of Ko Poda, a tiny island a few kilometres south of Ao Nang Beach (20 minutes by boat), makes it the perfect destination for honeymooners. Photo: Yvonne Bohwongprasert via Bangkok Post

The judges upheld an Appeal Court ruling after finding him guilty of illegally occupying 22 rai of protected land and building an octagonal pavilion on the scenic Koh Poda off the Krabi coast.

Although the island is in Phang Nga Bay and officially in Krabi waters, it is a major tourist attraction for tourists on island-hopping day tours from Phuket.

The disputed areas are under the jurisdiction of Hat Noppharat Thara Marine National Park-Phi Phi Archipelago authorities.

Chuan’s claim that he had made use of the land before the department announced it as part of the national park earlier convinced the Court of the First Instance, which ruled in his favour in February last year.

National park officials appealed against the ruling, backing their argument with a 1967 aerial photo of the Koh Poda islet.

Examining the evidence, the Court of Appeal found no trace of land development as testified by Chuan.

It sentenced Chuan to three and a half years in prison for violating the Forest Act and National Parks Act.

The Supreme Court judges suspended the punishment for two years but imposed a fine of B80,000 on him.

SKYPARK

The judges also ordered him to carry out community service for 30 hours.

Chuan, 83, yesterday told reporters before the verdict was read that he was ready to “accept the ruling no matter what”.

The mayor-turned-hotelier who acquired land on Koh Poda has been locked in a legal battle with national park officials since 1985 after they found that Chuan’s NorSor 3 Kor land documents, granted to certify land use, were issued illegally.

The NorSor 3 Kor dispute over a 51-rai plot saw the Supreme Court rule in favour of national park officials. The judges also revoked the documents and ordered Chuan to vacate the area.

The ruling yesterday involves his encroachment on 22 rai of land under the SorKor 1 land occupancy documents.

 

Read original story here.

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Kurt | 11 September 2019 - 11:36:13

A 33 years legal battle! Wow, one can't make it up. Is it not time Thailand modernise all these disputable loopholes land ownership documents? Make just 1 land owner document, and have written on it what the land can be use for and not used for.
The Kata Noi story shows too that it is time for a solid land document change.

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