The Supreme Court last held a hearing on the appeals late last month, but has yet to rule on any of the appeals, he said.
“Gates have been installed and locked to prevent public access to several properties along the beachfront. The gates remain there because there is nothing I can do while the appeals are being heard in court,” Mr MaAnn told The Phuket News.
“If I do anything to them, I might be sued later for destruction of private property,” he added.
Mr MaAnn warned that people who cross land that is now gated may be sued for trespass.
“Some of the plots have businesses on them and allow people onto the land, but others do not.
“If the owner (sic) allows people and even vehicles onto the land, you will be fine, but if they do not, it would be better to simply avoid crossing that piece of land,” he said.
“There are many other ways to get to the beach. It would be best to use them,” he added.
However, without direct access from the road the only access is by walking along the beach either from Sirinath National Park at the north, or hiking 1.5 kilometres along the sand from the south.
Mr MaAnn told The Phuket News that he was unable to identify exactly which of the 16 plots along the Layan-Leypang beachfront were being claimed by appeal, or the people who were claiming to own the land, or even how much of the land was being claimed.
“I can’t remember,” he said.
The 16 plots, claimed and occupied by mostly tourism-businesses such as beachfront restaurants, were all declared state land by the Supreme Court as far back as Nov 1, 2017.
Within two weeks, Department of Special Investigation (DSI) Chief Pol Col Paisit Wongmuang and DSI Deputy Chief Lt Col Prawut Wongsrinil made the trip to Phuket in person to oversee the posting of public notices physically on the plots to inform the public that the Supreme Court had ruled that the plots were government land and that any persons found encroaching on it would face criminal legal action.
The land, covering some 178 rai, occupies three kilometres of the most unspoilt beachfront land in Phuket and was estimated by the DSI to be worth more than B10 billion.
However, none of the operators of the businesses along the Layan-Leypang beachfront complied with the Supreme Court order, despite the DSI’s threat of legal action.
By February last year Lt Col Montree Bunyayothin, Director of the DSI’s Bureau of Natural Resources, led a meeting at Phuket Provincial Hall where he gave the businesses operators until March 5, 2018 to vacate the land or face having their buildings demolished.
The businesses stayed, and none of the buildings were demolished. Instead they all remain there today, still serving tourists.
All the threats by officials throughout the year didn’t even stop one real estate agent in Phuket from posting an advertisement to sell an undisclosed area of the land for B3.6bn.
Mr MaAnn said that locally the matter was now in the hands of the Legal Execution Department.
“I can’t be sure what to do next until the Phuket Provincial Prosecutor and Thalang District Chief instruct me through official documents,” he said.
“The best I know is that the Legal Execution Department told me that this case (sic) is still being heard in the court and the details (of the claims to owning the land) are still being checked.
“I will have my legal division (of the Cherng Talay OrBorTor) issue a formal request for more details. I need it all to be clearer,” he added.