The department has been locked in a dispute for several years with Mr Chuan over ownership of 77 rai of land on the island, which is not far off the coast in Muang district.
Mr Chuan sued the DNP in the Provincial Court in 2015 for encroaching on the land that he claimed to have owned since 1952. The Krabi Court ruled in July last year in his favour, forcing the agency to remove all structures from the island, but did not award him the B3 million in damages he claimed.
DNP Director-General Thanya Nethithammakul said yesterday (Aug 17) that the Appeal Court had on Thursday reversed the preliminary ruling and ordered Mr Chuan to return the land to the agency and pay the department's legal costs of B500,000, plus B400,000 in court fees.
Mr Thanya praised the work of all agencies involved in the successful appeal, which included the Department of Special Investigation and Department of Agriculture.
Aerial pictures of the disputed land and scientific proof of the age of the coconut trees planted in the area were among evidence used to dispute the plaintiff's claim of ownership, he said, without going into further details.
Mr Chuan could not be reached for comment.
He is a former mayor of Krabi municipality and built a resort on the island, famous for its snorkeling sites and beautiful beaches. The department has consistently argued that the land is part of Nopparat Tara-Mu Koh Phi Phi National Park.
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