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Phuket court upholds sea gypsies’ rights in land claim ruling

PHUKET: The Phuket Provincial Court today (Jan 31) ruled in favour of four Rawai sea gypsies, upholding their rights to live in the sea gypsy village in Rawai at the southern end of the island.

By Premkamon Ketsara

Tuesday 31 January 2017, 05:34PM

The verdict was handed down in the land claim by plaintiff Boonsri Tantiwattanawanlop against sea gypsies Aeaw Hardsaithong, Woranan Hadsaithong, Bancha Hadsaithong and Niran Hyangpan.

Mr Niran exited the courthouse at about 11am and broke the news to the 100-odd sea gypsies waiting anxiously outside, who cheered vociferously.

Ms Boonsri and her legal representative did not appear in court today to hear the ruling.

“The court dismissed the claim,” Mr Niran told Khao Phuket. (See story here.) 

“We have photo evidence of His Majesty the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej when he visited our village in 1959 with a picture of a coconut tree.

Central Phuket

“The plaintiff argued that the coconut tree today was only 10 years old, but forensic tests found that the same coconut tree is now 30 years old,” he explained.

The court dismissed the claim, even though the plaintiff presented a land document deed as evidence to her rights to the land, Mr Niran said.

However, the fight might yet be far from over as Ms Boonsri can appeal today’s verdict.

The Phuket News has yet to learn whether any action will be taken to further investigate the land document presented by Ms Boonsri in support of her claim.



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CaptainJack | 01 February 2017 - 18:30:13

@Les: I completley agree. But you can see why the lines are so blurred. What does "native" mean. It's believed that the gypsies settled in Rawai about 100 years ago (there are no real records, they are after all undocumented). Now I've lived here almost 20 years, and I still have to report to immigration every 90 days like some sort of criminal and get tested for Cyphilis every 1...

LES | 01 February 2017 - 16:02:01

Great news for the "little people" having won their rights against greedy big business profiteers who thought they could do what they wanted.
I hope this is the end of the matter and no under hand corruption leading to another dispute.
Congratulations to the natives of this island  

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