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Phuket luxury resorts face legal action over illegal land grabs

Phuket luxury resorts face legal action over illegal land grabs

PHUKET: Luxury Phuket resorts Triasara and Sripanwa are facing legal action over illegally acquired land following the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) and the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) announcing the conclusion of their investigations earlier this week.

landtourismcorruption
By The Phuket News

Sunday 3 October 2021, 02:59PM


Niwatchai Kasemmongkol, Deputy Secretary-General of Office of the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC), explained that Three Dolphins Co Ltd had used the well-known “Flying SorKor 1” process to submit a SorKor 1 land use document for another plot of land to claim more than 40 rai adjacent to the land the company legitimately owns on Phuket’s west coast.

At a live press conference broadcast online, Mr Niwatchai and fellow NACC officers and expert land investigators specifically named Weerawat Janpen, who served as a Phuket Vice Governor at the time, as involved in approving the land transfer. Weerawat served as a Phket Vice Governor in 2011.

The land illegally acquired is within the boundaries of Sirinath National Park and the adjoining Khao Ruak - Khao Muang national forest reserve, Mr Niwatchai said.

“The NACC has submitted a request to the relevant court to revoke the ownership rights,” he added.

Mr Janpen was just one of 29 officials involved in the illegal issuing of the land documents, Mr Niwatchai explained.

The NACC is pursuing charges against 11 officials involved in the land grab, he added.

Compounding the illegality of the land grabs was that some of the plots acquired and built on has a slope of more than 35%, making any construction illegal, he added.

The SorKor 1 presented by Three Dolphins was used twice to claim different ‒ and larger ‒ parcels of land, the NACC panel explained.

In the first instance, the SorKor 1 land use document, originally issued for a land plot of 20 rai, was first converted to a NorSor 3 marked as covering 38 rai.

The NorSor 3 land document was then converted to two separate NorSor 3 Gor land documents for adjoining plots covering in total 51 rai.

The second instance the same SorKor 1 was used, it was presented to claim 14 rai with full ownership Chanote titles issued to the company, and it was presented to have a NorSor 3 Gor land use document issued covering a further more than 47 rai.

At this stage it is not exactly clear which land, if any, that the Trisara resort sits on is legal.

SRIPANWA

AXA Insurance PCL

A separate investigation by the DSI into land plots occupied by the upscale Sripanwa resort, on Phuket’s east coast, has found one plot deemed to have been illegally acquired through the illegal issuance of a NorSor 3 Gor land document.

The land covers 3 rai 3 ngan 35 square wah, which the Sri Panwa resort uses as the site for a swimming pool and covers land adjoining Panwa Beach, Mr Veera said in a post online citing the DSI report of its investigation, which he said he had now received.

“The land claimed is in a forest area under Section 4 of the Forest Act B.E. 2484,” 

“The Department of Special Investigation has sent the investigation information to the Royal Forest Department to proceed in accordance with its powers and duties,” Mr Veera noted.

The matter has also been sent to the NACC, the Department of Lands and the Anti-Money Laundering Office (AMLO) for further investigation, Mr Veera also said.

The NACC will pursue its own action against the officials involved, he added.

A request has been sent to the Land Department to revoke the document used to claim the land, he said.

Of note, the DSI has yet to post through its own channels the result of its investigation. However, Mr Veera posted a copy of the report in his post.

THE PEAKS

Meanwhile, Kata Beach Co Ltd, the owner of The Peak Residences, which has been ruled by the Supreme Court to be fully illegal, has asked permission from Karon Municipality to demolish the buildings.

“Last week, the company requested permission to operate the building,” Karon Mayor Jadet Wicharasorn, reported Isra News.

“The municipality has allowed the company or a subsidiary to demolish the entire buildings. The company will have to smash and remove all scrap materials from the forest area until the land is left to be able to plant trees to compensate for the original trees. The part is the duty of forest officials,” Mayor Jadet said.

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JohnC | 05 October 2021 - 09:45:48

Is there such a thing as an honest official anywhere in Thailand's government ranks?

skorchio | 04 October 2021 - 21:59:11

The old "y'all paid the wrong people' trick ........ 

Capricornball | 04 October 2021 - 10:15:49

Fascinated raises an important issue, that being the cutting down of what appears to be old growth forest in the hills surrounding Kamala. This "person of influence" on Soi Ohlala has essentially opened his own lumber mill, and has consistently been expanding his operations for months.  I would love to see PN look into this and do some actual journalism.

Kurt | 04 October 2021 - 09:43:55

@Timothy, if the 29  Officials are guilty of corruption/not doing their job, than there is enough money to take back from them to demolish/reforest the area. Give them a choice, pay for everything or go 20 years to prison for your crimes committed being a Government Official.

Kurt | 04 October 2021 - 09:28:21

@ Zib, as we see, including your comment, the Thai Government Departments can just be bought of with  brown envelop payments. And for what? Just for not seeing things! Simply makes it Government corruption. This country sinks more and more by the day. Pity.

Timothy | 04 October 2021 - 07:52:28

The so called "owners" of these illegal resorts should be charged and spend time in prison. They should not just have to demolish the buildings. Why is it the duty of the forest officials to plant the trees? The developers should have to pay for all works to make the land good again. Speaking of the forest officials....Where were they when these projects were being built? 

Christy Sweet | 03 October 2021 - 23:16:13

Every single development on  route 4018 north of Laguna- hundreds of rai-are encroaching on Sirinart Nat'l Forest Reserve, yet only some get harassed. Gosh, I wonder why.... 

Fascinated | 03 October 2021 - 22:50:13

Good= its about tie ethese companies and their cronied in Gov't were brought to task. Unfortunately this has gone on for many years and the damage is irrepiarable. 
Further to this there are some massive trees being dropped off in Kamala, at the moment-one wonders which further area has been cut down. Guess they just haven't been 'noticed'

zib | 03 October 2021 - 15:13:29

Look on google maps what is sitting 100m next to "the peaks". "The forest protection and coordinate center" :D

 

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