Locals had initially lodged a complaint with former vice governor Somkiat Sangkhaosutthiluk on June 22, 2015 after the investor threatened to have them shot if they interfered with his claim to their land. At that time, V/Gov Somkiet pledged to provide police protection and to request military support for the locals. (See story here)
Three days later, on June 25, 40 men believed to be connected to the investor were told to leave the disputed land when they set up a tent to block the entrance to the sea gypsy community.
Chalong police were also called to the area to help Rawai Municipality officials ease tension between the men and a large group of sea gypsies who had gathered. (See story here)
However, yesterday, representatives from Baron World Trade Co., Ltd who claim to own the plot of land in Moo 2, Rawai returned again with over 40 officers from Royal Thai Army Region 41 and local police and again tried to place a blockade to stop locals accessing the land.
“The locals were trying to protect the land because they have lived here for over a hundred years, but there is a man who has legal titles for the land. This is a very sensitive issue,” said Rawai Major Aroon Solos.
“We have to find a solution that will make both parties happy, but first both parties must take a step back and listen to each others opinions. If this does not happen the problem is going to get worse,” he added.
Mr Solos also said that he had informed Phuket Governor Chamroen Tipayapongtada and Rawai police chief of the latest incident.
“Someone said that the army would come back again tonight to finish their work on the blockade and the local sea gypsies are aware of this, however, they said they will continue to protect the land,” Mr Solos explained.
“We will be on full alert tonight in case the problems escalates, we do not want to see any confrontations,” he said.