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Phuket sea gypsy land dispute rears its head again

Phuket sea gypsy land dispute rears its head again

PHUKET: A land dispute involving one of the island’s sea gypsy communities reared its head again yesterday (Jan 25) when over 100 hundred members of the community came out to protect the disputed land after representatives from the company claiming to own it once again threatened to place a blockade there.

By Saroj Kueprasertkij

Tuesday 26 January 2016, 10:18AM

Officers from Royal Thai Army Region 41 speak to members  of the sea gypsy community.

Officers from Royal Thai Army Region 41 speak to members of the sea gypsy community.

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.

QSI International School Phuket

“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.

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BigA | 28 January 2016 - 18:14:03

Are this the same so called Sea Gypsies who got caught stealing reef fishes from Similan and try'd to sell them to Singapore for 200.000 Baht?, or catching sea turtles and anchor them for the night wit a rope and stone so they can pick them up when there is nobody around? No much sympathy from my side.  Horst 

jogi | 27 January 2016 - 12:20:30

this sea gypsy has to be protected against this influential land development gangsters by all mean's. this gypsy's and hill tribes are not lazy people, they made there living from working, had there own tradition long  before the dynasty of Ayuthaya collapsed, and this is quite a time ago. the tragic tsunami was a other very convenience event for the land grabbing mafia to get an valuabl...

Kurt | 26 January 2016 - 20:41:20

Representatives of baron World trade Co. claim it owns the land.
They attempted to blockade the area with help of 40 Army personal.

How is it possible that the army deployed 40 army personal to help the so called investors in this illegal blockade as the land cases between villagers and private investigators is still in court!

What make the army is stepping out of line in this matter?
I gu...

Joe12 | 26 January 2016 - 17:21:38

Richard Vickers…you are wrong about your Eurocentric view of the “lazy people.”  These “lazy people” have lived on the Island of Phuket long before it was transformed from a sleepy tropical jungle into one of the kingdom's top tourist destinations. Like many aboriginal inhabitants throughout the world, it was convenient to term any land as Terra Nullius and for “the discoverers” ...

beerzy85 | 26 January 2016 - 14:38:43

Oh no Richard... maybe the titles were gained by cooked land titles officers and i know Phuket has a lot of disputed and illegal titles That were gained by paying officers.... more to this than meets the eye

Kurt | 26 January 2016 - 13:46:53

Mhh, It seems that Governor, police, army changed party.
Last year they protected the Gipsy villagers.
Now they protect and help de developer, the opposite!

This not understandable government behavior can work out to become a little local war at Rawai.
I will for own protection avoid that area now a while.

Gipsies are in strong position. DNA tests on ancestors has proven that the gypsies ...

Richard Vickers | 26 January 2016 - 11:04:41

Well... there is no good coming out of this.  A group of lazy people that feel entitled to something they haven't earned and don't deserve...versus another greedy developer that just can't rape and and pillage the land fast enough so they can put up another cheap and ugly project that has no character. This will be a loss for everyone except the greedy developer.

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