The team of officers were led by Sirinath National Park Chief Pramote Kaewnam and joined by officers from the Royal Thai Police Crime Suppression Division for Natural Resources and Environment and from the Office for Defense and Suppression Support 4 (Southern Region) under the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation.
The raid yesterday follows a previous order for the workers to cease clearing the area, and felling trees, Chief Pramote explained.
“I had already ordered an officer to inform them to stop cutting trees down in the area, but they did not follow our order,” he said.
Chief Pramote also explained that a person had claimed private ownership of the 12 rai through a SorKor 1 land document.
“In front of the site, is a vinyl sign with text, ‘This land is owned by Mr Pau Phetcharat under land document (SorKor 1) No. 283, covering 12 rai. This land is under the process to be issued a land ownership document. Anyone who enters the area without permission will be prosecuted under the law”.
However, Chief Pramote yesterday noted, “We have already asked the Land Office to check, and they have confirmed to us that the land is a public area covered as a part of the national park.”
At the site yesterday, officers found a backhoe and a group of workers building shacks as onsite accommodation for themselves, Chief Pramote said.
“We also found signs of other large equipment used to cut down trees,” he said.
“A person presented to officers and showed the SorKor 1,” Chief Pramote noted.
Regardless, he added, “We seized the equipment found and took the person [who presented the Sor Kor 1] and all workers to the national park office for questioning.
“If we find that any other offenses have been committed, then we will proceed in accordance with the relevant laws for those also,” Chief Pramote said.