The transfer order was signed by Jirasak Chukwamdee, chief of the Protected Areas Regional Office 5 under the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP).
Mr Jirasak said the transfers stemmed from fee collections at the park. It was found the total money collected had sharply dropped when compared with previous years’ takings.
A committee has been set up to look into the issue, and the investigation will take about 10 days, he said. If nothing wrong is found, they will be reinstated and transferred back.
Two of the assistants, Athit Kayankit and Phongpan Paenoi, have been transferred to Sirinath National Park in Phuket.
Sawai Chaiyotha was transferred to Khlong Phraya Wildlife Sanctuary in Krabi, Pongsak Kongthung, was sent to Koh Libong no-hunting zone in Trang, and Jinda Srisuppatpong was transferred to Tarutao National Marine Park in Satun.
Of the remaining two, Rakchanok Paenoi was moved to the Protected Areas Regional Office 5 while Sarayut Paso was moved to Khao Nan National Park in Nakhon Sri Thammarat.
Four new assistants to the Similan Islands National Park chief were also appointed.
They were transferred from the Protected Areas Regional Office 5. Of them, Teerapol Chartthai will be responsible for Koh Tachai and Korakot Wangsut for Koh Miang. The other two are Porn-uma Poomnual and Suwan Infan.
Four other park officials were also transferred to new positions in the following order:
Nonthawit Jaturabandit, a senior forestry officer from the Protected Areas Regional Office 5, became the chief of Sa Nang Manora Forest Park in Phang Nga.
Beman Kongla, a forest protection officer at Koh Libong no-hunting zone, became the forest protection officer at the Similan Islands National Park.
Pleun Wankan, the forest protection officer at Khlong Phraya Wildlife Sanctuary, became the forest protection officer at the Similan Islands National Park, responsible for Koh Tachai.
Thawee Promsut, a forest protection officer at Mu Ko Phetra National Park in Trang, became the forest protection officer at the Similan Islands National Park, responsible for Koh Miang.
Following the transfer order, the seven assistants removed from the Similan Islands National Park gathered at the DNP headquarters in Bangkok on Monday (Nov 30) to meet Deputy DNP chief Thanya Nethithamakul to seek justice.
After a one-hour meeting, Mr Thanya said he had set up the probe committee to ensure fairness.
Mr Thanya admitted transferring the officials during the high season would affect how the park is run.
Although new officials were appointed, they are still new to the job, he said.
Ms Rakchanok said she went to the meeting because she wants to know the reason why she was removed from her job and what crime she had supposedly committed.
According to DNP sources, the removal of seven park chief assistants at the same time was unprecedented.
The flurry of transfer activity during the tourist high season would put administration of parks to the test, particularly the Similan Islands National Park, which is home to tourist-magnets Koh Miang and Koh Tachai.
Critics voiced concerns about the appointment of Mr Nonthawit as the new Sa Nang Manora Forest Park chief.
They questioned how he managed to get the job as he is undergoing a disciplinary probe amid allegations that he unlawfully approved land ownership rights at Sirinath National Park when he was park chief there.
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