At 1.30pm yesterday (May 12) at the Phuket Merlin Hotel, Ms Peetarat “Yupin” Hootachai, 38, held a press conference to publicly claim her family’s ownership of the two plots of land at Freedom Beach, which occupy a total area of about 65 rai.
Ms Peetarat says they she is the rightful heir to the land as her deceased mother, Mrs Ta Hootachai, was the original owner of the land which had been occupied by her family since 1942.
Ms Peetarat claims that two Chanotes issued for the land, in the names of Mr Ekachai Sae-Iw and Wirot Kongkaew, were obtained fraudulently after a real estate broker offered to assist Mrs Ta in the sale of the land to a third party.
Ms Peetarat’s claims come after a statement in November, 2016, by Royal Forestry Department region office Director Boonsueb Samakrat that the land was inside a national reserve forest area and therefore belonged to the government. (See story here)
The two Chanote land titles, at that time both in the name of Eakachai Sae’iew, were also ordered to be deregistered with the authority of Land Department Director-General Apinan Suethanuwong.
“These areas will be returned to national forest. The Forestry Department on September 8 gave the owner (sic) 30 days to remove four structures and vacate the area,” Director Boonsueb told The Phuket News in November last year.
According to Ms Peetarat, approximately 10 years ago, a real estate broker contacted her elderly mother, who had no understanding of property law, and offered to assist her in selling the land.
At that time, the value of the land was agreed to be about 150 million baht – but was recently estimated be worth about B4bn on the open market.
The broker offered to obtain Chanotes for the land for Ms Ta, in order to increase the land’s attractiveness to potential buyers. Ms Ta agreed to allow the broker to obtain the Chanotes on her behalf.
However, in late April 2011, Mrs Ta Hootachai visited the Phuket Land Office after she was notified that Mr Ekachai and Mr Wirot had bought the land, having applied for, and received, two Chanotes from Phuket Land Office on April 12, 2011. Mrs Ta never received any money from the real estate broker for the sale.
Ms Peetarat is now requesting the Phuket Land Office to issue a new Chanote in her mother’s name – which presumably would be inherited by her. She is also claiming B1 million in damages and says if she can not get it back, she wants to return the land to the government.
“This plea is to ask for justice, and I want the society to know how the two plots were formed. Who is the real owner? The land has not yet been sold to anyone. There is only a contract for 150 million, but no payment. After this I will continue to fight to get the land back. But if it does not come back to its rightful owner, it will be returned to the state,” said Ms Peetarat.