Thailand

Bonanza racetrack deemed to be on state land

PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

– Thailand news selected by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

Bonanza ‘encroached on forest land’
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: THE Office of Public Sector Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) has found that Bonanza businesses, owned by former politician Paiwong Taechanarong and his family, have encroached on forestland.

They have expanded their facilities beyond the scope of land that their land-right documents entitled them to,” PACC official Tanawat Sanitsakdee said yesterday.

Mr Paiwong and his family have operated various businesses including a resort, a speedway, and a golf course, in Nakhon Ratchasima province. Together, their business empire spans over 4,000 rai of land but they reportedly had just six land-rights documents. “The Royal Forest Department has already lodged a complaint with police,” Mr Tanawat said.

He believed officials would start demolishing structures built on forestland after the Songkran holidays.

Mr Tanawat said Mr Paiwong would likely face legal action too because available evidence showed that he had paid local-development taxes for the allegedly encroached land.

Meanwhile, Nakhon Ratchasima Land Office’s chief Monsak Jongrak said land-right documents produced by Bonanza International Speedway show its business now sits inside forest reserves in Nakhon Ratchasima’s Pak Chong district.

If the establishment was set up before the issuing of land-rights documents, the documents must be revoked, he said,

“And even if these documents are issued before the areas become forest reserves, we will still have to determine whether the issuing process was legitimate,” he said.

Bonanza International Speedway is a part of businesses linked to Mr Paiwong.

Mr Monsak said an examination of the documents should be completed before the end of this month. “We have already got some documentary evidence. We also knew exactly that the racecourse was inside forestland,” he said.

If an irregularity is found in the way the Nor Sor 3 Kor land documents were issued to Mr Paiwong, Mr Monsak said a probe would be launched to check if officials deliberately or carelessly committed wrongdoing.

Mr Monsak said five Nor Sor 3 Kor land rights documents cover a little over 50 rai. Given that Bonanza businesses appear to extend over 50 rai, the Royal Forest Department will have to look into alleged encroachment for parts not mentioned in the land documents. Each rai in Pak Chong district costs over 1 million baht.

Co Sommai Busaba, from the Second Army Area’s legal team, said police would summon people soon about the alleged encroachment.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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