– Thailand news selected by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community
PHUKET: Two luxury homes in the compound of former Department of Special Investigation (DSI) chief Tarit Pengdith’s family estate in Nakhon Ratchasima province have finally been demolished.
The demolition took place on the grounds that the structures encroached into a national forest reserve. Also, Tarit insisted this week that his family home was on legitimate land and that he was in no way linked to the demolished structures. The two houses shared a fence with property registered under the name of Tarit’s wife Wassamon. “The demolition was completed on Monday evening,” a villager said.
Tarit had been at the helm of DSI for several years until the ruling National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) dismissed him in May.
Earlier, photos of resort-like houses in his estate in Nakhon Ratchasima’s Pak Chong district were widely circulated on the Internet, prompting authorities to launch a probe.
As per the investigation, Tarit’s wife does have proper title deeds for her estate, but the two houses in the compound were found to be encroaching into a national forest reserve.
A source yesterday identified the owner of the demolished houses as another woman, adding that she had rented the land from someone else. The source added that the woman decided to tear down the houses as soon as she learned they were encroaching on forestland.
“She has informed forestry officials that the demolition is done,” the source said.
Aram Manchaona, a senior forestry official based in Pak Chong, said yesterday that the land in question had been rented by the Royal Forest Department, but the contract had expired several months ago.
Meanwhile, a group of people yesterday submitted a letter to NCPO chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha complaining that Srisuban Farm was trying to evict them from their homes in Surat Thani province.
The group, led by Jennarong Chukongkha, said they had bought the plots in 1983 and had land-rights documents. Srisuban Farm, owned by Suthep Thaugsuban, has sought the court’s help in evicting Jennarong and several other villagers, saying it had bought the land from the Legal Execution Department in 2003.
— Phuket Gazette Editors