Phetchabun taskforce dismantles illegal resorts in forest reserve

Photo courtesy of KhaoSod

Authorities in Phetchabun province acted swiftly on a tip-off regarding encroachment upon the Khao Polklon Forest Reserve. In a coordinated operation, the Tiger Forestry Taskforce, along with other units, detained five individuals linked to luxury resorts and a café constructed illegally in the Khao Kho area.

The mission underscored the government’s commitment to preserving national forest reserves and highlighted the ongoing battle against illegal land encroachment in Thailand.

Today, January 25, Phongsaphet Kesasupha, the head of the Fourth Forest Protection and Firefighting Operation, announced the results of the investigations spurred by complaints of unauthorised development within the Khao Polklon Forest Reserve. Developers had carved out roads and laid concrete paths into the mountainside to build resort accommodations.

The operation mobilised a team of 30 officers from the Tiger Forestry Taskforce, the Forest Department, and the Khao Kho Forest Protection and Development Unit. Their inspection revealed a series of infringements within the forest reserve, designated as a quality watershed area (class 2).

This included newly built resorts along the Camp Son to Dong Long route in Moo 6, Camp Son Village, Khao Kho District, Phetchabun Province.

Phetchabun taskforce dismantles illegal resorts in forest reserve | News by Thaiger
Photo courtesy of KhaoSod

Further probing approximately 500 metres along the route uncovered six plots of land on the mountain that had been subdivided for sale, with four resorts already constructed. In response, authorities seized the properties and initiated legal proceedings against five entities.

The charges are based on multiple infractions of the Forest Act of B.E. 2484 (1941) and the National Reserved Forest Act of B.E. 2507 (1964).

Phetchabun taskforce dismantles illegal resorts in forest reserve | News by Thaiger
Photo courtesy of KhaoSod

One resort, Lan View Khao Kho Resort, featured terraced land with four large spherical domes available for 1,500 baht (US$42) per night and five A-frame domes at 800 baht (US$2.36) per night. Surasak Pattanaphaikitkul, also known as A from Khon Kaen Province, identified himself as the owner, admitting to purchasing the land without proper documentation for 300,000 baht (US$8,383) per rai.

Phetchabun taskforce dismantles illegal resorts in forest reserve | News by Thaiger
Photo courtesy of KhaoSod

A’s further transactions involved the acquisition of an additional plot from a teacher named Rei, for 250,000 baht (US$6,986) per rai, to expand his resort. Another property, owned by Boat from Khon Kaen, featured a luxurious building functioning as a coffee shop, while a Bangkok resident, Rot, had constructed three large holiday homes on his plot.

The final case involved Cassandra Khao Kho Resort, with Somkhuan, the caretaker, stating that the property belonged to Tasmah Pooduang from Khon Kaen, who had also purchased land from teacher Rei, reported KhaoSod.

In each instance, the land holdings did not match the surveyed possessions according to a Cabinet resolution dated June 30, 1998. The officials used satellite-based GPS technology to calculate the exact dimensions of the encroached areas, ranging from under one to over three rai. These measurements will serve as evidence in legal proceedings against the accused parties.

The incident underscores the stringent measures Thai authorities are willing to take to protect the country’s natural resources from illegal encroachment, reflecting a broader commitment to environmental conservation. The legal actions initiated are a clear warning to those who disregard the laws designed to safeguard Thailand’s forests.

In related news, allegations have emerged accusing a village headman of involvement in land encroachment within the Kao Krating forest reserve in Chon Buri’s Sattahip district.

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Nattapong Westwood

Nattapong Westwood is a Bangkok-born writer who is half Thai and half Aussie. He studied in an international school in Bangkok and then pursued journalism studies in Melbourne. Nattapong began his career as a freelance writer before joining Thaiger. His passion for news writing fuels his dedication to the craft, as he consistently strives to deliver engaging content to his audience.

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