Connect with us

Opinion

Opinion: Stop national park plunder

Published

 on 

PHUKET: The recent request by the Sirinath Marine National Park chief to invoke Article 44 of the interim Charter in order to speed up the investigation and prosecution of long-standing land encroachment cases raises important questions and concerns.

Use of Article 44 would speed up the judicial process in encroachment cases already in the court system and hasten the Land Department’s cancellation of land title documents illegally issued for park land, stated Sirinath National Park Chief Kitiphat Tharapiban.

The need for this issue to be swiftly addressed can be seen in the scale of the problem. Some 4,000 rai, or almost 30 per cent of the marine park’s total terrestrial area, needs to be reclaimed from alleged encroachment of various types, the park chief said.

Such a staggering amount of encroachment could not have been carried out without involvement of government officials.

That this was indeed the case is indicated by the fact that at least five former park chiefs, along with one former deputy governor and many other Land Office officials and other bureaucrats, face charges for illegally issuing documents that allowed swaths of prime park land to fall into the hands of so-called ‘investors’.

While the powers issued to the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) under Article 44 have drawn criticism from abroad, most of the orders issued thereunder do indeed address serious issues that affect national security and are, for the most part, rooted in corruption.

Previous governing bodies failed to put an end to encroachment at Sirinath National Park and a score of other parks nationwide. The plundering of these national treasures was carried out in plain sight, with many of those responsible for protecting these precious resources more interested in using their positions for profit than upholding sworn oaths to protect them.

If ‘extraordinary measures’ need to be taken to tackle the problem, expats and locals on Phuket should help by supporting this initiative – for the simple reason that previous efforts by elected governments failed so miserably.

That said, it is important that the prosecution of those involved in encroachment be carried out in a fair and transparent way.

Businessmen who can prove they invested in these projects in good faith and were duped by lawyers, land officers and others operating up the ladder of corruption should be treated leniently under the spirit of the law, not as scapegoats.

Corrupt officials who facilitated this plunder of Phuket’s only national park should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and, if found guilty, have their assets seized and be sentenced to stiff prison terms in order to set an example for all who follow.

 

Get more from The Thaiger

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Thailand9 hours ago

Cabinet seems to have ignored 4am nightlife proposal

Video11 hours ago

THAILAND NEWS TODAY | Korean woman arrested for 5-million-baht theft, 6-year overstay

Crime11 hours ago

Tuhao’s Chinese gang buys 50 homes in Bangkok luxury village with cash

Sponsored12 hours ago

Krungthong Plaza offers endless choices of well-selected plus-size fashion products

Road deaths11 hours ago

Bus flipped in Tak injuring 44 Burmese workers, killing 3

Thailand11 hours ago

3 men were arrested for stealing Thai Internet connection & World Cup betting in Cambodia

Pattaya11 hours ago

Intoxicated Pattaya woman left uninjured after overturning car

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Crime12 hours ago

Woman who allegedly scammed victims for over 30 million baht arrested in Pattaya

Bangkok12 hours ago

Bangkok BTS Skytrain fares to increase next year

Thailand12 hours ago

Police put brakes on car rental thief in Bangkok

World12 hours ago

New drug marks major milestone in slowing Alzhemier’s

World Cup13 hours ago

400 to 500 migrant workers in Qatar died due to World Cup, not 6,500

Visa14 hours ago

Thailand advises Indians to obtain visa prior to travelling to avoid long queues

Thailand14 hours ago

Driver furious with Bangkok shopping mall after foreigner accidently causes damage to her car

Politics14 hours ago

Iran promises Thailand it won’t attack Israeli tourists

Crime14 hours ago

Korean woman arrested for 5 million baht theft, 6-year overstay

Thailand1 year ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism2 years ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism2 years ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism2 years ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Trending