Connect with us

Opinion

Opinion: Stop national park plunder

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS
👋 Have your say on our Thailand forum
🔔 Subscribe to our daily newsletter
📺 Subscribe / Join for daily shows
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🐦 FOLLOW us on Twitter
📷 FOLLOW us on Instagram

image

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:

Tourism29 mins ago

Foreign airlines give up 80% of their slots at Thailand’s airports amid uncertainty of next 5 months

Thailand39 mins ago

Phu Quoc to re-open, Covid cluster prompts fear, Scrapping tradition | Good Morning Thailand | Ep. 115

Thailand54 mins ago

Thai government presents actor Russell Crowe with “thank you” gift basket

Sponsored3 weeks ago

Thailand private investigators will uncover the truth for you

Welcome back to Thailand!

Thaiger is getting behind local businesses for the restart of tourism in Thailand - up to 50% discounts across all advertising packages!

Chiang Mai1 hour ago

Big vaccination push in Chiang Mai in bid to combat Covid-19 surge

Coronavirus Vaccines2 hours ago

First batch of Moderna doses to arrive Monday

Tourism2 hours ago

Government under pressure to lift alcohol ban, allow nightlife to resume

image
Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Coronavirus (Covid-19)3 hours ago

Monday Covid Update: 8,675 new cases and 44 deaths

Vietnam18 hours ago

Ho Chi Minh launches 3-stage reopening plan, international on January 1

Kanchanaburi18 hours ago

Border shacks to be demolished for aiding Burmese immigrants

Tourism19 hours ago

Tourism calls for Russia and India to be added to safe list

Economy20 hours ago

Bank of Thailand plans real-world test of digital currency in 2022

Hua Hin21 hours ago

Hua Hin calls for delay in reopening amid Covid-19 infections

Chiang Mai21 hours ago

Chiang Mai Covid-19 infections swell ahead of reopening

Koh Samui22 hours ago

Thailand’s bars and beach parties remain strictly closed (cough)

Coronavirus (Covid-19)23 hours ago

Covid-19 Sunday: Deaths fall to low of 56, provincial data

Thailand1 month ago

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

Thailand8 months ago

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

Tourism8 months ago

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

Phuket8 months ago

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

Tourism8 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand8 months ago

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

Tourism8 months ago

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

Thailand9 months ago

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

Thailand9 months ago

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

Thailand9 months ago

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

Thailand9 months ago

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

Thailand9 months ago

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

Thailand9 months ago

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

Thailand10 months ago

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

Thailand10 months ago

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

Trending