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Anchalee’s husband loses Supreme Court land case



Anchalee’s husband loses Supreme Court land case | Thaiger

BANGKOK: (The Nation, Gazette) The Supreme Court yesterday upheld an Appeal Court ruling that ordered Tossaporn Thepabutr and his associates to vacate 98 rai of land near the Kata Viewpoint.

The Supreme Court yesterday morning read its verdict on the lawsuit between the Provincial Land Reform Office (PPLRO) and Tossaporn, husband of Phuket Provincial Administration Organization (OrBorJor) President and former Democrat Party MP Anchalee Vanich-Thepabutr.

Tossaporn claimed the land was given to him in 1989 by landlord Charan Tungku, who had owned it since 1956, before the SorPorKor land reform program came into effect in 1975 and could thus not be driven off the land.

However, the Appeals Court ruled there was no recorded legal ownership of the land by Charan, so the transfer to Tossaporn was not legitimate.

The Supreme Court upheld an Appeal Court’s ruling ordering Tossaporn to vacate the land because he had no right to it.

The land had been included in the SorPorKor land reform program, intended to provide agricultural land for poor farmers to make a living.

Tossaporn, found to have shares in companies and personal wealth totaling more than 55 million baht, failed to qualify, the Appeals Court ruled.

The SorPorKor program in Phuket began in November 1994, when then-Agriculture Minister Suthep Thaugsuban ceded title deeds to 592 plots, including land near the Kata Viewpoint, Kamala and other parts of the Nakkerd Hills, to 489 farmers.

It was later found that members of 11 wealthy families in Phuket were among the recipients.

The scandal, which for months was covered as front page news in the Thai daily newspaper Thai Rath, eventually led to the collapse of the coalition government led by Chuan Leekpai, Democrat party leader at the time.

In a brief press release after the ruling, Tossaporn wrote that he accepted the verdict and welcomed the end to what he described as a “12-year nightmare”.

From its inception the real target of the case was his wife, he wrote.

Noting that all criminal charges had been dropped and that the Phuket Provincial Court originally ruled that he had a valid claim to the land, he said that all Phuket people were well aware of the circumstances behind the case.

Of the remaining 10 cases yet to be ruled upon by the Supreme Court, the next is that of Charoen Thawornworngwong, who claims to own four plots totaling 16 rai, also in the Nakkerd Hills in Karon.

Similarly, the Phuket Appeals Court in early 2005 overturned a decision by the Phuket Provincial Court allowing K. Charoen to own the land, which was also designated as SorPorKor land by the PPLRO.

In overturning the lower court verdict, the Appeals Court ruled that K. Charoen was neither poor nor a farmer, and therefore ordered him and his associates to vacate the land immediately.

K. Charoen, whose family owns the Thavorn hotel chain, manages the Thavorn Grand Plaza Hotel in Phuket City.


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