Crackdown on land officials imminent

BANGKOK (The Nation): The top money-laundering examiner yesterday sounded an alarm that rogue officials in Phuket, Phang Nga, Ranong and Krabi were behind scams to issue land-right documents unlawfully for plots overlapping forests.

“From confidential investigations by the Anti-Money Laundering Office (AMLO), [we have ascertained that] rogue officials in four southern provinces have abused their office to issue false documents for 250 plots that are actually located in forest areas,” AMLO Secretary-General Peeraphan Prempooti said.

The false documents were later pledged as collateral by “landowners”, who then defaulted on their loans, he said, adding that AMLO was co-operating with the Bank of Thailand in collecting evidence on the alleged scam.

“AMLO is scheduled to announce later this week the first asset-seizure case involving ill-gotten earnings from the issuing of false land documents,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) said it would proceed with its probe into an 8,000-rai plot of land in Phang Nga’s Kapong District.

The DSI would not waver in its duties even though veteran politician Vatana Asavahame had threatened to sue it for accusing him of unlawful possession of the plot, DSI Director-General Sombat Amornwiwat explained.

Phuket News
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