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DMCR task force charges 22 shrimp farmers

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PHUKET: A Department of Marine and Coastal Resources (DMCR) task force has charged 22 shrimp farmers in Phuket for encroaching on mangrove forests.

Officers from the 120-man inter-agency task force, dubbed ‘White Shark’, conducted raids throughout forests on the island’s east coast from May 29-31. DMCR Deputy Director-General Sakda Wichiansin said that White Shark inspected 34 plots of land, covering 2,200 rai in the province. The raids come as part of a 24-province operation to ‘reclaim national treasures’ (story here).

“Most of the encroached land is in the Thalang District,” DMCR Region 6 Chief Watcharin Thintalang told the Phuket Gazette after the three day operation.

“We’ve filed 27 cases against those 22 people because some of them claimed ownership of more than one plot,” Mr Watcharin said.

The shrimp farmers’ alleged encroachment amounted to an estimated 669 rai of land. White Shark investigations dispute another 1,522 rai, and have sent 164 land-ownership documents to the Land Department in Bangkok for verification.

Mr Watcharin said the Land Department will look into whether those documents were issued legally, and whether the developed plots exist within the boundaries set forth by the title.

“If the documents were unlawfully issued, we will ask the Land Department to revoke the titles,” Mr Sakda said.

— Chutharat Plerin

 

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