Gov fires new salvo at high-flying investigators

PHUKET CITY: Phuket Governor Udomsak Usawarangkura today enlarged on his tough criticism of the investigation team from Bangkok, led by Crime Suppression Division (CSD) Chief Pol Maj Gen Kosin Hintao, who inspected land plots on Phuket, Koh Racha and Koh Hei on Wednesday last week.

“The police just stayed in their helicopter and pointed at developments on beautiful plots of land in the hills and near the sea,” Gov Udomsak told the Gazette. “They presumed that the buildings were on state land. They said that more than 10,000 rai of government land had been encroached on.

“Their comments to the press were an exaggeration of the problem because they just saw the plots from the sky, and they may have misunderstood [whether the land was state land or not]. They should have checked the land plot by plot.

“I blame this police investigation team because their actions will have a negative impact on Phuket’s economy and that of the nation,” he added.

Gov Udomsak said that he will be ready to co-operate with Pol Maj Gen Vinai Thongsong, who will take up the post of CSD Chief on October 1 as part of the national reshuffle of senior government officers.

Gen Kosin will move on the same day to take up a new post as Commander of Bangkok Police Region 5.

The governor explained that Phuket already has a committee for investigating suspect plots of land and the titles that cover them. “We already have a special center for resolving land problems, with officials from the Governor’s Office and from the Phuket office of the Natural Resource and Environment Ministry, to deal with cases involving possible encroachment on state land.

“This committee also deals with cases involving “flying” SorKor 1 titles and falsified land titles, and verifies whether land being occupied belongs to the state or not. This committee asks the Phuket Provincial Land Office to check land titles and to prosecute people,” he said.

In yesterday’s Nation newspaper, the Governor slammed Gen Kosin for making “irresponsible” statements “with no information or evidence”.

Gen Kosin, contacted by the Gazette, declined to comment on the Governor’s remarks.

Phuket News

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