Connect with us


Intarat calls for SorPorKor probe



PHUKET: Gen Intarat Yodbangtoey, in his capacity as “special adviser” to Natural Resources and Environment Minister Anongwan Thepsutin, led an inspection tour on Sunday of properties believed to be illegally owned by virtue of their location on agricultural reform (SorPorKor) land. The properties are located on hillsides in Kamala, Kalim and Patong hillsides on Sunday.

On Saturday, Gen Intarat and his team inspected other building sites as well, including some on Koh Yao Yai in Phang Nga, which Forest Department surveys also show to be SorPorKor land, degraded public forest land intended for agricultural use by poor farmers.

The two-day inspection tour followed a meeting chaired by Gen Intarat at Phuket City Municipality offices on Friday.

At that meeting, Gen Intarat proposed a two-prong attack to reclaim public land for the state.

“The are two main types of encroachment: those squatting on public forest land to plant rubber, and [certain] cases where land titles have been [improperly] issued for public land,” he said.

Gen Intarat proposed that rubber plantation squatters could be charged rent and allowed to continue to farm the land. “They could pay rent to the governor and continue to farm their existing plantation, but they would not be allowed to expand their plantations or cut down any more of the natural forest,” he said.

However, for public land on which titles have been issued, Gen Intarat proposed that the government reclaim the land and restore it to its natural state as preserved forest.

“Land that local people have encroached on so that they can farm will be handed back to the Forestry Department and restored to natural forest, but other encroachers could face minimum jail sentences of 10 years,” he warned.

While ready to reclaim public land for which people may have government-issued titles, Gen Intarat left the door open for some plots to be developed for tourism by government offices and the local administrative bodies where they are located.

“For forestry land that can be used as a public park or a tourist attraction, we are pleased to support and protect our natural resources to support tourism in Phuket,” he said.

Aongart Chanachanmongkol, chief of the Phuket Provincial Office of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MNRE), reported that of the 339,396 rai that comprises Phuket, 108,581 rai is state forest land.

Some 41,200 rai in Phuket is titled as SorPorKor land. Of this, occupancy rights (Tor Por 4 titles) have been issued for 21,182 rai, he said.

K. Aongart reported that so far this year, the Phuket MNRE office had discovered 23 cases of encroachment on state land: 15 cases in state forest, six cases in protected mangrove forests, and two cases of illegal logging.

Phuket Vice-Governor Worapoj Ratthasima proposed handling encroachment cases locally. “If any local [administration] organization discovers encroachment in their area, they can report it to the governor,” he said.

Also at the meeting was Monthon “Palad Rambo” Chartsuwan, the MNRE official responsible for investigating law-enforcement issues in the South.

K. Monthon made headlines last month when he filed a police complaint at the Phuket City Police Station charging Land Department Director Chairerk Dissaya-amnaj for dereliction of duty in failing to revoke an illegally issued land ownership deed on protected mangrove forest in Rassada.

“There are many cases of encroachment – about 20 construction sites – from Kamala to Kalim, and some in the outskirts of Patong, that the DSI will investigate,” he said.

On Tuesday, Pongpayome Vasaputi, Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Interior, met Phuket Governor Niran Kalayanamit, Vice-Governor Tri Augkaradacha, and local authorities to discuss encroachment issues.

“Around the nation, about 6 million rai of SorPorKor land has been encroached upon. That is a lot of land,” said K. Pongpayome, who served as Governor of Phuket from October 2000 until September 2003.

“Since 1997, we have taken legal action against 11 people in Phuket who had claimed 20 plots covering 500 rai. By the end of 2006, the Supreme Court had heard the cases against five of those people – and had decided against all of them, ordering 11 plots covering 300 rai to be returned to the state,” he said.

Among those who lost SorPorKor land under the Supreme Court rulings is current Phuket MP Tossaporn Thepabutr.

“Much of the SorPorKor land returned to the state is in Patong and Kamala, which are very beautiful areas. So I have come to Phuket to inspect those areas with the primary goal of protecting them against encroachment.

“I received a report from the Phuket governor that many local OrBorTor [tambon administration organizations] are ready to provide funds to develop their areas. We can develop the land for public use or allocate it for farming. It depends on what provincial officers decide to do with it. I will follow up on these issues later,” Pongpayome added.


Get more from The Thaiger

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.

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Road deaths56 mins ago

Innocent woman killed after high-speed race near Bangkok

Crime2 hours ago

Police raid Chinese porn studio in Chon Buri, 4 arrested

Bangkok3 hours ago

Blaze at US office near German Embassy in Bangkok

Sponsored3 hours ago

Enjoy a splashing time and immerse yourself in Thai Mythology in Andamanda Phuket

Expats3 hours ago

Aussie man plunges to death from 17th floor of Pattaya hotel

Thailand3 hours ago

More details emerge on Deadly Fire in NightClub | GMT

Chon Buri17 hours ago

Faulty wiring, poor construction, unsafe materials in Mountain B fire

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Chon Buri17 hours ago

Mountain B: Owner out on bail, Bangkok club inspection, viral moment

Central Thailand18 hours ago

Thai woman murders her abusive boyfriend in front of a monk

North East18 hours ago

UPDATE: Sexy Thai model fined 5,000 baht for dancing topless in club

Thailand19 hours ago

Thailand News Today | Poll says 64% Thais had enough with PM Prayut

North East19 hours ago

10 year old killed & 5 injured after pickup hits motorbike sidecar

Crime19 hours ago

Court releases Mountain B owner on bail for 300k baht following fire in eastern Thailand

Coronavirus (Covid-19)19 hours ago

Thailand has 5 BA.2.75 antibody-resistant Covid-19 sub-variant

Tourism20 hours ago

UK student conquers mountain in Thailand blindfolded

Home Services20 hours ago

Top 5 reasons to get a maid service in Thailand

Thailand11 months ago

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

Thailand1 year ago

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

Tourism1 year ago

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

Phuket1 year ago

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

Tourism1 year ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand1 year ago

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

Tourism1 year ago

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

Thailand2 years ago

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

Thailand2 years ago

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

Thailand2 years ago

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

Thailand2 years ago

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

Thailand2 years ago

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

Thailand2 years ago

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

Thailand2 years ago

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

Thailand2 years ago

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