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Land Department revokes B4bn titles for disputed Freedom Beach land

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Land Department revokes B4bn titles for disputed Freedom Beach land | The Thaiger

PHUKET: The long-debated four-billion-baht land titles, covering 65 rai of land off Freedom Beach, were officially revoked by the Land Department on May 12, as the two Chanotes were proved to overlap the Khao Narkkerd Preservation Forest.

The Land Department signed off on the order on May 12, and the Royal Forest Department (RFD) officially received the letter on May 24. Officials from the RFD said they are processing the order, before notifying the title holder, who has 15 days to appeal after receiving the letter.

The case first came to light when the RFD’s director-general at the time, Somchai Piensathaporn, informed the Public Sector Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) of irregularities concerning the land title deeds.

The first application to issue Chanote titles for the land was filed on July 18, 1990 by Panthong Na Ranong. Then, on April 12, 2011, the titles were issued under the name of Eakkachai Sae-Iw.
In July 2011, PACC Secretary-General Amphol Wongsiri stated that his investigation revealed that 200 million baht had been paid to officials for approval and authorization of the land deeds.
At the time, evidence was being collected to transfer the case to the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) in Bangkok.

In 2012, Pheu Thai Party spokesman and then-MP, Prompong Nopparit, paid a visit to the island to review the case. “Everything appears to be in order as far as the documents and title deeds are concerned,” Mr Prompong said at the time. “However, an inspection of the land itself indicates that there is a conflict with several Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment regulations.”

Mr Prompong explained that a site survey had proved that the land marked by the two Chanote titles, numbered 98414 and 98415, was within the boundaries of the Khao Narkkerd Preservation Forest.

“Another issue is that some of the land has a slope of over 35 degrees, designating it as a ‘mountain area.’ The current title deeds do not apply to this type of terrain. In any case, title deeds cannot be issued for land within a protected forest. Any government officers complicit in this case are guilty,” said Mr Prompong.

However, the lawyer defending the private investor in the case, At Srisamut, said that his client, Eakkachai Sae-Iw, had evidence that the land was acquired before the area was declared a national forest and that he could prove purchase of the land through a tax payment receipt – the lowest form of land claim available in the Kingdom.

On August 12, 2014, the RFD sent a letter to the Land Department to examine the two Chanotes. The official letter to revoke the Chanotes was signed just two weeks ago. “The title holders still have the right to appeal this order within 15 days,” said Phuket Land Office Chief Watcharin Jetanavanich. “At this point, we have yet to receive any appeal,” he added.

— Kongleaphy Keam

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

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Business

Official complaint filed with the DSI over The Peaks Residences Condominium in Phuket

The Thaiger

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Official complaint filed with the DSI over The Peaks Residences Condominium in Phuket | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Inspections at the property in March this year – Kritsada Mueanhawong

Bangkok MP Sira Jenjaka has gone ahead and filed a long list of formal complaints over The Peaks Residences Condominium project being built in the hills above Kata Noi in Phuket.

The Palang Pracharat MP has also claimed to have had death threats made against him over his investigations and accusations over the condo’s land titles and ownership in recent weeks.

The MP filed an official complaint with the Department of Special Investigation chief in Bangkok this morning.

The complaint alleges that the Karon Mayor Tawee Thongcham and the municipality “neglected their duties” by issuing permits to Kata Beach Co Ltd, the developer of the The Peaks Residences Condominium.

In February this year the Karon OrBorTor issued a construction permit for the project but in April municipal officials also sent a letter acknowledging the ongoing legal proceedings over the legitimacy of the land title, the NorSor 3 Kor Number 1863.

The complaint alleges that the project is being built on land with a NorSor 3 Kor No. 1863 land title. The complainants allege that the legal land document would have had to have been presented to obtain building permits and construction to proceed. But they claim that, as the NorSor 3 Kor for that land was under consideration by the Administrative Court, a legal building permit could not be issued.

In August 2017, the Regional Administrative Court ruled that the NorSor 3 Kor No. 1863 land title was invalid. Furthermore it determined that the land was “protected forest land”.

The DSI formally received the complaint documents this morning.

Meanwhile, the developer of The Peaks Residences Condominium, Manassanan Nararattanawee, the CEO of Kata Beach Co Ltd, maintains that the project’s paperwork is all “proper’ and that “everything is under the law”.

“Our company has already suspended construction to wait for the judgment of the Supreme Administrative Court.”

Officials from the Internal Security Operations Command inspected the property in March this year as the owners promised to ‘slow down’ construction. Read that story HERE.

Official complaint filed with the DSI over The Peaks Residences Condominium in Phuket | News by The Thaiger

Official complaint filed with the DSI over The Peaks Residences Condominium in Phuket | News by The Thaiger

PHOTO: Department of Special Investigations

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Environment

Phuket marine vets report on the progress of dugong calf ‘Yamil’

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Phuket marine vets report on the progress of dugong calf ‘Yamil’ | The Thaiger

PHOTO: The Nation

A veterinary team at the Phuket Marine Biological Centre has removed the remaining partially-digested sea grass from the 3 month old dugong calf Yamil’s stomach to prevent complications from possible infection.

The calf still suffers from excess stomach and intestinal gas, abnormal heart rhythms and occasional seizures.

X-ray results showed liquid food is still passing through Yamil’s digestive track, so veterinarians were removing the remaining sea grass from its stomach and would provide the marine mammal with liquid nutrients and minerals, as well as painkillers and antibiotics. Veterinarians say they are keeping a close watch on the young dugong.

The male baby dugong was found washed ashore on Krabi’s Bo Muang Beach on July 1 with abrasions on more than 50% of its body. It is currently in the care of the Phuket Marine Biological Centre until it is old enough and strong enough to be returned to the sea.

SOURCE: The Nation

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Environment

Phuket’s water bosses claim there will be enough water

The Thaiger

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Phuket’s water bosses claim there will be enough water | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Bang Neow Dam in Thalang, just a few muddy ponds

Well into the second half of the Phuket wet season and the three main dams are well below capacity, Bang Wad Dam just over 13% capacity and the Bang Neow Dam in Thalang district around 5%, mostly unusable muddy ponds. The newer Khlong Katha in Chalong is at a much higher level, about 30% of capacity.

But this time of the year the three dams need to be well on their way to full capacity if the island is to get through the high tourists season and dry season without a repeat of last year’s muddle where provincial obfuscation and confusion put the health of thousands of residents at risk by cutting off their water supply and water trucks became more populous than passenger vans.

The lack of water also co-incides with increased development and more tourists arriving each year.

Now the Director of the Phuket Provincial Irrigation Office, Somsawat Chaisinsod, is calling for province administrators and the Phuket Provincial Waterworks Authority to begin water saving campaigns as the annual heavy rains in October may not arrive or be less frequent. The suggestion of water ‘restrictions’ was not mentioned in the meeting.

At a meeting attended by Phuket’s Governor Phakaphong Tavipatana, Mr. Somsawat claimed that the island’s annual rainfall, for the first seven months of 2019, has only been 10% less than average.

But the dams are a LOT more than 10% lower in capacity. In the case of the Bang Neow Dam in Srisoontorn, it’s virtually empty.

A representative from the PWA said that the Authority is currently buying 45,000 cubic metres of water per day from undisclosed “private sources” to top up the island’s potable water needs.

“The PWA is in the process of securing water supply from a new supplier to improve the water supply and reduce the volume of water drawn from the dams.”

Meanwhile Prapan Kanprasang, chief of the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation in Phuket, told The Phuket News he “believes Phuket has enough water to the island through the next dry season, after the annual rains cease early November”.

“We have enough water to use.”

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