PHUKET: The Director-General of the Land Department, Banyat Jantasena, has ordered two senior Land Office officials in Phuket to be transferred to other provinces. Phuket Governor CEO Pongpayome Vasaputi told the Gazette today that the orders have already been signed for the transfers of the Chief of the Phuket Provincial Land Office (PPLO), Boonsong Namnapol, and the Chief of the Kathu District Land Office, Boonchu Limraksasil. A source told the Gazette that K. Boonsong would move to Ratchaburi province and K. Boonchu to Ubon Ratchathani, but this information could not be immediately confirmed. The transfer of 58-year-old K. Boonsong came as a surprise, since he moved to Phuket only two months ago. “Perhaps the Director-General of the Land Department thought that it would unfair for him to be burdened with the headaches of the current land problem in Phuket, and wants someone younger who might be more active,” Gov Pongpayome speculated. “As for K. Boonchu, he has been working at the Kathu District Land Office for a long time [almost five years on and off]. So perhaps he is too close to these old problems and needs to be transferred so that really thorough checks can be made into the problems,” the Governor said. “I know that the Director-General of the Land Department has ordered the transfers, but I don’t know to which provinces,” he added. K. Boonchu could not be reached for comment, but K. Boonsong confirmed that although he had yet to receive official notification, he had received many calls from friends asking him about his transfer. “I don’t know why I’m being moved,” he told the Gazette, “but I’m not against it – if the Director-General wants to move me he has the authority to do so. It’s perfectly normal in government service to be transferred from one place to another.” This is just the latest in a rash of moves for K. Boonsong who, in the past five years, has worked as Land Office Chief in Chumphon, Srisaket, Phang Nga and Uthai Thani provinces. He had been in Phuket for just a week when his deputy, Pongtorn Hiranyaburana, was assassinated, sparking the current high-level investigation into land title abuses in Phuket. K. Boonsong added, “To be honest, I’m happy to move. Phuket has land problems that will take a great deal of hard work to correct and I was not looking forward to it. These are problems I had nothing to do with, but which I would be expected to fix.”
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