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Men charged for B12mn land grab near Phuket’s Freedom Beach



PHUKET: A Phuket man was slapped with a second land encroachment charge yesterday for the same multi-million baht plot of land in a protected forest near Freedom Beach.

Parin Ruangrattanawanit, who owns “about three rai” of the land along the border of Patong and Karon, explained to Royal Forest Department (RFD), Navy and local officials that he was in the process of having the Land Department formally survey the property and upgrade his land-usage document from a SorKor 1 to a Chanote land title deed.

“We went to inspect the area. In the house on the property, we found Jettawat Onchulee,” said Cheewapap Cheewatham, the former Sirinath National Park chief who now serves as director of the RFD’s Forest Protection and Fire Control Division.

Mr Jettawat told officers that he did not own the place, but was looking after it for a relative. Nonetheless, Mr Jettawat was charged with illegally encroaching on protected forest land.

Mr Parin, who was called to the site by Mr Jettawat, arrived with his SorKor 1.

“About two years ago, I bought the land from Muanjai Chuachud, my grandfather’s friend, for 12 million baht,” Mr Parin explained to officials. “I was verbally told by Mr Muanjai where the border of the property was. Based on his description, I built the house, garage and fence.”

Mr Parin is already facing charges by the RFD for encroaching. That case is now being heard in court.

In April this year, Mr Parin explained that he had contacted the Land Department.

“On April 24, I asked the Land Department to survey the property and have a Chanote issued, so I could tell exactly where my property lines are,” Mr Parin said.

“I’m willing to pull down any structures that I have built that are not on my land. I don’t want to encroach on protected forest, I just don’t really know where my land starts and ends.”

Despite already facing charges over this specific section of land, Mr Parin will face a second round of charges, this time for clearing protected forest beyond the area already being contested in court, confirmed Mr Cheewapap.

“Mr Parin and Mr Jettawat have been charged with encroaching on protected forest. They claim that they have no idea where the property boundary is, but they have continued to expand their land beyond even where the wire fence is,” Mr Cheewapap said.

— Kritsada Mueanhawong


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