Connect with us


Next Target: Land-snatching Phuket officials

Legacy Phuket Gazette



PHUKET: National level politicians involved in commandeering more than 1,000 rai of public land in Phuket will face fire as a joint agency operation pushes to shake out the long history of illegal land titles plaguing Sirinath National Park.

“The people at the root of the issue of encroachment in Sirinath Park go all the way up to the top… people who are too powerful for local authorities to bring to their knees,” Sirinath National Park Chief Kitiphat Taraphiban told the Phuket Gazette on Wednesday.

The joint investigation now underway, which has already seen progress in the revocation of 89 illegal land-use documents, is being spearheaded by the Departments of Special Investigations with the help of the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP), the Public-sector Anti Corruption Commission and the National Anti-Corruption Commission.

“We have yet to name the top people we suspect are responsible for stealing public land, as our case against them isn’t strong enough yet – we are still collecting evidence,” said Col Prawuth Wongsinil, chief of the DSI’s Consumer and Environment Protection Office.

“At this stage, I’m not sure how long it will take us to press charges against them. It depends on how long it takes local authorities, such as the Land Office, to submit the necessary documents showing the boundaries of each piece of allegedly owned land.”

Col Prawuth emphasized that his investigation would be pushing to charge those at the root of the issue, not necessarily the current property owner.

“We are not going after innocent people, such as those who bought the land from others without realizing that it was national park land,” Col Prawuth said. “However, we believe the original land owners were knowingly involved in stealing the land. They will face legal action.”

The DSI and other national level agencies were called in to push the investigation forward with the strong backing of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), and Commander of the Royal Thai Navy, Narong Pipatanasai, toured the disputed park land by helicopter late last week (story here).

The land titles being revoked are SorKor 1 land-use documents, and three people have been identified as attempting to upgrade the documents into Chanote land title deeds. They were named by Mr Kitiphat as Nakorn Wongsrithong, Chan Pongpa and Anoma Fangsen (story here).

Some 14 other plots are also under investigation, 10 of which are resorts that were targeted by then-DNP Director-General Damrong Phidet (story here) in 2012. The other four were added during a subsequent parliamentary inquiry led by Narit Khamnurak, Chairman of the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Land, Natural Resources and Environment (story here).

At the time, Mr Damrong pointed out that the DNP stopped issuing Chanote titles for land in the Sirinath National Park area in 1964, making any such land title deeds issued at a later date illegal.

Additionally, all SorKor 1 “claim certificates”, which show the shape and size of the relevant plots, but do not give an exact geographical location, were held by only two people, and revoked in 1968.

Mr Kitiphat confirmed to the Gazette that all land-use and land title documents are signed off by Land Office officials.

“The name of the land owners and officials who certified the documents are written on the documents,” he added.

Officers found guilty of abusing their power will be charged with section 157 and 162 of the Criminal Code, Mr Kitiphat said. Section 157 carries a maximum penalty of a 20,000 baht fine, 10 years imprisonment or both. Section 162 carries a maximum penalty of a 14,000 baht fine, seven years imprisonment or both.

“The Sirinath land ownership issue is a complicated one that has existed for a very long time. We will work methodically to take back our national land. Those involved with encroaching will face justice, no matter how big they are,” Col Prawuth said.

“The park belongs to the country. Nobody has the right to own a national treasure.”

— Chutharat Plerin


Want more Thailand news from the Thaiger family?

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS for instant updates on your mobile
📝️ Join the conversation on Thaiger Talk - discuss news & life in our Thailand forums
📧 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🔔 Subscribe to or Join our YouTube channel for daily video updates


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:

World2 hours ago

Thailand News Today | Vaccine deaths investigation, PM heads to Phuket, BMA extends vendor licences | June 18

Thailand2 hours ago

1 million AstraZeneca doses arrive, Anutin says “more” on the way

Drugs2 hours ago

1.2 tonnes of methamphetamine and heroin seized near Malaysian border

Phuket Sandbox July 1st


Thaiger is getting behind local businesses for the restart of tourism in July - up to 50% discounts across all advertising packages in June!

Sponsored by image

Coronavirus (Covid-19)3 hours ago

Pattaya bars plead for government help

Thailand3 hours ago

Colour-coded zoning revised, restrictions to ease nationwide

Transport4 hours ago

Department of Land Transport will reopen, issue licenses

Best of4 hours ago

Top 8 Things to do in Chiang Mai

Tourism4 hours ago

Krabi schedules 82 flights per week from late October

Best of4 hours ago

Top 6 Online Forums in Thailand

Coronavirus (Covid-19)4 hours ago

Friday Covid Update: 3,058 new cases; provincial totals

Thailand4 hours ago

Worker falls off roof in Chon Buri, sustains multiple injuries

Phuket5 hours ago

Talad Kaset market in Phuket reopens

Coronavirus (Covid-19)5 hours ago

PM Prayut tests negative after parliament maid has Covid-19

World6 hours ago

Myanmar: American journalist’s detention extended 2 more weeks

Pollution7 hours ago

Beached sperm whale covered in oil rescued in Phuket

Thailand4 months ago

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

Tourism4 months ago

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

Phuket4 months ago

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

Tourism4 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand4 months ago

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

Tourism4 months ago

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

Thailand5 months ago

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

Thailand5 months ago

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

Thailand5 months ago

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

Thailand5 months ago

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

Thailand5 months ago

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

Thailand5 months ago

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

Thailand5 months ago

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

Thailand5 months ago

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

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Southern floods, Face mask fines, Thai Air Asia woes | January 8