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Ombudsman’s Office investigates Phuket sea gypsies’ land issue

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Ombudsman’s Office investigates Phuket sea gypsies’ land issue | The Thaiger

PHUKET: Investigators from the Office of the Ombudsman were on the island last week to study a complaint by the sea gypsy community in Rawai, who fear eviction from the land they have called home for decades after a title deed for the land was issued to a private party.

The investigators, led by Investigation Bureau 3 Director Tavin Inchamnong, briefed local officials of their findings at Phuket Provincial Hall on Thursday.

“The sea gypsies living in Rawai claim to have lived there for a long time, but now they are being driven away by people who claim they are the legal owners of the land. They have therefore requested verification of the land papers as well as an investigation into how they were issued,” said Mr Tavin.

During an inspection of the disputed area on July 4, investigators also heard complaints from the sea gypsies about problems with provision of public utility services, he added.

The community in 2010 protested when a nearby development caused their water well to dry up; they were also among the many groups that protested to PM Yingluck Shinawatra during her “mobile Cabinet meeting” to Phuket in March.

“The purpose of today’s meeting is to provide officials from relevant departments with the opportunity to respond to complaints filed by the sea gypsy community. Their input will be weighed when we consider how to proceed with the complaint and explore possible solutions,” he said.

The team is also investing another complaint by residents of Koh Racha Yai, who want to know why their request for a deed for land on the island was denied when similar requests by outside investors were granted.

“Residents of Koh Racha Yai claim that they contacted the Provincial Land Office, but the officer refused to issue the [land ownership] document, citing Section 43 of Ministerial Regulations issued in 2001. When they learned that documents for the same land had been issued to a group of investors, they filed a complaint with our office,” he said.

One of the complainants, Yuthana Jundee, said: “It isn’t fair. The officer told us they could not issue a land ownership document to us, but then issued a document for the same land to outside investors. We know this because recently the land office recently sent us a letter inviting us to come and identify the boundaries of our land border because they were preparing to issue a land ownership document to an investor.

“If they couldn’t issue a document to us, how could they could issue one to the investors? We want to know what happened,” said Mr Yuthana.

“We have discovered that a land officer has already issued ownership documents to many investors and that 10 more investors are currently waiting for the office to issue documents,” said Mr Thavin.

“My team and I will work with the other organizations involved in this matter and investigate the case thoroughly,” he said.

However, bad weather late last week prevented the group from making a planned visit to the island, located about 20 kilometers due south of the Phuket mainland.

The Ombudsman’s office visit is just the latest in a long series by Bangkok-based graft-busters to Phuket. Active probes are also underway by the Justice Ministry’s Public Sector Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) and its private sector counterpart the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC). The Ombudsman’s Office, established in 2009, has no sanctioning power and can only refer its findings to the Courts or other government offices.

Although the investigations inevitably focus on dealings at the Phuket land Office, the chief of that agency said in March that he welcomed the investigations as a deterrent against future abuses.

— Kritsada Meuanhawong

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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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Hua Hin

Southern Thailand braces for rough weather and rain

May Taylor

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Southern Thailand braces for rough weather and rain | The Thaiger

The Thailand Meteorological Department issued a weather warning for southern Thailand with torrential rain forecast to hit the region throughout the weekend. The heavy monsoon over the Gulf of Thailand and south of the country is being blamed for the rough weather, with the TMD predicting flash flooding in many areas.

(Phuket, Hat Yai and Hua Hin’s forecast below)

“Waves are expected to reach 2 metres in height in the lower Gulf of Thailand and possibly higher at the height of the storm. Ships are advised to proceed with caution.”

For the north and northeast of Thailand, the TMD forecasts strong winds and cooler mornings as the arrival of the “winter” season, coupled with a moderate high-pressure system, causes temperatures to dip.

Hua Hin’s five day forecast

Southern Thailand braces for rough weather and rain | News by The Thaiger

Phuket’s five day forecast

Southern Thailand braces for rough weather and rain | News by The Thaiger

Hat Yai’s five day forecast

Southern Thailand braces for rough weather and rain | News by The Thaiger

SOURCE: The Nation | weather.com

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Crime

Now you see him, now you don’t… Patong Police hunt foreigner over $30k theft

Greeley Pulitzer

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Now you see him, now you don’t… Patong Police hunt foreigner over $30k theft | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Patong Police

Patong Police have yet to develop any tangible leads tracking down a foreigner who made off with US$30,000 in cash from a currency exchange booth in Kalim, north of Patong in Phuket, last Tuesday.

The man is about 168 centimetres tall with grey hair and around 60 years old, Patong police told The Phuket News.

“We have no clue what nationality he is.”

He was last seen at the currency exchange booth wearing a purple polo shirt, blue jeans and black cap. Police have checked hotels in the area, police stations across the island and Phuket Immigration, but have yet to join the dots and come up with firm leads.

“Investigators have checked CCTV in the area and collected what evidence we have but we still do not know the man’s name or where he was staying.”

The man had visited the booth several times before Tuesday, when he disappeared with the $30,000 in US banknotes, according to police.

“It was always small amounts”, he added, noting that the amounts didn’t warrant staff at the exchange booth to check the man’s passport before making the exchange.

The man arrived at the booth again at about 1pm on Tuesday, saying that he had 900,000 baht cash to exchange.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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Crime

Mystery surrounds security guard found dead in his Phuket room

The Thaiger

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Mystery surrounds security guard found dead in his Phuket room | The Thaiger

PHOTOS: Phuket Hot News

The security guard of a hotel in Nai Yang, northern Phuket, 52 year old Yingyot Butsabong, from Maha Sarakham province, was found dead yesterday (October 16) in his room. Police remain mystified how the man came to grief.

A woman named Supattra received a call from the hotel he worked at and was informed that he didn’t show up at work yesterday, so she went to his apartment to check on him.

She saw that his room was locked from the inside, so used the key she had in her possession to open the room and found Yingyot laying on the floor, face down. She thought he was just sleeping so she tried to wake him up but once she flipped him, she found that he already passed away.

She immediately called Saku police, and once on the scene, police found that there was some blood on the floor. The man had a 2 centimetre wound on his left eyebrow which was deep into his skull. There was also a wound on his chin about 1 centimetre long and about a centimetre deep. His left eye had a bruise which looked like he was attacked by a hard object.

Police report that he had been dead for around four hours in the room.

The room was not ransacked and there was no sign of fighting or theft. His body has been sent to Thalang Hospital for a detailed autopsy and to look into the cause of death.

SOURCE: Phuket Hot News

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