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Parliament joins Phuket national park fray

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Parliament joins Phuket national park fray | The Thaiger

PHUKET: Narit Khamnurak, Chairman of the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Land, Natural Resources and Environment (CNRE), this week led a parliamentary inquiry to follow up the investigation into resorts accused of encroaching on national park land on Phuket’s west coast.

At Sirinath Marine National Park headquarters, Mr Narit together with nine officers on Friday reviewed the investigation reports compiled by Royal Forest Department (RFD) officers who raided the 10 Phuket resorts on August 15 under orders by National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department (DNP) Director-General Damrong Phidet.

After reviewing the progress made, Mr Narit ordered the teams investigating the four “new” cases to be investigated, including the home of French businessman Bernard Gautier, to complete their work as soon as possible.

The original deadline for completing their investigations was September 25, Mr Narit reminded them.

However, Sirinath National Park chief Cheewapap Cheewatham pointed out his officers learned of Mr Gautier’s house only at the end of August and that the two Malaiwana projects and the Istana projects now under investigation were added to their “to be probed” list only last week.

“Hopefully, we will be finished surveying the sites by the end of next week, but we will still have to send our surveys to the DNP to concur our surveys with aerial photographs of the area.

“We all know that will take time, so I don’t know when they will finish,” he said.

Mr Cheewapap added that his office had encountered problems, specifically what he called “communication difficulties” with investigating Mr Gautier’s house.

“The man will not let my officers inspect the area around his house although they have presented him with a search warrant,” said Mr Cheewapap.

Mr Narit, a Democrat Party MP for Phattalung, told park chief Cheewapap, “The investigation teams should have their work completed within a month. After that the DNP teams will start to examine the land ownership documents of all 379 plots along the national park border.”

“I want every National Park chief in Thailand to review their park boundaries and clearly mark them, so that when any developers try to encroach on national park land, it will be obviously noticed and easier for the officers to inspect and take legal action against them,” he added.

DNP Director-General Damrong announced during an inspection visit to Phuket on Wednesday that he will assign hundreds officers to investigate 379 plots suspected of encroaching on more than 3,000 rai of land in Phuket’s Sirinath Marine National Park.

A total of 366 DNP officers, split into teams of six, will investigate suspect plots along the border of the national park.

His officers will be tasked with investigating their assigned plots, coordinating with the Public Sector Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) investigation also currently ongoing in Phuket, filing complaints with police and presenting their cases in court, Mr Damrong said.

“Any land document issued after 1964 will be considered illegal. Landowners will have to fight in court if they want to prove that they legally own the land in question,” warned Mr Damrong.

He added that the officers to be assigned the Phuket blitz will also be used in crackdowns elsewhere in Thailand.

“I will start with Sirinath National Park, which I believe we can start investigating by mid-October. However, I will have to train those officers about investigation procedures and educate them on the relevant aspects of the law,” he said.

Directing his vision to after his impending retirement, Mr Damrong said, “I hope the new DNP Director General will continue my work, otherwise that person will have a lot of explaining to do to the public.”

— Kritsada Mueanhawong



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Phuket

Police searching for the killer after shooting near Saphan Hin

Kritsada Mueanhawong

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Police searching for the killer after shooting near Saphan Hin | The Thaiger

A Thai man has been shot dead near Saphan Hin in eastern Phuket earlier today. The arrest warrant has already been issued for the suspect.

The Wichit Police were notified of the incident on Rattanakosin 200 pi Road near Saphan Hin at 3.40am this morning.

Police and rescue workers arrived to find the body of 30 year old Teerasak Saeong from Phuket covered with blood and laying on the road. Two bullet wounds were found on his right and left temple.

Seven bullets were also found around Mr Teerasak’s body. Nearby they found a motorbike. His body was taken to Vachira Phuket Hospital for full autopsy and identification.

Witnesses told police that Mr Teerasak was stopped on his motorbike and was talking with the suspect who was in a black car. The suspect shot at Mr Teerasak and sped away.

Mr Teerasak was the son of a member of Rassada’s Municipal Council. At this stage police believe that the two had personal conflicts. Police are now searching for the driver of the vehicle who shot Mr Teerasak.

Police searching for the killer after shooting near Saphan Hin | News by The Thaiger Police searching for the killer after shooting near Saphan Hin | News by The Thaiger Police searching for the killer after shooting near Saphan Hin | News by The Thaiger

 

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Phuket

Danish tourist dies in Phuket road accident

Kritsada Mueanhawong

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Danish tourist dies in Phuket road accident | The Thaiger

A male Danish tourist, driving a motorbike, has died after colliding with a truck in front of a market in Kathu.

The Kathu Police were notified of the incident on Phra Phuket Keaw Road in front of the new outdoor Vintage Market in Kathu at 3am yesterday morning.

Police and Kusoldharm rescue workers arrived at the U-turn to find the truck and driver waiting. The driver of the truck was 36 year old Sontaya Suchata waiting in the middle of the U-turn area.

Nearby they found a damaged Honda PCX and 51 year old Claus Pathuel Jensen, a Danish national from Glostrup. He was found unconscious under the truck. He was rushed to Vachira Phuket Hospital but was pronounced dead upon arrival.

Police report that the truck was going to take a U-turn outside the market area. The truck driver says he was unaware that Mr Jensen was coming from behind in the right lane. The motorbike was unable to avoid the collision with the truck and Mr Jensen PCX ploughed into the rear of the vehicle.

Danish tourist dies in Phuket road accident | News by The Thaiger Danish tourist dies in Phuket road accident | News by The Thaiger Danish tourist dies in Phuket road accident | News by The Thaiger Danish tourist dies in Phuket road accident | News by The Thaiger

 

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Phuket

Australian woman deported for overstaying visa by over 100 days

Kritsada Mueanhawong

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Australian woman deported for overstaying visa by over 100 days | The Thaiger

PHOTOS: Facebook/Claire Johnson

An Australian woman, who was caught overstaying her visa by 111 days, will be released from detention and deported by Thai authorities tonight.

She came to the media’s attention on Monday after sending urgent messages to a friend saying that she was being taken to a detention centre and that “they are taking my phone”.

46 year old Claire Amelia Johnson is an Australian Gold Coast resident. She will depart Bangkok on a QANTAS flight scheduled to arrive in Sydney tomorrow (Friday) morning.

She was due to return to Australia more than a week ago but on Monday evening sent messages to her friend Juliet Potter and told her that she was in an immigration detention centre in Bangkok and begged her to please “help me”.

Read The Thaiger story about her desperate pleas HERE.

Ms Johnson had been running a medical tourism business called Cosmetic Holidays International that offered cosmetic packages in Phuket”.

The business was voluntarily deregistered with the Australian Securities Commission in May 2017, after five years of operation, but her social media accounts continued to promote her cosmetic-surgery tourism business.

Thailand’s immigration chief, Surachate Hakparn, told Australia’s Fairfax media that Ms Johnson had been arrested, as well as fined, and would be deported after overstaying her tourist visa by more than 100 days.

“My Immigration Department will send her to Australia. She leaves tonight.”

Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade would say only that it was “providing consular assistance to an Australian woman detained in Thailand”, without naming Claire.

Australian woman deported for overstaying visa by over 100 days | News by The Thaiger

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