Connect with us


Phuket expat Frenchman stands to lose B100mn home in national park land raid



PHUKET: A French businessman will have to suffer his 100-million-baht luxury villa in Phuket being demolished if the land it is on is ruled to be encroaching on national park land.

The new chief of Sirinath National Park, Cheewapap Cheewatham, filed a complaint with police after a surprise raid on the property on Sunday.

The raid was led by Sermyos Somman, director of the Chiang Mai office of the Royal Forest Department. Mr Sermyos explained that he first noticed the luxury villa when he came to Phuket to inspect land documents related to the investigation of Trisara resort.

Suspecting that the home, sitting atop a small hill, may be encroaching on the neighboring national park, Mr Sermyos lead a small team of officers to the house and asked the Thai staff present for permission to search the premises.

The officers found that the large, two-storey house, complete with its own swimming pool and tennis court, offers a panoramic view of the ocean from its seven rai of land.

“The Thai staff informed me that the house belongs to a French businessman. He is currently away on a business trip to Hong Kong,” said Mr Sermyos.

“As we were unable to ask the owner to provide the land title for the property, we asked the Land Office instead, who informed us that the current registered owner is a Mr Bernard Gautier,” explained Mr Sermyos.

“He bought the property for 100 million baht. However, as Mr Bernard is not the original builder of the house, which violates zoning laws by being on park land, Mr Bernard is not liable for prosecution,” he said.

“However, his home may be pulled down if the court rules that the house was built illegally [on state land],” Mr Sermyos warned.

“The original application to build the luxury estate was submitted in 1984, but Sirinath was established as a national park in 1981, three years before the application was granted. If this land is found to be on national park land, we will demolish the building,” he added.

Soonthorn Watcharakuldilok, adviser to the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP) director-general, told the Phuket Gazette that the DNP had so far filed complaints to Tah Chat Chai Police against the owners of three of the resorts raided on August 15.

The most recent complaint, received by Lt Col Rassada Kluemwong, was filed Monday by Mr Cheewapap accompanied by National Park Division Director Itthisak Thaeothiang.

The complaint was lodged against the owner of a billion-baht resort built on nine rai of land, he explained.

It was not reported, however, exactly how much of that nine rai is believed to be encroaching on park land.

“So far, we have filed complaints against the owners of four properties [including Mr Gautier]. We will investigate later which government officials issued the land title documents for these properties. Once we know, we will file police reports against everyone involved in this,” said Mr Cheewapap.

“We are still investigating the seven other plots of land [raided on August 15], but we need to be very careful.

“The current owners of the land have presented documents to us that they claim to be legally issued by the Land Office. Even though they have the documents to prove ownership, I will have to check and confirm that those documents are all valid,” Mr Cheewapap said.

— Kritsada Mueanhawong


Get more from The Thaiger

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:

Thailand7 hours ago

Thailand News Today | Thai actress arrested for promoting a ponzi scheme

Thailand7 hours ago

Giant monitor lizard climbs up power pole to escape pack of dogs in central Thailand

World7 hours ago

“Drink more booze” Japan urges youth with new contest

Bangkok8 hours ago

CCSA leaves entertainment venues in limbo over 4am closing

Travel8 hours ago

Fun things to do indoors on a rainy day in Thailand (2022)

Bangkok8 hours ago

Tourists by locals in Bangkok: mad, bad, and dangerous to know

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Chon Buri8 hours ago

‘Dead body’ on Thailand beach turns out to be sex doll

Central Thailand9 hours ago

Shooting after comedy show in central Thailand, 1 seriously injured

Thailand9 hours ago

UPDATE: Woman who allegedly abused a soldier is a police officer

Kanchanaburi9 hours ago

Police shoot and kill major drug trafficker in Kanchanaburi

Tourism10 hours ago

Thailand’s CCSA talk tourist stats, visas on arrival & home isolation

Thailand10 hours ago

RTN’s ocean conservation activity accused of spoiling ecosystem

Chon Buri10 hours ago

Ferocious cobra bites rescuer’s girlfriend in Chon Buri

Thailand11 hours ago

Angry tourists demand refunds from tour operators in Thailand

Thailand12 hours ago

Motorbike taxi driver saves teenager from suicide in eastern Thailand

Thailand11 months ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand1 year ago

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

Tourism1 year ago

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

Phuket1 year ago

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

Tourism1 year ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand1 year ago

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

Tourism1 year ago

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

Thailand2 years ago

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

Thailand2 years ago

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

Thailand2 years ago

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

Thailand2 years ago

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

Thailand2 years ago

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

Thailand2 years ago

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

Thailand2 years ago

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

Thailand2 years ago

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