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Phuket landowner denies “ghosting’ land titles

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Phuket landowner denies “ghosting’ land titles | The Thaiger
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PHUKET: Public Sector Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) Secretary-General Col Dusadee Arayawuth encountered an unusual experience during his inspection of four plots in Phuket yesterday.

The named landowner, for two plots along the coastal road north of Patong, denied any knowledge of owning the land under investigation and expressed no intention of even wanting to claim ownership of the plots in question.

The scenario yesterday introduced the possibility of corrupt government officials illegally using one land title in order to create a new title for land elsewhere, without the owner of the original legal plot knowing, so that the second plot could be acquired and sold later.

Col Dusadee explained that his office had discovered a mysterious application for the Phuket Land Office to issue a “new” Sor Kor 1 title for land in Patong to replace an “old and damaged” Sor Kor 1 title.

However, the “old and damaged” Sor Kor 1 title was for more than two rai of land in the Patong Village 1 area, but the application asked for the Sor Kor 1 title to be issued for a plot of the same size on the hill road at the north end of Kalim, in the Patong Village 5 area.

“We also found that the land [at the north end of Kalim] is located in the 180-rai Kuan Hin wildlife preserve, which was created in 1937. By law, no land in this whole area can be owned by anyone for any private or commercial use,” said Col Dusadee.

However, Weerachai Thonghom, 53, denied any knowledge of his family owning the land.

Mr Weerachai presented himself as the representative of Gaew Thonghom, who is the named landowner on the Sor Kor 1 title in question.

“The land that my family owns is located in Patong Village 1, in Soi Khon Yang. I can tell you that it is not in Patong Village 5, Kuan Hin, for sure,” said Mr Weerachai.

Col Dusadee joined Mr Weerachai in inspecting another plot further north along the same coastal road for which the same apparent “ghosting” of land titles had been used.

“The Sor Kor 1 for a four-rai plot of land [elsewhere] was used as the basis for issuing a Sor Kor 1 title for a plot covering 25 rai here at Baan Nakalay,” Col Dusadee explained.

Again, the named landowner was Gaew Thonghom.

Again, Mr Weerachai denied any knowledge of his family ever owning 25 rai at Baan Nakalay.

“I have already asked the Phuket governor to investigate this,” said Col Dusadaee.

“I have also issued a letter requesting that the Kamala OrBorTor [Tambon Administration Organization] check it out,” he added.

Col Dusadee also inspected a nearby plot of 25 rai of seafront land, technically located in the Kamala Hills forest preserve.

“The last time this area was checked was back in 1976, and no one was using the land here for anything at that time. The area is still full of trees today, but now someone has a Nor Sor 3 Gor title for this plot of land,” Col Dusadee explained.

“The Department of Special Investigation [DSI] investigated this area once, but no one did anything about it and the investigation went quiet.

“So now we have come back to check again to see how the Nor Sor 3 Gor was issued since it is not legal. This parcel of land cannot be owned by anyone,” he said.

The fourth plot inspected, near the prestigious Loch Palm golf course, was the subject of an anonymous complaint filed via the PACC corruption hotline 1206, explained Col Dusadee.

The complainant alleged that there had been an attempt to issue a Chanote land title document for the land on the basis of a Nor Sor 3 Gor title issued for the plot.

“I believe the Nor Sor 3 Gor document was not legally issued since the Forest Department has confirmed that this land is in a protected forest area. I will investigate this further,” Col Dusadee explained.

He added that there were many cases of land titles being illegally issued in Phuket and that most of those cases involved government officials.

“The PACC has issued a written warning to all government offices in Phuket to check carefully before issuing any land ownership documents. Any government officials found to be involved in improperly issuing land titles will be investigated by the PACC,” Col Dusadee warned.

“Even though I will no longer be the secretary-general, I believe the PACC will continue investigating such cases,” he added.

The Cabinet on September 4 ordered Col Dusadee to take up the position of deputy permanent secretary at the Ministry of Justice, with effect October 1.

The move has sparked controversy as Col Dusadee had been investigating possible corruption related to public land encroachment in Phuket, evasion of tax on imported luxury cars and disaster relief schemes.

— Kritsada Mueanhawong

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Tourism

Phuket prepares to welcome first Chinese tourists in over 6 months

Maya Taylor

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Phuket prepares to welcome first Chinese tourists in over 6 months | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Jing Daily

The first group of tourists to arrive under Thailand’s new Special Tourist Visa scheme are expected to land in Phuket on October 8. The Bangkok Post reports that a flight from Guangzhou in southern China will carry 120 tourists, who will spend their first 14 days in alternative state quarantine. They are reported to be travelling under the government’s new STV.

Arrivals who do not pass the initial health screening will be transferred to specially chosen hospitals, as “Patients under Investigation”. Those who do pass the screening will be transported to alternative state quarantine once they’ve gone through immigration processing.

A Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration spokesperson says the resort islands of Phuket and Koh Samui will be the first to welcome travellers under the Special Tourist Via scheme. He pointed out that Guangzhou has not recorded any new cases of the Covid-19 virus for a prolonged period, meaning next week’s tourist arrivals are deemed “low risk”. His assertion is confirmed from the official figures at worldometer.info website recording world Covid-19 cases.

The CCSA reports that there will be a limit of 300 foreign tourists admitted each week, but this will be reviewed after the first phase of the re-opening. All arrivals will be subject to 14 day quarantine, although the Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn has suggested reducing this to 7 days eventually. The CCSA says they are not considering reducing the quarantine time at this stage.

Thiravat Hemachudha from the Thai Red Cross Emerging Infectious Disease Health Science Centre is not opposed to the idea.

“We can study this with foreign visitors who will arrive next month. During the 14 day quarantine they will be tested on the first, the seventh and the fourteenth day. If they are free of infections, we can shorten the quarantine to 7 days.”

However, not all are in agreement, with a doctor from Bangkok’s Chulalongkorn University cautioning against any shortening of the quarantine period.

Meanwhile, Phuket governor, Narong Woonsiew, says the province is ready to welcome the new arrivals, with Covid-19 labs in place at Phuket airport, and officials due to carry out a full dress rehearsal today.

Thanit Sermkaew, chief of the Phuket Public Health Office, says over 1,200 rooms at 9 hotels have been chosen as alternative state quarantine properties, with a total of 73 hotels, providing over 5,800 rooms, applying for consideration.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Phuket

Woman arrested for abandoning newborn baby on a bench in Phuket

Caitlin Ashworth

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Woman arrested for abandoning newborn baby on a bench in Phuket | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Siangtai/Newshawk Phuket

Police tracked down and arrested a Burmese woman who allegedly left her newborn baby on a bench in Phuket’s Patong area last week. The mother faces charges of abandoning a baby.

The newborn was left in a reusable shopping bag on a bench behind a Krungthai Bank branch. A woman in the area heard the baby crying and found the newborn in the bag along with a bottle of milk, diapers and clothing. Police reviewed surveillance camera footage shows a woman, police later identified as Ei Ei Phyu, leaving the bag on the bench.

Police say the woman gave birth on September 9 at a local hospital in Surat Thani’s Phun Phin district. Ei Ei allegedly took a van from Surat Thani to Phuket on September 22 and stayed with a friend in Patong. The early the next morning, she allegedly left her baby on the bench before boarding a bus back to Surat Thani.

Burmese workers in the Patong area told police Ei Ei used to work at a local Indian food restaurant before she moved to Surat Thani to work as a rubber tapper. Ei Ei allegedly told police she is not in the position to raise a child.

In earlier reports, police said the baby is healthy and does not appear to have any injuries.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Thailand

Phuket police arrest 6 after finding large amounts of methamphetamine in raid

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Phuket police arrest 6 after finding large amounts of methamphetamine in raid | The Thaiger

Phuket Provincial Police have arrested 6 people after finding large amounts of methamphetamine and other drugs during a raid. One suspect alone allegedly had 7.6 kilograms of crystal meth (ya ice) and over 12,500 methamphetamine pills (ya bah). 29 year old Surasak ‘Bank’ Wijit and 27 year old Panida ‘Mei’ Saeyang were arrested at an apartment car park in Soi Lookkaew, Moo 6, Rassada, in eastern Phuket, after they were found in possession of the drugs.

Police also found 2 mobile phones and a red Honda PCX, registered in Phuket, as evidence. Both suspects have been charged with posessing a Category 1 drug with the intent to sell.

Other suspects arrested at the same time include 36 year old from Chiang Rai, 42 year old Sarawut ‘An’ Srichanon, from Ranong and 31 year old Pornthep ‘Iew’ Thepchampa, who were charged with the same crimes in Chalong after police found more drugs in their possession. 33 year old Kamon ‘Kung’ Sae-ngow, was arrested as well after police found kratom juice and leaves at a house in Rassada. He was taken to Phuket City Police station and was charged with a Category 5 drug possession.

SOURCE:The Phuket News

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