Property owners charged for Phi Phi beach encroachment

PHUKET: Two property owners have been charged with encroaching on national park land on the popular party island of Phi Phi following a mass inspection of beach properties there last week.

On September 3, 60 national park officers took to Phi Phi beaches to talk with seaside vendors and inspect buildings suspected of encroaching on national park land (story here).

“Following the inspection, officers filed charges on September 4 against two properties that have encroached on beach land,” said Chaithat Boonphuphantanti, chief of the Hat Noppharat Thara – Mu Ko Phi Phi National Park.

“The first is a hotel construction project owned by Karn Soonthornnon and the second is a vendor’s hut belonging to Aran Ratakarn.”

The two structures encroaching on the park’s beach land are located in Phi Phi’s Lo Dalam Bay. If the property owners are found guilty, they could face up to 10 years in prison for breaking national park and also forestry laws, Mr Chaithat explained.

“Mr Aran and Mr Karn have been charged with illegal possession of national park land, under Section 16 of the National Park Act. If they are found guilty for this offence they each could face up to five years’ imprisonment, or a fine not exceeding 20,000 baht, or both,” Mr Chaithat said.

“They could also be charged with encroaching on forest land under Section 54 of the Forest Act. If found guilty of this crime, they could face another five years in prison, or an additional fine of up to 50,000 baht, or both.”

Both property owners are facing the charges under the National Council for Peace and Order’s campaign to clean up beaches in Phuket and surrounding tourist areas, he confirmed.

“At this time, we have charged only these two people, but we will continue our inspection of other potentially illegal buildings on the island,” Mr Chaithat said.

“We want to make sure Phi Phi’s beaches are cleaned up and ready for this coming high season.”

— Chutharat Plerin

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