Sea gypsies break down over letter ‘misunderstanding’

PHUKET: Rawai sea gypsies were left distraught yesterday afternoon, after the Region 4 Army deputy commander Kunnawut Morkaew left Phuket Provincial Hall without accepting a letter they had prepared for him.

“We have been waiting to submit the letter all day. We don’t understand why the general left without accepting it,” a member of the group said.

A meeting between officials, sea gypsies, human right activists and Baron World Trade Co Ltd the same day ended without a decision on any viable solutions to the ongoing land dispute.

“Nothing has been decided so far. The issues still need to be processed through the court,” said Maj Gen Kunnawut after the meeting.

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The land conflict between Rawai sea gypsies and Baron World Trade Co Ltd has led to a number of confrontations between the two groups in the last few months (story here and here).

Officials tried to explain that the whole thing was a misunderstanding, but were unable to persuade them that was indeed the case.

“We are just powerless locals asking for our rights. The army is our only hope for justice,” a member said.

— Kongleaphy Keam

Phuket News
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