Senator calls for Laguna buildings to be demolished

PHUKET: A new land row is brewing at Laguna after the head of the national Land Inspection Working Group called for a toilet to be demolished, claiming it is built on state land.

Speaking after a meeting of 14 local officials, Senator Pricha Pitanon backed local land officers’ claims that the toilet, plus another building covering just four square metres, stand on land that does not belong to Laguna Resorts & Hotels (LRH).

In January this year, the Phuket Provincial Land Office (PPLO) and the provincial version of the Committee to Solve Problems of Encroachment on State Land (KorBorRor) told the Gazette they were confident that the 13 plots of land on which the Laguna complex is built are all covered by legitimate land titles.

But these two small buildings are away from the complex, on land close to the beach, which staff from the Provincial Land Office say they have determined is owned by the state.

Senator Pricha said Cherng Talay Tambon Administration Organization (OrBorTor) had already issued a notice ordering LRH to demolish the buildings.

The OrBorTor had asked the senator for the meeting, which took place at the office of Governor Udomsak Usawarangkura and was attended by Vice-Governor Winai Buapradit, PPLO Chief Suphot Suwannachote, lawyers and officers of Cherng Talay OrBorTor.

Sen Pricha, who appears to specialize in “problems” with Laguna land, said the meeting had agreed that the Land Office and the OrBorTor were right in concluding that the two buildings were on state land. He added that the OrBorTor should, if necessary, use the “force of law” to compel LRH to remove them.

He conceded that the original order from the OrBorTor, “did not specify which buildings were to be demolished and did not specify which area is state land.” But, he said, “At this meeting, I recommended that the OrBorTor issue a new order and compel the company to operate according to the law.”

However, Niyom Tassaneetipagorn, Assistant Vice President of LRH, told the Gazette the company had not received any order from the OrBorTor, and that he was confident that none of the buldings in the complex violate state land.

“We are serious about complying with the law,” he said.

Phuket News

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