Special panel to probe Chalong explosions

PHUKET CITY: Phuket Governor Niran Kanlayanamit has appointed a special committee to investigate the November 28 bombing of three new homes on disputed land in Chalong.

During a meeting of the Phuket Provincial Security Council, Gov Niran said he would like to see the police track down and arrest the people responsible for the blasts as soon as possible.

The three improvised explosive devices, described as “fertilizer bombs”, detonated about 2:30 am on Soi Songkun in Chalong, about one kilometer off Chao Fa East Rd. Two Burmese workmen were injured in the blasts, which police believe were motivated by a land dispute.

“I went to the three houses the day after the explosion and talked with villagers there. There were already numerous problems there before explosions, including arson and attempted murder. There are already 21 court cases related to land disputes in the area,” Gov Niran told the committee.

Fearing that the explosions could be the start of a new trend if the perpetrators were not brought to justice quickly, Gov Niran named to the panel such provincial heavyweights as the Phuket Provincial Chief Administrative Officer (Palad), Provincial Police, the Muang District Chief, the head of the Chalong Tambon Administration Organization, along with representatives from the Provincial Land Office and Natural Resources and Environment Office.

“If explosions like this can happen once, they could be followed by a second or third round of bombings. This is bad for Phuket, especially during the high season,” he said.

Phuket Provincial Police Commander Pol Maj Gen Decha Budnampeth told Gov Niran that he expects the people behind the blasts to be arrested “soon”, but added that investigators are still collecting forensic evidence.

However, Gen Decha lashed out at local authorities, blaming them for many land disputes resulting in violence.

Such violent disputes often stem from negligence on the part of local authorities, who often fail to adequately check the backgrounds and land titles of people who contact them seeking a temporary house number, electrical supply and other utilities, he told Gov Niran.

“Why do the police have to patrol public land to prevent trespass and encroachment when this is the responsibility of local administrative bodies?” he asked.

“It’s very difficult to evict people once homes have been built or [public] land has been sold and resold many times over. So many protracted court cases involving land disputes could be avoided if the local authorities did their jobs properly,” he said.

Phuket News

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