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Suspects yet to be charged for billion-baht illegal beach rental scheme

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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PHUKET: The public prosecutor has yet to press formal charges against the Kata-Karon mayor or any of the other suspects allegedly involved in the island’s billion-baht illegal beach rental scheme.

At least 15 people, including Kata-Karon Mayor Tawee Thongcham, were accused at a press conference in September last year of illegally issuing permits for local beach vendors to use public beach land (story here).

However, Pisitpol Phumsawat, Phuket’s chief public prosecutor, confirmed to the Phuket Gazette this week that his investigation team was still reviewing evidence presented to his office by the Region 8 Police.

“I have dedicated a special team to investigate the claims made by police. We are working carefully on the investigation to ensure that we are fair to all parties involved,” said Mr Pisitpol.

“We also have to take into account that the defendants have appealed for a ‘fair investigation’.”

Mr Pisitpol declined to reveal any specific details about the case, or exactly how the ‘fair investigation’ appeal affected his team’s work.

No deadline has been set for the Public Prosecutor’s Office to decide whether or not it will take the case to court.

Meanwhile, Region 8 Police Deputy Commander Paween Pongsirin insists that his investigation team carried out a fair investigation and provided enough evidence for the case to move forward.

“I have no idea what is taking so long for the formal charges to be pressed. We gave the public prosecutor more than enough evidence last year,” Maj Gen Paween said.

“It is now in their hands, so we cannot interfere. However, I hope to see the suspects charged for their crimes. Phuket residents know full well the extent of the beach occupation issues, and who was behind the businesses.”

Mr Tawee, who remains the mayor of Kata-Karon, declined to comment to the Gazette about his ongoing case.

The public prosecutor has also yet to charge Prab Keesin or Pattawee Keesin, both sons of former Patong Mayor Pian Keesin, for operating a mafia organization, as indicated by the Region 8 Police investigation.

Mr Pisitpol gave the Gazette the same explanation for the delay in the mafia charges as he did for the delay in charging those allegedly involved in the billion-baht beach scheme (story here).

Also like the beach-rental scheme case, a deadline has not been set for deciding whether or not the Keesin clan’s case will go to court.

— Chutharat Plerin

 

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

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