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Thai parks chief turns to junta to reclaim Phuket national park

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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PHUKET: Thailand’s national parks chief has appealed to the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) to take over investigations into encroachment of Sirinath National Park to expedite the return of 360 illegally seized plots of park land.

“This process has taken far too long already. We want the NCPO to take over so we can finally return the land to the park,” Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP) Chief Samak Donnapee told a meeting with relevant officers yesterday.

Reports from land encroachment investigations led by former park chief Cheewapap Cheewatham and current chief Kitiphat Taraphiban were compiled and sent to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MNRE) headquarters in Bangkok, explained Chief Samak.

“Last week, we compiled all of our information and sent it to MNRE Permanent Secretary Choat Trachoo so that he could present it to the NCPO,” he said.

Mr Choat confirmed to the Phuket Gazette yesterday that he had received the reports and had passed them on to the NCPO.

“The park land encroached on is clearly mapped out for us in the reports we received last week. At this stage, the information is under consideration by the NCPO,” he said.

The next item on Chief Samak’s encroachment to-do list is to follow up on illegally held land near Freedom Beach on the headland to the south of Patong, he said.

Last month, Phuket officials found four illegal shacks built in a protected forest near Freedom Beach (story here). Illegal drugs and guns were found in the shacks, but no people.

“A big clean up of encroached land will happen in Phuket soon,” Chief Samak warned.

— Woranut Pechdee

 

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