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Phuket officials investigate land excavation in Kamala hills

Tara Abhasakun

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Officials investigate suspected illegal excavation in Kamala, photo by PR Phuket.

After news broke on Thai media that a backhoe was seen digging soil and loading it onto trucks in Kamala, a town on the central west coast of Phuket, officials are now investigating what is suspected of being an illegal land excavation. Isra News Agency, the Thai media platform that first reported the incident, published photos on Thursday of what appears to be a construction site on a steep slope in Kamala hills. The site is reportedly near a “famous golf course”.

The next day (May 6), Phuket’s public relations office announced that relevant agencies had inspected the area, and there were 2 investigations. Officials who investigated the site were from the Phuket Provincial Land Office, the Phuket Forest Ministry, the Phuket City Forest Protection and Development Unit, the Kathu District Office, and other relevant agencies.

The team that inspected the site reportedly did not find anyone there, and no construction machinery was there when the team went to investigate. Officers still took photos of the site, which were posted on PR Phuket’s Facebook page. PR Phuket noted that it appears that the area is operated by the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand.

In its reportage of the site, Isra News Agency said that excavating the site might violate many laws, including by encroaching on a protected forest reserve.

“Excavating soil in such steep hill areas without permission from relevant authorities may be in violation of many laws.”

An illegal construction incident happened in Thailand’s south in March when an unnamed party was allegedly building a road on a historic mountain in Songkhla province. The mountain is Khao Daeng. It has historic archeological structures. Civic groups that gathered at the local fine arts office to support authorities told the Bangkok Post many trees were cut down, and soil had been dug out.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

 

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    A Thai-American dual citizen, Tara has reported news and spoken on a number of human rights and cultural news issues in Thailand. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in history from The College of Wooster. She interned at Southeast Asia Globe, and has written for a number of outlets. Tara reports on a range of Thailand news issues.

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