Police raid bypass main contractor
PHUKET CITY: A team of Crime Suppression Division officers led by Pol Col Sompop Pongrerk, along with officials from the Phuket Provincial Industrial Office, on Friday afternoon seized rock-crushing equipment belonging to Chiang Rai Harn Charoen Enterprise Co, the main contractor for the bypass road widening project.
The seizures took place following complaints that Harn Charoen had been crushing rock without a license to do so.
Thongchai Wichaidith, Chief of Phuket Provincial Industrial Office (PPIO), told the Gazette that he had given Harn Charoen a choice: if the company admits guilt, the PPIO will send the case to the Department of Primary Industries and Mines in Bangkok, which will impose a fine. If the company does not admit culpability, the PPIO will hand the case to the police for a full investigation.
“The company only has a construction permit from the Highways Office; it doesn’t have a permit to crush rock. We have informed them of their options, but so far have not had a reply. When we raided them we spoke only to a company representative, so we are still waiting for an official response,” K. Thongchai said.
Phuket Highways Department Engineer, Boonyakiat Kongketyai, told the Gazette that Harn Charoen has been working on the bypass road widening scheme since May 2004 and that the job is almost finished.
He added that he was unsure why there was such a hullabaloo now, as he believed a clause allowing the company to crush rock from this area was written into its contract.
“I don’t know whether the company is illegally crushing rock or not, because in the contract it is written that the company has to provide its own facilities.”
He added that he did not believe the police raid would greatly affect construction because the company is obliged to continue with the job regardless, and there are only 200 meters of road still to be paved.
“They have not contacted me yet and work is temporarily halted because of the rain. I think the job will be completed after Songkran,” he said.
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