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D S I Launches Fresh Attack On Illegally Issued Phuket Land Title Deeds

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DSI launches fresh attack on illegally issued Phuket land title deeds
Phuket Gazette


phuketnews_The_DSI_is_now_assisting_with
The DSI is now assisting with investigations initiated by former DNP Director-General Damrong (center) into illegal land titles in Phuket. Photo: Gazette file

PHUKET: -- The Department of Special Investigation (DSI) stepped in last week to expedite the ongoing investigation of illegal land encroachment in Sirinart National Park.

Acting on a complaint from The Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP), whose own investigation seemed to ground to a halt last year when an expected 366 investigators from Bangkok failed to arrive, the DSI has taken the reigns.

“I believe DSI will make the work flow faster because they have more authority to check for the details and documents than DNP has and they can take direct action against illegal activity because they are more independent,” Sirinat Marine National Park chief Cheewapap Cheewatham told the Phuket Gazette.

Where appropriate, the DSI will be using the newly revised Anti-Money Laundering Law to prosecute cases, explained Prawuth Wongsinil, chief of the DSI Consumer and Environment Protection Office.

“The new law will be used to press charges of selling, changing or transferring protected natural resources, environment or any country property,” Lt Col Prawuth said.

The law requires certain businesses, such as gold dealers, car rental agencies, antique dealers and, critically, land brokers, to file detailed reports with the Ministry of Finance every time they make a transaction above a set baht amount, to be determined by the ministry.

Penalties for breaking the law are one to 10 years in prison, fines ranging from 20,000 to 200,000 baht, or both.

“Suspicious land title deeds have been issued for 3,000 rai of the 60,000 rai national park. These land title deeds were then sold to groups of foreign investors to build 14 hotels and resorts,” Lt Col Prawuth told the Gazette.

“We have also found investors queued up to apply for suspicious land title deeds for about 360 plots of land in the national park,” he added.

The DNP stopped issuing Chanote titles for land in the park area after 1964, and any land that has a Chanote issued after 1964 is to be considered illegally owned, explained the former head of the DNP, Damrong Phidet, in August.

“Our investigation process will be strong and fair,” Lt Col Prawuth said. “We will investigate those who are really involved in the process of issuing illegal land documents. Some of these land documents have passed through many hands. Investors who just bought the land might not know the background of the land titles, so we cannot press charges against them – we have to be fair to them,” he said.

“We are examining the details of the park land and the resorts and hotels that were suspected of encroaching on the park. After that we will send the information to the Anti-Money Laundering Office (AMLO) to check if there are any money laundering charges that can be levied,” he said.

To help investors determine whether or not land they are considering purchasing may be legally sold, the DNP has developed a program called “DSI Map”, which provides an IT database with satellite images and aerial photographs of Thailand, explained Lt Col Prawuth.

“The program shows the national park and national protected forest borders,” he said.

“The program is only in Thai, but we hope to have an English version available soon,” he added.

The current interactive map can be found at www.dsi-map.go.th.

Source: http://www.phuketgazette.net/phuket_news/2013/DSI-launches-fresh-attack-on-illegally-issued-Phuket-land-title-deeds-20367.html

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-- Phuket Gazette 2013-03-01

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Good to see they plan to go after the original perpetrators rather than just the end buyers. I guess Tarit found out no one from the ruling party was involved but not sure if he can link AV & Suthep to this one, the latter maybe.

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Looks like he missed out on the tea money.

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I wonder just how far up the chain they will go before they hit the brick wall of someone so "important" that they have to drop the investigation?

"Oh, sorry sir, didn't realise it was you. wai2.gif Please carry on. wai2.gif We'll go look somewhere else. wai2.gifwai2.gifwai2.gif "

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Nine owners charged with encroaching Phuket park
Nattha Thepbamrung

1362127245_1.jpg

Manopat Huamuangkaew, Damrong “the Demolisher” Pidech’s successor as head of the DNP (black suit), enjoys a day on the beach at Nai Yang.

PHUKET: -- The current owners of nine parcels of land along the northwest coast of Phuket have been charged by police with encroachment into Sirinart Marine National Park, a meeting at the park’s headquarters at Nai Yang Beach heard yesterday (February 28).

The nine are:

Phuket Acadia Naithon Beach, prosecuted after a NorSor 3 Kor paper was found to have been issued illegally and was revoked. One Chanote paper was also found to have been issued illegally. Seven more land deeds are still under investigation.

Phuket Peninsula Co, (owners of the never-opened and recently fire-damaged Peninsula Resort & Spa on Nai Yang Beach), charged with encroachment after the underlying two NorSor 3 Kor papers were found to have been issued illegally.

La Colline Co, owners of La Colline housing development, prosecuted for encroachment after it was found that the company’s project was being built on an illegally issued NorSor 3 Kor paper. The company was also charged by Cherng Talay Police with encroaching on a further nine rai of the park, which it had cleared for worker accommodation and equipment storage.

Three Dolphins Co (Trisara resort). Seven Chanote deeds and one NorSor 3 Kor found to have been issued illegally. Company charged with encroachment by Cherng Talay police. This case has also been forwarded to the National Anti-Corruption Commission.

Suree Samrit Co and Malaiwana Beach Club Co. Four Chanote papers found to be illegally based on the same SorKor 1 paper. Charged with encroachment.

Landstate Co, charged with encroachment after four Chanote papers covering a total of 99 rai were found to have been issued illegally.

Member Co charged with encroachment after a NorSor 3 Kor paper covering two rai, bought from Phuket Peninsula Co, was found to have been issued illegally.

Andaman White Beach Co, charged with encroachment after 10 Chanote papers covering 96 rai were found to have been issued illegally.

Phuket Central and City Development Co, developers of West Sands and Splash Jungle, prosecuted for encroaching on 2 rai of Sirinart Park with no papers at all. Another prosecution over an illegally-issued Chanote is expected soon.

Prosecutions have yet to be brought in the other two cases pinpointed by Mr Damrong’s investigators, But the DNP has not yet given up hope of bringing these, too, to court. These involve Layan Phuket Co (Layan Beach Resort) and Pavilion Beach Resort Co.

Prosecutions will also be brought against Land Office officials and other government officials involved in issuing the illegal land papers. These people are currently under investigation, park chief, Cheewapap Cheewatham told The Phuket News today.

The meeting was chaired by Manopat Huamuangkaew, Damrong “the Demolisher” Pidech’s successor as Director of the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP).

In the meeting, Mr Manopat listened as Mr Cheewapap and Sunthorn Watcharadilokkul, adviser to the DNP, laid out progress and information about the 11 land plots – totalling about 600 rai – that were targeted during Mr Damrong’s time.

The next stage in the investigation will concentrate on seven land plots totalling around 400 rai at the Istana and Malaiwana property developments.

After this, another 1,000 rai, about which details are still vague, will be investigated.

“In this third stage, we expect to investigate around 1,000 rai, in cooperation with the DSI [Department of Special Investigation],” said Mr Cheewapap.

“This involves land located above Nai Thorn beach, above Layan Beach and near the Imperial Adamas Resort [at Nai Yang Beach].

“If the DSI works with us, I think we will find all the reportedly encroached lands in the Sirinart Park, which we think totals about 3,000 rai,” he added.

“The DSI has special powers to demand immediate access to important documents such as SorKor 1 from the Land Office.

Mr Manopat noted that cooperation with the DSI would make the investigation easier; when the DNP asks the Land Office for papers, the requests are always rejected, on the grounds that releasing land papers to the DNP would affect to the rights and business interests of the land papers’ owners.

“Also, the DSI has specialists in aerial photo interpretation, and law. If we work together the third stage can be done quickly and effectively,” Mr Cheewapap said.

“During the second stage, the DSI will probably help us. However, we are still waiting for aerial photo interpretation.”

The 366 investigation teams that were launched by Mr Damrong were officially terminated yesterday. Instead, investigation and suppression in Phuket will be carried out by officials from the South of Thailand, rather than the entire country.

“We think the 366 teams might be too expensive,” Mr Manopat said, “and the three offices in the South – Region 4 at Surat Thani, Region 5 at Nakorn Si Thammarat and Region 6 at Songkhla have thousands of officers, which will be enough to work on the Phuket investigations.

“The DNP has initially approved a budget of B4 million for these officers’ work on the Sirinart Park investigation.”

After the meeting, the team went to inspect an 82-rai parcel of beachfront land at Nai Yang which is situated inside the Khao Ruag-Khao Muang forest reserve.

This 82-rai parcel will be part of the the third stage of the land probe. The DNP has so far been unable to identify the owner by name.

“We are up against powerful people, politicians and officials who support land cheating,” Mr Manopat said. “The money involved in all this cheating is not many millions – it’s many billions of baht.

“But I am not afraid. We have to protect the forest for future generations,” he said.

Source: http://www.thephuketnews.com/nine-owners-charged-with-encroaching-phuket-park-37423.php

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-- Phuket News 2013-03-01

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Great stuff! thumbsup.gif

Keep it up, Demolisher Mk. 2! wai2.gif

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What is going to happen to the people in the land office who issued the paperwork in the first place?

That would be a good starting point.

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Phuket... where there are more land deeds than physical parcels of land.

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What is going to happen to the people in the land office who issued the paperwork in the first place?

That would be a good starting point.

I seem to recall there is one Phuket land officer who has been on the run for a long time over some other shady deal. Anyway, yes they should go back to the original people involved in changing the land titles to chanote & they should also go after those who paid off the land officials at the time.

I should post the animated gif flogging a dead horse because over all the years no one of real importance has ever been jailed for any substantial length of time & until this happens, along with confiscation of money & assets, it will never change. Perhaps the Chinese method should be tried where they march them out the back & put a bullet through their head.

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What about all those that invested their monies into the land and have made a big return, will they take the returns back as well as the land?

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Finally, a meaningful step towards ending one small aspect of corruption. Now, if only those individuals who were actually responsible for this are actually prosecuted, then there will be real progress. This means not just the land 'owners' but also the land office "officials" who allowed it to happen. This is very important for increasing confidence in Thai real estate markets.

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DSI, AMLO join Phuket park probe

  • phuketnews_Photo_Kritsada_Mueanhawong_20
Lt Col Prawuth and his office
PHUKET: Thailand’s Department of Special Investigation (DSI) and Anti-Money Laundering Office (AMLO) have been called in to assist in the investigation into corrupt officials illegally issuing land titles for plots in Phuket's Sirinath National Parkspacer.gif

Lt Col Prawuth Wongsinil, chief of the DSI’s Consumer and Environment Protection Office, joined AMLO’s Charnchai Pongpassorn to announce the joint effort on Thursday.

AMLO will pursue civil cases and investigations of corrupt officials, while the DSI will pursue criminal cases,” he added.

“According to the newly revised anti-money laundering regulations regarding natural resources that became effective on February 2, we will investigate the origin of land ownership documents,” Mr Charnchai explained.

He added that the focus of the investigations will be managed in order to minimize the potential impact on the tourism sector. “It must not affect tourism because that might affect our economy,” Mr Charnchai said.

Sirinath Marine National Park chief Cheewapap Cheewatham praised the involvement of the DSI and AMLO in the park investigation.

“The joining of three departments gives me confidence because the DSI investigation process is strong and fair,” Mr Cheewapap said.
– Kritsada Mueanhawong
Phuket,spacer.gifThailand
16:08 local time (GMT +7)
Edited by Jimi007

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