When Phuketwan spoke to the Director of Sirinath National Park, Kitipat Tarapiban, he was on his way to Tachatchai Police Station to begin proceedings related to two cases involving scores of rai that he says have been encroached upon.
Khun Kitipat will not be hanging around. He has asked for a transfer off Phuket because of the threats and intimidation associated with the investigations of properties bordering the park and restaurants and resorts that were allegedly on public land at Nai Yang, Nai Thon and Sai Keaw beaches.
Khun Kitipat says he has given up his old regular mobile number and now frequently changes simcards to avoid being easily traced or tracked.
''I eat all my meals at Sirinath,'' he said. ''I've had a conversation with at least one gunman. So far, it has all been warnings and threats.''
Khun Kitipat will be following the lead of his predecessor in the park director role, Cheewapad Cheewatam, who also requested a transfer off Phuket because of threats and intimidation.
''The difficulty we have experienced has actually turned out to make for a sensible policy,'' Khun Kitipat said. ''It means directors can come to Phuket, work intensely for a few months, then hand over to somebody else to carry on.''
Khun Cheewapad has returned to Phuket in pursuing several cases in his new role asvChief of Preservation-Protection at the Royal Forest Department. With the department's Director General, Theerapat Prayurasiddhi, he is pursuing allegations about land on Phuket's Freedom Beach and a five-star resort that was allegedly illegally constructed along Kamala's Millionaire's Mile.
The Director of Thailand's Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation, Samak Dannapee, said today that seven directors have asked to be moved because of threats and intimidation.
The department is also in conflict with the Phuket Land Titles office, which claims all chanote land titles issued on Phuket come with the approval of relevant senior officials - including those in the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation.