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DSI Special Team Director, Police Lieutenant Colonel Korrawat Panprapakorn

Phuket Centre of Expert DSI Property Probe

Wednesday, January 21, 2009
TEN cases involving property on Phuket are being probed by the Department of Special Investigations.

A team of 40 mapping, titles and terrain experts is now on the island, examining these cases - and possibly others may emerge. The DSI team is here to stay.

The Royal Thai Navy, local villagers, the Governor and other people are being interviewed about coastal mangrove encroachment, plus other issues.

Cases where Thai nominees have been used to purchase land for foreigners are high on the team's list of priorities.

Inquiries are not likely to end any time soon - the DSI is moving into a branch office in the island's new police headquarters, which is due to open in Phuket City soon.

Problems associate with property were greatest in Thailand on Phuket and along the Andaman because of the high real estate values, DSI Special Team Director Police Lieutenant Colonel Korrawat Panprapakorn told Phuketwan.

''Some cases are difficult,'' he said. ''The one involving the temple at Kathu, for example, involves 50 rai of land that belonged to the wat 30 years ago.

''Ten years later, the temple had 10 rai. We will be tracking the causes of those kinds of changes.''

Evidence was not always easy to find, he said.

The deputy chief of the Phuket Provincial Land Office, Pongtorn Hiranyaburana, was shot dead by a gunman as he drove home to Surat Thani in 2003, an unsolved murder that was probably a result of his discovery of the truth of the scandals in his workplace.

His killing has never been solved and police eventually suspended investigations.

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