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Governor Wichai Praisa-ngob: Leading criticism of environmental safeguards

Phuket's Timeless Beauty Stolen by Timber Thieves

Thursday, January 21, 2010
ABOUT 3000 rai of forest trees have been illegally harvested on a Thalang hilltop. Only 1500 rai of good, tall timber remained on Bang Kanoon forest, Phuket Governor Wichai Praisa-ngob said today.

Governor Wichai showed the devastated area, still spattered with toppled logs and blunt stumps, to Environment and Resources Ministry senior investigating officer Montip Srirattana, from Bangkok.

He said he believed officers in the Environment and Resources office on Phuket probably knew what was happening.

Catching the tree cutters was always difficult, he said. Catching those who benefitted from the robbery was even harder.

The governor wanted the Bangkok officials to see the scale of the theft today. He said there were similar patches showing the signs of stolen timber all over Phuket. They could be easily seen from a helicopter.

Many of the trees were decades old and others were rare species. He said the stolen wood was sold and the people behind the thieves then planted rubber.

In 10 years, they were able to ask for a chanote title to the land, he said.

Khun Montip said that modern satellite technology was now being used and was a more effective means of tracking illegal activities.

She said she would try to trace who might have knowledge of the illegal activities.

Phuketwan has been told that Google Earth reveals many properties on Phuket that have been built above the 80 metre limit, including some close to Patong and Kamala.
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Phuket Gets Set for US Carrier Nimitz, Warships
Latest The aircraft carrier USS Nimitz will be off Phuket shortly to allow thousands of sailors to take shore leave with crew from two other warships. Phuket is a destination the sailors seem to enjoy.
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Russian Sex Tourist Escapes Assault Charge
Latest A Russian tourist who beat up a bar girl on Phuket has escaped a charge after a Patong policeman negotiated a mediation settlement. However, details of the case are sketchy.
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Phuket Blues and Rock Festival, February 26-27
Latest Event Headline bands and intriguing sounds make it to Phuket for the fifth Phuket International Blues and Rock Festival 2010. Old favorites return and there's fun along with the sweet sounds.
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Phuket Police Ask: Have You Seen This Man?
UPDATE Phuket police issue a photograph of a Russian tourist who vanished while on his honeymoon. The man disappeared in the island's south and concerns are held for his safety.
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Comments

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They cut down the trees and planted rubber trees? And then, according to the article they can later apply for a land title? And then the article explains that it is "hard to know" who felled the trees, and who might benefit?

Just a shot in the dark here, but MAYBE the officials should start looking at the people growing, tapping and processing the rubber? And MAYBE the person that wants a land title have to identify him or herself in order to get the aforementioned title?

Posted by christos on January 21, 2010 21:32

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I wouldn't rely too much on Google Earth to do accurate height measurements.

Posted by Benjie on January 22, 2010 00:19

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@Benjie
Google Earth is quite reliable, there are houses built 150m above sea level and higher ... I checked some places with my GPS.

Posted by Fritz Pinguin on January 22, 2010 10:17

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@Fritz

Even the GPS measurements are sometimes up to 20m off on Phuket though, Go down to the Beach at Sea Level and see what your GPS says.

The law is only fairly recent so many of the older houses were built before the law came into play.

Posted by Benjie on January 22, 2010 12:39

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Google Earth is reliable to show elevations on Phuket Island to better than 15 m accuracy, and they are related to Mean Sea Level. Google elevations are derived from 90 grid radar heighting. At the grid points the accuracy is even better. I have checked quite a few locations, and can prove my statement. I am a professional surveyor.

Posted by Guenter Bellach on January 23, 2010 19:00

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Benjie eat k@k dude. I have a gps and a very reliable altimeter and they both read multiple buildings built above 80 meters on this sick little island, so what, the law here is an ass in a---hole clothing ?
Why worry?

Posted by Graham on January 23, 2010 21:54

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@Graham, That's pretty rude and uncalled for, Why would you get so upset about my post, doesn't make any sense.

I don't know why you are so upset that a few buildings are above 80m, I'm sure they will raise that limit at some point anyhow.

Editor: Benjie, I know of at least one honest Thai family who stopped building three villas once they discovered the foundations were above 80 metres. If some people obey the law and others do not, would you consider that a good enough reason to get upset? Or do you prefer to have one law for some, and not for others?

Posted by Benjie on January 25, 2010 21:47

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How did they get building permits if the land was above 80m?

If they didn't have one they were breaking the law by even starting to build.

Life's not always black or white, prostitution is illegal here also but take a trip into Patong at night and you wouldn't think so.

Posted by Benjie on January 25, 2010 22:38

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Interesting that people are discussing the height of buildings and the reliability of Google Earth!

I'm more curious as to how 3000 rai of trees 'disappeared' without anyone noticing it. It must have been that bad Burmese guy we always see on the TV soap operas.

Posted by Mister Ree on January 26, 2010 21:58

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About a year ago, my neighbor, a government official type, dragged in sections of a huge tree at 2 AM one night, it took them 10 days to chainsaw it into lumber some of which was used to add on to his house.
Inconsiderate louts - I kept some bark and took photos, where to send them ?

Editor: You're barking up the wrong tree . . .If you are suggesting that it's a crime to chop wood and use it as timber for a house, there may be a few million prosecutions pending.

Posted by Chris F on January 27, 2010 08:46


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