The new Director General of the Royal Forest Department, Theerapat Prayurasiddhi, inspected the area from outside the Kamala property today and said that he was surprised any development on such a steep slope would be allowed.
With Khun Theerapat was the Deputy Chief of Staff, Royal Thai Navy 3 Pornprom Sakultem, and Cheewapab Cheewatam, Chief of Preservation-Protection, Royal Forest Department. A large escort included armed sailors from the Royal Thai Navy 3 base at Cape Panwa, on Phuket's east coast.
Khun Cheewapab was until recently the Director of Sirinath National Park, where a two-year investigation is continuing into whether encroachment of parkland has taken place in construction of two five-star resorts and in proposals for other developments on the park's borders.
Khun Theerapat said the Royal Forest Department was determined to restore public parkland to the people and that the reclamation of beaches for the public on Phuket would be followed by a long and detailed study of whether many property titles were genuine.
Investigations would include whether the construction height limit of 80 metres on Phuket had been exceeded, he said.
''Whether the illegal occupants of land in Thailand are rich or poor, we aim to restore all public space to the people, regardless of the influence of those involved,'' he said.
Officials avoided entering the disputed resort today to avoid startling guests. The resort is about five years old and has attracted rave reviews.
Khun Cheewapab said he believed Phuket and the neighboring provinces of Phang Nga and Krabi had a sound future as ecotourism destinations, provided breaches of laws governing property and parkland could be prevented.