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The disputed headland beside the Le Meridien Phuket Beach Resort

Phuket's Falsified Land Titles Trail Being Pursued in Graft Probe

Saturday, May 26, 2012
PHUKET: Application is being made to cancel controversial land titles on a hillside south of Patong and at Phuket's Freedom Beach shorefront, an anti-corruption committee investigating the deals heard yesterday.

The latest allegations of graft involve a 20-rai property on a headland adjacent to the Le Meridien Phuket Beach Resort on Relax Bay, between Patong and Karon.

The real estate changed hands for 250 million baht three days after a Phuket vice governor approved the land title.

Freedom Beach, where two other controversial titles valued at billions of baht are located, is on the other side of the headland, closer to Patong.

A representative from the Justice Ministry's Department of Special Investigation, Colonel Prawoot Wongsinin, said satellite images showed the headland title to be illegitimate.

In the image above, the red line marks the allegedly falsified chanote land title, the blue line marks the National Park reserve, and the mauve line marks the Forest Department reserve.

Yesterday's hearing of the Parliamentary Committee for Anti-Corruption was held at Provincial Hall in Phuket City, headed by Pheu Thai party spokesperson Prompong Nopparit, and including Democrat Party MP Raewat Areerob and Vice Governor Somkiet Sangkaosutthirak.

In explaining why he approved the headland title, Wiroj Taechajanta, a former Director of the Phuket Land Office, said the title came to him with documents noting the approval of the Forests Department, the National Park and the Marine Office.

All documentation appeared in order so he took it to a vice governor for sign-off: ''I signed because it was my duty at the time.''

The vice governor approved the land title on August 8, 2008 and the property changed hands three days later for 250 million baht, the meeting was told.

The land was sold by a woman who claimed ownership to a company whose major stake was held by a man who had first claimed title to the land back in 1989.

Foreigners also held a stake.

The original 1989 bid for a title was disallowed because the land had not been surveyed, the committee was told.

From Bangkok, Director of the Forest Department Management Office, Samak Donnapee, produced a book detailing a 1973 survey that proved beyond doubt the land was part of a Forests Department reserve.

In the case of the Freedom Beach land, 13 officials involved in issuing the land title are currently suspects. Another group of officials are likely to face investigation over the headland title.

One by one, disputed land titles around Phuket's coast are coming under scrutiny. The Interior Ministry ombudsman can be contacted on a hotline: 1567

Comments

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So there is (was?) usually only a proper road needed, to gain the value on more time. I think, there is (was?) a plan, for building a road, right? A closer look at the supporters should me made, too!

Posted by ??? on May 26, 2012 15:08

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I am happy they appear to be doing something...
But at the end of the day, can anyone name 10 people who had power and have been put in prison who have committed a corrupt act?

Doubtful

Posted by Tbs on May 27, 2012 07:57


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