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Graft group: former officials encroached on Chiang Rai land

Ban Talae Mok Resort, worth Bt200 million, was flattened as it was one of many homes and hotels that encroached on Thap Lan National Park.

Ban Talae Mok Resort, worth Bt200 million, was flattened as it was one of many homes and hotels that encroached on Thap Lan National Park.

The Public Sector Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) yesterday accused a group of former officials of encroaching on 2,000 rai of mountainous land in Chiang Rai's Muang district and using illegally issued title deeds as collateral to obtain a Bt100-million bank loan that later went bad.

PACC chief Pol Colonel Dusadee Arayawut said that according to the results of a probe into the alleged encroachment on forestland in the Doi Pa Sang area, the issuance of land-title deeds in 1990 allegedly allowed politicians to possess 19 plots covering 494 rai.

The politicians include former Si Sa Ket MP Sawat Seubsaiphrom, former Surin MP Pulsawat Mulsatsathorn, former PM's Office officials Banyai Sukkasem and Pairoj Fongdawirat, and former official Col Sakhon Kitwiriya.

The plots were later allegedly transferred to Sakhon and Banyai, who allegedly used the deeds to borrow Bt100 million in 1991. The loan became non-performing and was transferred to Thai Asset Management Corporation in 2008.

The PACC would see that the six officials involved in the issuing of illegal deeds for the 19 plots were punished, Dusadee said, while the bank would sue the officials accused of using the bogus deeds to borrow money and allowing the loan to lapse into an NPL.

The accused claimed to have bought the plots, which they said were used as orchards, from the original landlords, who they identified as elderly residents the area. Dusadee said the probe found that the 19 plots were mountainous land on which rubber trees and corn were being grown. He said all but one of the cited "original landlords" were dead. The surviving "landlord" told the PACC that he didn't have land there and suggested that his name might have been used without his knowledge by his son-in-law, a property agent.

Dusadee said he was also acting on a request by Tambon Mae Or village headman Khammoon Testi to probe a private company that cleared 175 rai of forestland to grow rubber trees. Later Dusadee presided over the opening of an anti-corruption centre (hotline 1206) at Chiang Mai's Central Airport Plaza and launched a Facebook page to encourage youths to watch out for corruption in the public sector.

In related news, on Friday night some 3,000 officials started to demolish illegal buildings at nine resorts accused of encroaching on Thab Lan National Park - seven in Nakhon Ratchasima's Wang Nam Kheow district and two in Prachin Buri's Na Dee. Among the sites slated for demolition in the latter district was the 200-room Ban Talae Mok Resort. Officials were obstructed by road-blocks and attempted tyre-burnings by 130 resort owners and local employees.

The resort owners complained that officials were razing buildings without waiting for an Administrative Court ruling, slated for August 14, on their July 22 appeal for a temporary injunction. Damrong Pidech, chief of the Department of National Parks, insisted on enforcing the demolition order.

Meanwhile, at 10am yesterday in Pak Thor in Ratchaburi, officials destroyed 79 rai of a pineapple plantation and demolished homes of alleged forestland encroachers in Tambon Yang Hak.




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