Farms, resorts, property of influential people, built in protected forests, revealed by aerial photos, all to be demolished.
Photo below of a mountain top once covered by forest that has been stripped bare by forest encroachers.
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Forest Dept crackdown widens, Suspected encroachers targeted in Chiang Mai by Manit Sanubboon & Chadamas Chinmaneevong
The Royal Forest Department is preparing to take legal action against suspected encroachers on 530 rai of forest reserve areas in Chiang Mai's Hang Dong district as the crackdown on encroachers expands to other provinces.
RFD director-general Suwit Rattanamanee yesterday said checks have found that 530 rai in the Mae Tha Chang and Mae Khanin forest reserves have been encroached upon.
Mr Suwit said 41 suspected encroachers had occupied land in the reserves and exploited legal loopholes to apply for land title deeds for 40 land plots.
The plots vary in size from 50 square wah to 17 rai, he said, adding it has been found that the forest areas have now been cleared to build houses, resorts and to plant economic crops.
Mr Suwit said the issuing of land documents for the 40 plots was illegal because surveys by forestry officials and officials from the Land Department have found that the land plots in question are in protected forest areas, which is in violation of the law.
He said the RFD last year alerted the Land Department, which is responsible for issuing land rights documents, to look into the matter, but the RFD had not yet received any response from its officials. While waiting for a reply, the RFD is examining and analysing aerial photos to prove that the 40 plots are in forest reserves.
He said if the Land Department fails to take any action, the RFD will use the results of the aerial photos as evidence to prosecute the 41 suspected encroachers.
If the RFD can prove the plots are occupied illegally, it can take the case to court straight away, Mr Suwit said, adding that the occupants range from ordinary to influential people.
Thewin Meesap, chief of the Thap Lan National Park, which covers areas of Nakhon Ratchasima and Prachin Buri, said authorities yesterday served notice on six more resorts in Prachin Buri that they would be demolished as they encroached on protected areas.
Previously, demolition orders were given for eight resorts suspected of encroaching on the Thap Lan National forest reserve in Nakhon Ratchasima's Wang Nam Khieo district.
Ampon Wongsiri, secretary-general of the Public Sector Anti-Corruption Commission, said the agency is expanding its investigation into forest encroachment in tambon Nong Sua in Saraburi's Muak Lek district which borders Nakhon Ratchasima.
Checks have found that large areas on mountain tops have been encroached upon and turned into residential areas, Mr Ampon said
He said it has also been discovered that bungalows and resorts have been built on mountain tops in protected forest areas in Pak Chong district of Nakhon Ratchasima. PACC officials will travel to the areas today to gather evidence, Mr Ampon said.
Prakit Chinamourphong, president of the Thai Hotels Association (THA), yesterday said he believed resorts suspected of encroachment did not have proper construction licences and did not seek hotel licences in the first place.
These resort owners are not members of the THA, he added
(Source: Bangkok Post, Forest Dept crackdown widens, Suspected encroachers targeted in Chiang Mai, 27/07/2011, Manit Sanubboon & Chadamas Chinmaneevong, link)
Forest Encroachment Vocabulary
surveys - a land survey, taking measurements of the land to make official maps (See Wikipedia)
aerial photos - photos taken from above the earth in an airplace are used in land survey and to make maps (See Wikipedia on aerial photos and aerial survey)
crackdown - strong action that someone in authority takes to stop a particular activity การใช้กำลังเข้าปราบปรามของเจ้าหน้าที่
crackdown widens - the crackdown gets bigger (forestry enforces the law on more properties)
suspected - thought to be something เป็นที่สงสัย
encroach (verb) - to gradually cover more and more of an area of land บุกรุก, ล่วงล้ำ
encroachment (noun) - gradually covering and using an area of land that you do not legally own การบุกรุก
forest encroachment - using forest land that you do not legally own (that the forestry department owns)
encroacher - people who encroach
suspected encroachers - people who are believed to have encroached (but not proven yet)
targeted - aimed at a particular person or group that you oppose ตกเป็นเป้า; ตั้งเป้า เล็ง มุ่ง
reserve - something currently not being used but that can be used when needed สำรองไว้ kept for use for something or someone ที่จัดสรรไว้ สำรอง
forest reserve areas - areas of forest land with many trees on it, that people cannot use (land saved for growing trees and forests, now and in the future)
occupied land - land that has people living on it or using it
exploit - use for personal gain
loopholes - ways to get around the law, while still following the law (imperfections in a law that allow people to avoid the law)
exploited legal loopholes - used imperfections in the law to get around the law for personal gain
apply - to make use of something นำมาใช้
apply for land title deeds - apply to the Land Department for official proof that one owns a plot of land
land plots - pieces of land
vary in size - have different sizes
plant economic crops - plant crops they can sell for a profit
issuing - officially giving something to people ออกคำสั่ง
issuing of land documents - giving out papers that show and prove land ownership (from the Land Department)
illegal - against the law ผิดกฎหมาย, นอกกฎหมาย
violation - the breaking of a rule or a law, an action that is against a law, agreement, principle, etc. การฝ่าฝืน การฝ่าฝืนกฎหมาย การกระทำผิดกฎหมาย
in violation of the law - breaking the law
rights - something you are legally or morally allowed to do or have (See Wikipedia) สิทธิ์
land rights documents - papers that show and prove that you own land
investigation - the process of trying to find out all the details or facts about something in order to discover who or what caused it or how it happened การตรวจสอบหาข้อเท็จจริง, การสอบสวน
expanding investigation - the investigation is getting bigger (looking into more and more cases)
look into the matter - investigate the case or situation
matter - a situation or subject which is being dealt with or considered เรื่อง, ภารกิจ, งาน สิ่งที่พูดถึง ประเด็นที่พูดถึง
results - what is produced in the end by an activity or task
evidence - facts statements or objects that help to prove whether or not someone has committed a crime หลักฐาน
prosecute - to official accuse someone of a crime and to try to prove them guilty in a court of law ดำเนินคดี ฟ้องร้อง ซักฟอก
occupants - people who are in a particular place, vehicle, building, etc. at a particular time ผู้ครอบครอง
occupied illegally - using a piece of land for a home or business illegally
straight away - immediately, done now without delay or waiting
range from X to Y - a number of different things that are of the same general type ขอบข่าย, ประเภท
influential people - people who can control events because they are powerful ที่มีอิทธิพลต่อ
authorities - government officials; the police or people in official organisations who have the legal power to make people obey laws or rules เจ้าหน้าที่ (ตำรวจ หรือผู้มีอำนาจ)
notice - information or warning หมายเตือ
served notice - officially tell a person something (example: they must vacate land they occupy illegally)
demolished - destroy completely ทำลายให้สิ้นซาก
demolition - complete destruction การรื้อถอน, การทำลาย
residential (adjective) - with houses for families to live in (not businesses) บริเวณที่พักอาศัย
residential areas - areas with houses and apartments and not many businesses
bungalows - a small house with a veranda (See Wikipedia)
proper - actual or real จริง (พระราชพิธีพระราชทานเพลิงพระศพจริง)
construction - the work of building or making something, especially buildings, bridges, etc. การก่อสร้าง
construction licenses - official permission from the government to build on a piece of land
proper construction licenses - all the official permissions (licenses) needed by law
hotel licenses - official permission from the government to run a hotel or other lodging such as a guesthouse
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