Three encroaching properties raided in Khao Yai

Three encroaching properties raided in Khao Yai

The Ruan Kwan restaurant, on 6-rai of land inside the boundary of Khao Yai National Park, stands deserted when officials arrive to close it down on Wednesday.(Photo: Manit Sanubboon)
The Ruan Kwan restaurant, on 6-rai of land inside the boundary of Khao Yai National Park, stands deserted when officials arrive to close it down on Wednesday.(Photo: Manit Sanubboon)

PRACHIN BURI -- A special team from the National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department, called Phaya Sua, on Wednesday raided three properties in Nadi district of this eastern province suspected of encroaching on Khao Yai National Park.

The raids were part of an ongoing operation against encroachment of forests in Khao Yai National Park, a Unesco World Heritage Site.

The Phaya Sua team, led by Chaiwat Limlikit-aksorn, was supported by local administration, police and military officials, making up a 70-strong joint government force.

The raids on the three targets, all on Highway 304 (Nadi - Nakhon Ratchasima) in tambon Bu Phram of Nadi district, followed a check of map coordinates of the properties using a satellite-based global positioning system (GPS).

One team visited Lert Thip restaurant, which is on 18-rai of land on Highway 304 between kilometres 48-49. There is also a large house on the property. Jakrawat Songchome, 41, the owner, and his wife Thip said they bought the land from the former owner many years ago and were unaware it is inside the border of Khao Yai National Park.

A second team went to Romyen Thap Lan resort, about 300 metres from Lert Thip restaurant.  It is built  on a 239-rai block of land.  They found a "closed" sign in front of the resort.

The caretaker, Kanit Inwasa, 59, confirmed the resort was closed and said he had been hired by the owner to look after it. He did not know the property encroached on the national park.

A third property was a restaurant not far away called Ruan Kwan, sited on 6-rai of land. There was nobody there.

Mr Chaiwat, who led the operation, said no charges had been laid against the occupants of the three properties. They would first be told to demolish all buildings on the land and move out. It not, they would be  charged with encroachment.  If they had documents confirming land ownership, they could show them to the authorities. The case would then go to court for a ruling.

The raids were part of the National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department's operation to retake encroached land, so it could convince the 40th session of the World Heritage Committee to be held in Istanbul, Turkey, on July 10-20 that Thailand had taken action to end encroachment on the World Heritage Site.


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