Koh Chang people battle True signal tower near shrine

Koh Chang people battle True signal tower near shrine

Staff of the Koh Chang Tai TAO pose for a photo at the shrine of remembrance, the Sarn Yutthanavy Koh Chang, after cleaning up the area around it in April. (Photo taken from Koh Chang Tai TAO's facebook page)
Staff of the Koh Chang Tai TAO pose for a photo at the shrine of remembrance, the Sarn Yutthanavy Koh Chang, after cleaning up the area around it in April. (Photo taken from Koh Chang Tai TAO's facebook page)

TRAT - Residents of Koh Chang are up in arms over the construction of a mobile phone signal tower near a shrine commemorating the bravery of sailors who died fighting the Vichy French navy in 1941.

Koh Chang Tai tambon administration organisation on Tuesday posted an order on a tree near the site where True Corporation is building the signal tower at Yutthanavy beach in tambon Koh Chang Tai of Koh Chang district.

It told the mobile phone operator to suspend construction, which was being done without the TAO's permission.

Jakkrit Salakpetch, chairman of Koh Chang Tai TAO, said local leaders and residents complained that the digging of a large hole for construction of the tower so near the shrine of remembrance they had built for Thai sailors who lost their lives in battle against the French navy was not acceptable, Thai media reported.

On Jan 17 every year, local residents and officials gathered at the shrine for a religious ceremony in remembrance of the sailors who lost their lives in the waters off the island during the Battle of Koh Chang.

The TAO had sent a letter to the mobile operator ordering it to suspend construction. Another letter was also sent requiring the firm to submit a formal request to put up the signal tower, Mr Jakkrit said. 

The TAO would take the views of local people into consideration before deciding whether to approve the work or not.

Komkhid Saisang, kamnan of tambon Koh Chang Tai, said leaders of all villages in the Koh Chang Tai community had sought opinions from residents about placing the signal tower near the shrine. The majority strongly opposed it.

Manu Ananthakorn, assistant head of Moo 3 village, said the land near the shrine had historical significance. They had earlier filed a complaint against an investor for trying to take control of the land in question by applying for a land ownership document for it. In 2010, the Land Department had revoked the land title, which was for 8 rai, Mr Manu said.

Local authorities were in the process of seeking the registration of the land. Local people would not allow the signal tower be built there, he said.


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