PHANGNGA: Four piers serving tourist boats in Thai Muang district of this southern province were found to have been built illegally and encroached on forests, a recent inspection has found.
A combined team of forestry officials, tourist police, soldiers and local officials inspected four locations in tambon Lam Kaen of Thai Muang district on Friday, following information that tour operators had illegally built them and other structures in the Khlong Thung Maprao national forest reserve to serve foreign tour groups.
The inspection found four piers and wooden bridges had been built without permission, Cheewapab Cheewatham, head of the Royal Forestry Department’s Payak Phrai operations team, told Matichon Online on Saturday.
An initial investigation found the pier operators violated the 1941 Forestry Act, the 1964 National Forest Reserve Act, the 1979 Building Control Act and relevant laws, he said.
The four piers are Blueda Marine, a large pier to accommodate Chinese tourists, Harn Thalae for Chinese tourists and two other piers serving Russian tourists.
Mr Cheewapab said the wooden bridges stretched into the waters to accommodate large speedboats. Large areas were also turned into parking areas for vans and tour buses. He estimated that the four piers had served at least 1,000 foreign tourists a day.
After a thorough survey of the areas, authorities would file charges against the pier operators.
Deputy Phangnga governor Pakphum Inthasurwan said provincial authorities would immediately launch a probe into the pier construction and take action against those involved.