Agencies to sue 135 mountain resorts for land use violations

Agencies to sue 135 mountain resorts for land use violations

Typical resorts at Khao Kor district of Phetchabun, a popular tourist attraction, particularly in the cool season. The army and the Royal Forest Department have threatened to raze 135 such resorts for alleged land-use violations.
Typical resorts at Khao Kor district of Phetchabun, a popular tourist attraction, particularly in the cool season. The army and the Royal Forest Department have threatened to raze 135 such resorts for alleged land-use violations.

PHETCHABUN: The Royal Forest Department (RFD) and the operations centre of the Internal Security Operations Command (Isoc) Region 3 will take legal action against all 135 mountainous resorts suspected of encroaching on a land plot in Khao Kho district within three months.

According to RFD, the land used to be forest land before RFD allocated the plot to the army to distribute to defence volunteers who fought communist insurgents three decades ago.

The defence volunteers back then received a Ror Or Sor land occupation document, but the plots could not be legally sold or used for commercial purposes.

Ror Or Sor land plots can only be inherited by the succeeding generation of owners.

Combined teams of forestry, administrative and military officers recently found that many Ror Or Sor land owners have illegally sold their land to resort developers and there are hundreds of resorts situated on Ror Or Sor land now.

Some have questions hanging over their ownership and legality, officials say.

The team also conducted an inspection of a four-storey resort on Ror Or Sor land which belongs to Mr La-or Jinjaitrong.

Mr La-or told officers that someone approached his daughter about three years ago and asked to make use of the land plot to build a learning centre, which had actually turned out to be resort buildings.

The RFD earlier filed land encroachment charges against the developer, but the public prosecutor refused to proceed with the case, citing insufficient evidence.

A bird's eye view shows a four-storey resort being built in Khao Kho district of Phetchabun. (Photo by Soonthorn Kongvarakom)

A source from Isoc said the RFD and his agency now plan to revive the case and reclaim the land from the developer as they have more evidence to back up the case to the prosecutor.

"We have asked owners of the resorts at Khao Kho to present land occupation documents. Any resorts found to be encroaching on Ror Or Sor land will be ordered demolished. If the owners refuse, legal action will be taken," he said.

Starting from the beginning of this month and running to the end of July, the Isoc and RFD will take legal action against all 135 mountainous resorts suspected of encroaching on Ror Or Sor land, including the four-storey building.

At least 10 resorts will be prosecuted per week at first and the number will gradually increase, he added.

The agencies would also inspect other 358 resorts outside Ror Or Sor land to see whether they are encroaching on reserved forests.

The army is exploring legal channels to reclaim land plots allocated to the volunteers who are believed to have broken the land-use agreements.


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