Bhumjaithai bigwig in hot water over Khao Yai plot

Bhumjaithai bigwig in hot water over Khao Yai plot

Kanokwan: Ownsplot in state park
Kanokwan: Ownsplot in state park

The National Anti-Corruption Commission said it has found enough grounds to launch legal action against Deputy Education Minister Kanokwan Vilawan, her father and eight other individuals for illegally occupying land in Khao Yai National Park.

NACC secretary-general Niwatchai Kasemmongkol said yesterday Ms Kanokwan, her father Soonthorn and a woman named Noi Toomphan are illegally occupying three blocks of land in the park.

Ms Kanokwan is a deputy secretary-general of the Bhumjaithai Party, while her father is the head of Prachin Buri Provincial Administrative Organisation.

Mr Niwatchai said the suspects claimed they bought the land from previous owners, but the NACC found out the plots in question had never been utilised for any purpose -- a conclusion confirmed following aerial surveys of the sites.

NACC investigators concluded that the trio must have colluded with government officials to obtain the land title deeds. "We have scientific evidence to confirm that the areas were lush forest within Khao Yai [national park]," the NACC chief said.

Mr Niwatchai said the OAG had decided on Tuesday to indict 10 suspects in the matter and would forward the cases to the Region 2 office of the Criminal Court for Corruption and Misconduct Cases -- though he did not elaborate on their identities.

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