Police seize resorts on Egat, forest land

Police seize resorts on Egat, forest land

Several resorts in Kanchanaburi have been raided by police for encroaching on Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (Egat) land and forest reserve areas.

Col Pongpetch Ketsupa, chief of the operations coordination centre of the Internal Security Operations Command (Isoc) fourth region, said a team of police and other officials raided four locations yesterday.

The team included officers from Isoc, the Forest Protecting Operation Centre of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, a special team called Phayak Phrai (wild tigers) and Sri Sawat police officers.

Col Pongpetch led the team to investigate areas around Srinakarin Dam in Sri Sawat district after Isoc received a tip-off that some resort operators had cleared forest areas and encroached upon land.

Police first raided a large resort that built seven buildings and 20 raft houses inside the dam area which is the property of Egat. The raft houses were set up on the water around the edge of the dam.

The resort was built using a Nor Sor 3 land title that allows the land owner to use the land or to build on it but they do not have full ownership and they allegedly expanded their operations illegally onto Egat land.

Col Pongpetch said the resort's structures were built without a permit from the Tha Kradan Subdistrict Administrative Organisation. The resort encroached on about six rai of Egat's property.

The encroached land has been seized over forestry law violations, Col Pongpetch said. The investigation team will forward the case to the National Anti-Corruption Commission for further legal action, he said.

The team also hit a second resort site not far from the first area raided and found four people clearing land illegally for construction purposes on Egat land. Sri Sawat police arrested the workers and the man who hired them.

At the third site, the officials found a forest area had been cleared by backhoes for building a road and a resort on a hill near the dam. GPS data indicated that the forest encroachment, in this case, was about one rai, said Col Pongpetch. At the fourth site, not far from the third, police found about five rai of forest reserve had been cleared for a resort. Officers found no one at the third and fourth sites.

Police will continue their investigations to trace and arrest the owners, said Col Pongpetch.

He added that the investigation team would continue raiding and seizing land illegally used around the dam.

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