Sattahip resort 'acquired land from former politician'
Navy was responsible for state land plot and has ordered business to close pending encroachment investigation
published : 11 Mar 2023 at 14:01
CHON BURI: A land plot in Sattahip district where a luxury resort was built reportedly belonged to a former local politician who sold the occupancy rights to the resort operator for 11 million baht.
The Royal Thai Navy on Friday ordered the Star Over Sea resort to suspend operations pending an investigation into whether it was encroaching illegally on state land.
The navy source who revealed the land deal did not disclose the name of the politician. The navy’s real estate division oversees the land, and received an application to rent the site in 2019 but approval was never granted, according to navy records.
The new occupant went ahead anyway and turned the plot in tambon Samae San into a resort. Cargo containers, priced at 2-3 million baht each, were shipped from China and installed on the site. There, they were modified and fitted out as luxury villas, each with a swimming pool.
The resort opened early this year and promoted its villas on social media at 15,000 baht a night on weekdays for up to four people, and 16,500 baht a night on weekends. The ads attracted some online questions about whether the resort had been built legally.
Local residents also raised questions about authorities’ failure to reclaim public land sooner, given that the business had been open for several weeks and construction had taken place for months before that. They said they had not seen any signs of the relevant agencies inspecting the site.
Adm Pokkhrong Monthatpalin, a navy spokesman, confirmed on Friday that the four-rai site on which Star Over Sea was built was state land under the care of the navy. Navy chief Adm Choengchai Chomchoengpaet immediately ordered a fact-finding investigation.
An initial investigation found that a woman identified as Rommanee Jor had sought permission from the Sattahip naval base to use the land for housing and agricultural purposes, said the spokesman. The permission has not yet been approved, he added.
The base has filed a complaint against Ms Rommanee, who agreed to close her business and would dismantle her structures, said the spokesman.
On Saturday, officials from the Samae San tambon administration organisation (TAO) issued a formal order to the resort to suspend operations, and posted the navy’s order to that effect.