Village chief could face forest grab rap

Village chief could face forest grab rap

A village headman has been accused of being involved in encroaching on forest land in Sattahip district of Chon Buri.

This comes as Sunthorn Munao­waroh, the Sattahip district chief, led an investigation team to the area affected by the encroachment in Kao Krating forest reserve yesterday.

Chon Buri governor Thawatchai Srithong ordered Mr Sunthorn to investigate after a news report on the encroachment was made public, suggesting it may involve influential local figures.

According to the report, the headman of the nearby village, identified only as Yuthana, allegedly signed two land utilisation certificates for an individual from tambon Bang Sarey, identified as Lamyai [surname withheld]. Ms Lamyai later sold the land to her husband, who is a foreign national, the report claimed.

The land in Kao Krating reserve belonged to the state and could not be traded, according to the report.

During Mr Sunthorn's investigation, his team found that the area had been encroached upon for agricultural purposes.

Prapansak Kwansri, a senior surveyor from the Chon Buri Provincial Land Office in Sattahip, said the encroachment had damaged more than 50 rai of Kao Krating forest.

No land deeds for those areas have been found, Mr Prapansak said.

He added that the team had filed a complaint with Sattahip Police Station against those connected to the encroachment of the land and illegal land acquisition under the 1941 Forest Act.

Sattahip Naval Base's Assets Division has put up a billboard in the encroached area, warning trespassers they will face legal action.

Meanwhile, Chaiyaphum Provincial Forestry and related authorities have seized a luxury resort that allegedly encroached on an 18-rai area of Phu Laen Kha hilltop.

According to forestry officer Dusit Klompanich, the resort, located in Muang district's tambon Sub Si Thong, consists of six buildings. Four are for rent, and the other two are used as a restaurant and toilets. The resort owner has also turned some of the land into an orchard for growing durians.

Guests had checked out of the resort before the authorities arrived.

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