House panel to investigate Phuket hotel's land rights

House panel to investigate Phuket hotel's land rights

Sri Panwa in Phuket
Sri Panwa in Phuket

Officials from several state agencies will be asked to testify before the House environment committee looking into allegations the Sri Panwa Luxury Pool Villa Hotel may have encroached on forest land.

Committee chairman and opposition Move Forward Party MP, Apichart Sirisunthorn, said the Department of Land, Interior Ministry, Royal Forest Department and Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment officials, as well as the Phuket governor will be invited to testify on Oct 1.

The committee sprang into action after Vorasit Issara, owner of the Phuket-based Sri Panwa Phuket Luxury Pool Villa Hotel recently accused Panusaya "Rung" Sithijirawattanakul, a co-leader of the anti-government United Front of Thammasat and Demonstration, of offending the monarchy at last weekend's student-led protest in Sanam Luang. Mr Vorasit said in a social media message that he found Ms Panusaya's comments about the monarchy unacceptable.

Anti-government elements hit back on social media by accusing the hotel, which is located on a mountain, of encroaching on a forest reserve. On Wednesday, Mr Apichart said the committee would appoint a team to look into whether the resort sits on a protected site, if land ownership papers had been issued and whether the hotel's operations adversely affected people in surrounding communities.

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