Gov't widens land scam investigation

Source: Samui Express - 25 August 2006

By SAMUI EXPRESS Staf: The Department of Forest recently sent 130 officials to Samui to check and investigate the alleged land encroachment on the island and prevent more damages done on forest and public lands. It is also looking into the plan of the Land Department to terminate investigation of land title deeds with August.

The Department has divided the officials into 3 teams to investigate land title deeds and documents of land ownerships on Koh Samui. It will put up a sign in the preserved lands and forest immediately after the examination is done.

After news on land encroachment on Koh Samui broke out, 40 officials from the Protection Unit of the Forest Department were dispatched to investigate. Now there are 170 officials keeping an eye on the land issue on Koh Samui. The staffs are divided into three teams. The first consists of analysts and counselor. The second team comprises those who surveying the areas that have reported been intruded into by investors and people in Taling Ngam, Bo Phut, Na Maung, Maret, Angthong and Maenam. The thrird team is tasked with directly preventing land encroachment.

According to the report from the land department on Koh Samui, more than 70,000 land ownership documents are being reviewed to find out any wrongdoing about the land acquisition.

According to the latest available report of the Forest Department, the forest mountain around the middle of Koh Samui, totaling 2,050 rais, have been intruded into illegally. This zone is considered a source of water. More than 700 rais of the forested mountain has reportedly been encroached upon, and 566 rais in Bo Phut and Maenam.

Charoen Chanpran, the official from the land department of Koh Samui, said some plots of land that are encroached have land titles. The authenticity of the land titles in the possession of the land owners is being checked.

To root out completely the problem of land encroachment on Samui, Yongyuth Tiyaphirat, caretaker natural and environmental resources minister, said effective measures and sufficient staff are necessary.