100 Rai Of Violated Land Seized By Officials On Koh Lanta
Posted 23 June 2017 - 05:27
More than 30 officials from several departments participated in the seizure, led by Wildlife Conservation Department head Sawat Suksiri.
“Locals reported to us that trees were burned and chopped down. They were replaced by oil palms. They have been doing this progressively for at least two to three years, based on the age of the palms they planted,” said Sawat.
“Initially, we learned that one of the suspects was Aumak Kaowdaeng. However, during our checks, Aumak's relatives showed up and claimed that the land belonged to his family members, not to him personally. Nevertheless, he was charged with deforestation and encroachment upon land in a reserved forest,” said Sawat.
“This place has been invaded continuously and the suspect was not frightened in the least of the law. He burned down hundreds of trees for his own benefit, starting in 2013. We have tried to prosecute over this. Recently, my team and I were threatened with death for reporting the issue to the police,” he added.
Aumak did not show up or send a representative yesterday.
“We've just seized the land for now. If they have documents to prove that it's theirs, they should just take those documents to the court,” said Sawat.
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