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Forest Department Investigates Encroachment at Nui Beach

On March 12, Mr. Sermthong, Deputy Director-General of the Royal Forest Department, led a team of officials, including forest authorities and Phuket Provincial Police, to Nui Beach in Phuket Province for a thorough inspection. The visit was prompted by reports of encroachment and legal violations in the area, including recent reports filed on March 11. Upon arrival, officials discovered new encroachments despite previous legal actions and demolition orders issued in 2020.

Upon arrival at Nui Beach, officials encountered an iron gate barring entry, accompanied by a notice asserting land ownership rights and warning against interference. Despite these claims, officials proceeded with their inspection and found numerous structures built on forest land, including restaurants, viewpoints, and worker housing.

Mr. Sermthong emphasized the importance of investigating encroachments on public land, as mandated by the Forest Department’s Director-General. Despite previous demolitions and legal actions, new encroachments by the same group have persisted. The purpose of the inspection was to assess any further encroachment, construction, or alterations to the natural forest.

The area in question spans approximately 18 rai, with the owner having erected fences and collected tolls to restrict access. However, the Supreme Court has revoked previous land rights claims, reverting the land to the Naga Kerd National Forest Reserve. The Forest Department intends to reclaim the land as forest territory, although legal processes for demolition and land reclamation are ongoing.

While no demolition orders have been issued yet, the Forest Department is compiling a list of structures built in forest areas for future action. The process will adhere to legal frameworks, allowing for announcements and a specified period for demolition, as per existing laws. Mr. Sermthong affirmed the department’s commitment to reclaiming forest land and implementing projects to prevent future encroachment, ensuring sustainable land management practices.

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