DSI agrees to probe le­gal­ity of Sri Panwa

New pe­ti­tion al­leges mis­use of for­est land


The Depart­ment of Spe­cial In­ves­ti­ga­tion (DSI) yes­ter­day agreed to probe the le­gal­ity of ti­tle deeds is­sued sev­eral years ago for the hill­top lo­ca­tion of Sri Panwa Phuket, a lux­ury pool villa ho­tel in Muang dis­trict.

In re­sponse to a pe­ti­tion filed to the DSI by Veera Somk­wamkid, sec­re­tary­gen­eral of the Peo­ple’s Net­work Against Cor­rup­tion, yes­ter­day, DSI chief Pol Lt Col Kor­rawat Pan­praphakorn said the DSI will process the pe­ti­tion and try to find an­swers to the ques­tions raised about the le­gal­ity of Sri Panwa’s land ti­tle deeds.

Yes­ter­day, in ad­di­tion to the pe­ti­tion, Mr Veera sub­mit­ted 167 pages of doc­u­ments per­tain­ing to his ac­cu­sa­tions that Thawatchai Anukun had un­law­fully is­sued land ti­tle deeds to plots of land in Phuket be­fore he died on Aug 30, 2016.

The land fraud sus­pect had died in a de­ten­tion room while in DSI cus­tody, dur­ing an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into his al­leged dere­lic­tion of duty and his fal­si­fy­ing of land deeds be­tween 1998 and 2001.

Mr Veera said the case also in­volved a num­ber of plots in tam­bon Rat­sada in Krathu dis­trict which were sim­i­lar to the lo­ca­tion of Sri Panwa Phuket in terms of geo­graph­i­cal fea­tures, all be­ing hill­top plots of land that have a slope of more than 35 de­grees.

The ac­tivist also said he asked the DSI to find out if Thawatchai ac­tu­ally was the Phuket land of­fi­cial who ap­proved the ti­tle deeds for the Sri Panwa plot and whether the is­su­ing was law­ful.

“Be­fore the Nor Sor 3 Kor ti­tle deeds were is­sued on this plot, which was later sold to the Sri Panwa Phuket project, the plot was a part of a for­est known as Pa Kae by lo­cals,” said Mr Veera.

“Back then, 10 fam­i­lies that had oc­cu­pied the plots for about 40 years had ti­tle deed re­quests re­jected. The rea­son given was the land was part of a for­est re­serve used by the navy,”

he added. Mr Veera also sub­mit­ted to the DSI some pic­tures of busi­ness­men in­volved with the Sri Panwa project taken with high-pro­file of­fi­cials.

“The Sri Panwa re­sort has been in­ves­ti­gated be­fore but these in­ves­ti­ga­tions have gone nowhere be­cause those state of­fi­cials dared not to play it straight,” he said.

How­ever, Watchara Buathong, Phuket’s cur­rent land of­fi­cial, yes­ter­day in­sisted the Sri Panwa re­sort had legally ac­quired its 56-rai, none of which was ever state land.

Lo­cal res­i­dent Kh­wan­jai Khum­ban, backed this claim, say­ing her fa­ther and cousins had sold most of the land to the re­sort, and she could pro­duce doc­u­ments to ac­count for at least 12 rai of the dis­puted area.

The fresh scru­tiny of Sri Panwa Phuket comes af­ter Vo­r­a­sit Is­sara, owner of the lux­ury ho­tel in Phuket, ac­cused Panusaya “Rung” Sithi­ji­rawat­tanakul, a co-leader of the anti-govern­ment United Front of Tham­masat and Demon­stra­tion group, of of­fend­ing the monar­chy at last week­end’s protest at Sanam Luang.

Mr Vo­r­a­sit yes­ter­day re­fused to com­ment when con­tacted by the Bangkok Post yes­ter­day.


Pool vil­las at the Sri Panwa Phuket re­sort are seen on a hill over­look­ing the An­daman Sea in the is­land’s Muang dis­trict. A pe­ti­tion has been sub­mit­ted to the DSI by an anti-cor­rup­tion ac­tivist rais­ing ques­tions over the le­gal­ity of the land ti­tle deeds is­sued prior to the con­struc­tion of the lux­ury hill­top com­plex.

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