Officials from the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) on Wednesday (Aug 16) went to Kanchanaburi province to investigate complaints by villagers that some Chinese businessmen are illegally occupying land plots which were turned into fruit orchards to produce fruits for export to China.
The DSI team, led by Pol Lt-Col Prawut Wongseenin, first met with Kanchanaburi deputy governor Narong Rakroi and Colonel Karnnart Nikornyanont of the 9th Infantry Division and Mr Pun Plengpiew, the local treasury official, for discussion on the villagers' complaints which were accepted by the DSI as a special case.
The locals complained that the land owner built two large reservoirs to store water for farm use, causing severe water shortage in downstream villages.
After the discussion, the DSI team went to one of the land plots in Tambon Jorakae Puek in Dan Makham Tia district, where they found a big signboard, claiming that the land plot is the training ground for army troops.
The officials found out that the 700-rai land plot was partially turned into an orchard filled with guava, papaya, lime and dragon fruit trees. There were five Myanmar migrant workers and a Thai caretaker, identified as Kosol.
Kosol reportedly told the DSI officials that the land plot belongs to a man who bought the land at between 30,000-40,000 baht a rai and paid land taxes every year to the tambon administration organization.
According to DSI, the land plot is owned by Supachai Sae Sue, Chinese businessman from Taiwan, to grow fruits for export to China.
Pol Lt-Col Prawut said initial inspection found that about 1,200 rai of the Treasury Department's land has been encroached in this area.
But he said that he would allow the owners of the land plots to produce their documents to prove that the plots were legally bought in order to be fair to them.
Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)