Juangroongruantkit family members accused of illegal possession of forest land in Ratchaburi

Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit speaks during a press conference in Bangkok on January 21, 2021, after he was accused on Wednesday of contravening Thailand’s strict royal defamation lese majeste laws by posting a video criticising the government’s Covid-19 coronavirus vaccine strategy. (Photo by Lillian SUWANRUMPHA / AFP)

Thailand’s Royal Forest Department lodged a complaint with the Natural Resources and Environmental Crime Division (NRECD) on Thursday, accusing three Juangroongruangkit family members of illegal possession of more than 320 hectares of land in national forest reserves in the central province of Ratchaburi.

The complaint was lodged jointly by Royal Forest Department Director-General Mr. Adisorn Nutdamrong and Mr. Chivaparb Chivatham, director of the Forest Protection and Forest Fire Control Office, with Pol Maj-Gen Pitak Uthaitham, commander of NRECD.

Named in the formal complaint are Mrs. Somporn Juangroongruangkit, her son Thanathorn, leader of the anti-establishment Progressive Movement, and Ms. Chanaphan.

Adisorn said that officials of the Royal Forest Department had carefully checked all 60 Nor Sor 3 Kor land ownership documents, covering 344.64 hectares of land in the national forest reserves in Ratchaburi province, and found that they were all issued illegally.

53 were issued in the name of Mrs. Somporn for 308.8 hectares, 5 were issued in the name of Ms. Chanaphan for 21.12 hectaresand 2 in the name of Thanathorn for 12.96 hectares.  Most of the land is planted with eucalyptus trees.

Adisorn also said that several land and local administration officials were allegedly involved in the illegal issuance of the Nor Sor 3 Kor land ownership documents.

So far, there has been no public response to the allegations from the Juangroongruangkit family.

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