Probe into suspected foreign involvement in illegal resorts in Chiang Mai
The Royal Forest Department has launched an investigation to determine whether Chinese investors own stakes in two resorts at Doi Mon Jam in Mae Rim district of Chiang Mai province, which were raided by its officials last week.
The raids at Doi Mon Jam, a popular mountainous retreat for tourists, was ordered by Natural Resources and Environment Minister Warawut Silpa-archa, after widespread land encroachment on state land, allegedly by local and foreign investors, had been reported.
The minister said that all the illegal resorts, big or small, must be dismantled and the encroachers will be charged.
Initial findings indicate that one of the two major resorts, Mon Dara, is possibly a joint venture between Thai and Chinese investors. Its board of directors have been identified as Mr. Yuan Chern Charnsirikul, Ms. Nian Chi San, Mr. Chi Sin Chan, Ms. Su-ariya Veetasetthakul, Ms. Chanthita Luangpramuan and Ms. Arparat Leewongphan.
The Mon Dara company has a land certificate for 0.48 hectares, but the resort has allegedly occupied more land.
Another resort, Mon Jor, has been found to be owned by investors from Bangkok and has, also, allegedly encroached on state land.
Mr. Chivaparb Chivatham, director of the Forest Fire Prevention and Control Office of the Royal Forest Department, disclosed that there are only 53 people who were legally allocated fixed land plots, under the department’s land and forest management project, but 12 of them were found to have utilized more land than that to which they were entitled.
He said that several of the original land occupiers had already transferred their occupation rights to outsiders, who later invested in resorts.
After the raid at Doi Mon Jam, land occupiers have been warned they will face legal action and their land rights will be forfeited if further construction is carried out on the land.
Resorts on encroached land have been ordered dismantled within 15 days or the officials will undertake forced demolition and charge the cost to the resort operators.