12 July 2024

The son of former Democrat secretary-general Suthep Thuagsuban and three associates were acquitted by the Appeals Court which overturned the guilty verdict on land encroachment on Samui Island by the Criminal Court.

The Appeals Court said that the prosecution evidence was not convincing enough to prove that the 31-rai land plot on Khao Paeng on Koh Sami, including a 14 rai reservoir, which was occupied by 37-year old Taen Thuagsuban, son of Mr Suthep, and the other three encroaches on state land or forest reserves.

The prosecution charged that Taen and his three associates had encroached the forest and built a reservoir on the encroached land.
The Criminal Court found the four defendants guilty of forest encroachment and sentenced Taen to three years imprisonment.  The three other defendents were given 3-5 years.

The case became the focus of public interest because Taen is the son of Suthep, former Democrat secretary-general and an influential figure in the southern province of Surat Thani.

Suthep’s political opponents also expressed concern of possible political interference in the case.  Eventually, the case was transferred from Koh Samui to the Criminal Court in Bangkok.