Thailand’s Juangroongruangkit family defends controversial land deal
Thai Summit Group President Somporn Juangroongruangkit has asked for fairness from the public over the negative image projected of the family after the Land Department revoked 59 “nor sor 3 kor” land ownership certificates on Tuesday.
The certificates were withdrawn on grounds that the documents were issued illegally. They were for plots covering 337.76 hectares in Ratchaburi province, which she bought about three decades ago.
Breaking her silence to the media today (Friday), Somporn, mother Thanathorn, leader of the Progressive Movement and former leader of the now-defunct Future Forward Party, said that she was devastated by the Land Department’s order, which has painted her and her family as being forest encroachers, which is a serious charge.
She claimed that that she was not the first person to buy the land, after land ownership certificates had been issued as far back as 1978. She bought the land in 1990.
She recalled that she was approached by a party leader, who is now dead, to buy the land from an executive of the Mitr Phol Group, Thailand’s largest sugar and bio-energy producer.
She said that, since she knew the land owner and that the late politician were respectable people, she didn’t expect that it was illegally certified land.
Because the land had passed through several hands before she bought it, Somporn said that she had no power whatsoever to force or coerce land officials to issue the “nor sor 3 kor” ownership certificates.
She denied press reports that she had told land officials that she was aware that the land plot is in national forest reserves.
She also said that she has no problem if the state wants to take back the land, but after it has been proved in court that the land is, indeed, in national forest reserves.
She observed that, for the past 30 years, there has not been any problem with the officials related to the land, until her son, Thanathorn, decided to enter politics and his party was eventually dissolved.
The Future Forward party was dissolved by the Constitutional Court in February 2020, for violating the election law by accepting millions of baht in loans from its leader, Thanathorn, who was disqualified as an MP shortly before the party dissolution over his share ownership in a media company.
Thai Summit Group is Thailand’s largest automotive parts manufacturer and Somporn was ranked Thailand’s 47th richest person by Forbes in 2021.