The Khao Yai Thiang land encroachment case could open a Pandora’s box, as thousands of people could be found to be illegally occupying land if the government really gets serious about enforcing the law.
“All of Thailand’s jails wouldn’t be enough to detain the offenders, if the authorities are serious about handling the cases as they have done with Gen Surayud Chulanont’s resort home,” said a lawyer who asked not to be named.
“It has to be admitted that Thailand has long had a problem with forest land encroachment and ownership and usage rights in the area.”
Many stunning plots of land on mountaintops, in valleys and at seaside spots throughout the country now belong to rich local entrepreneurs, politicians, high-ranking state officials and corporate employees, and not a lot of the land is still owned by farmers.
“Those buyers are in general fully aware of the risk they are taking. They should thus be ready to control their minds once authorities take it back,” said the member of the Lawyers Council of Thailand.
A senior forestry official said the problem of encroachment on forest reserves dates back many decades.
Not only landless and poor people as well as landlords have encroached on more than a million rai of forest reserves. Other offenders included monks building permanent Buddhist monasteries, centers, temples and accommodations.
He said the latest survey showed a total of 5,529 monasteries, centers, temples and accommodations covering 190,000 rai in forest reserves, national parks and wildlife sanctuaries. In 70 cases, mostly in the northeastern provinces, occupants were evicted while others were allowed to remain as long as they helped authorities with forest conservation.
Asian cities most threatened by environmental risk
According to the first instalment of Cities@Risk series, which ranks the world’s 576 largest urban centres on their exposure to a range of environmental and climate-related threats, 99 of the world’s 100 riskiest cities are in Asia, including 37 in China and 43 in India.
Thailand Q1 Investment Applications Soar 80% as FDI More Than Double says BOI
The top three source countries of FDI applications during the first quarter were South Korea, China, and Singapore, with similar levels of investment. Korean investment soared due to a large-scale joint venture in the medical sector, Ms Duangjai said.
The Thailand Board of Investment (BOI) said today that in the first quarter of 2021, investment applications rose 80% from the year earlier period to a total value of 123.4 billion baht (USD3.9 billion), led by projects in the medical and electric and electronics (E&E) sectors, as foreign direct investment (FDI) applications more than doubled.(more…)
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