Legal action to be taken against an illegal golf course on Ko Samui

The Royal Forest Department (RFD) is pondering legal action against the proprietor of a golf course on Ko Samui in Surat Thani for alleged land encroachment after it was discovered that most of the golf course has encroached on a forest reserve.

Somkid Jiewkok, chief of the RFD’s forest protection unit on Ko Samui, said that the golf course covers more than 70 rai of land, but only 11 rai are legally owned by the proprietor with Por Bor Thor 5 local tax payment documents.

The RFD will reclaim the 60-rai plus encroached land and demand compensation amounting to 3-4 million baht from the encroacher, he said after the latest round of inspection earlier this week.

The golf course is one of three locations confirmed to be illegally encroached out of 14 locations already checked by the RFD and local officials who took part in an operation launched since Feb 7 to check suspected land encroachment on the famous tourist destination.

The officials targeted 48 suspected locations and have, so far, examined only 14 locations, including three cases of alleged encroachment.  A helicopter from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment has been deployed to help in aerial surveillance of the island.

Earlier in January, forest officials launched similar operation on neighbouring Ko Pha-ngan – another favourite tourist destination – to reclaim state land from land encroachers.  The officials searched 19 suspected locations and found seven of them of being illegally encroached, one of them allegedly owned by a local politician.