The Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plants Conservation has clarified that the land plot in Doi Suthep mountain on which the controversial judges’ housing project is located is outside the territory of Doi Suthep-Pui national park from the very beginning and the department has never issued a Royal Decree to cede the land plot for the construction of the project.
According to the department chief Mr Tunya Netithammakul, the land which is now the Doi Suthep-Pui national park was originally declared “prohibited” for the Royal Forestry Department by virtue of a Royal Decree B.e. 2492 before there was a ministerial regulation issued in 1964 turning it into Doi Suthep national forest reserves before it became a national park.
However, the national park land has overlapped with the land being utilized by state agencies. Later in 2017, a Royal Decree was promulgated excluding the land being used by nine state agencies from the national park land. The nine agencies include the Agricultural Technique Department, the Highland Research and Development Institute (a public company), the Chiang Mai night safari, the Ping Nakorn Office (a public company), the Chiang Mai Rice Seeds Centre under the Royal Projects Foundation, the Rice Department, the Agricultural Promotion and Development Region 6 Office and the National Office of Buddhism.
The land plot on which the housing project of the Region 5 Appeals Court is located used to be “prohibited” land under the supervision of the military in accordance with the Royal Decree B.E. 2483. But in 1957, the “prohibited land” covering over 23,000 rai was ceded by the military to the control of the Treasury Department.
In 1997, a 147-rai land plot of the Treasury Department’s land was ceded to the 5th Region Appeals Court for the construction of a court house and housing units for judges and officials.
Construction started in 2014 and it is now over 90 percent completed.