RTP trying to retake land on Lipe island from encroachers

Deputy police chief Pol Gen Virachai Songmetta went to Lipe island in the Ko Tarutao Marine National Park in Satun province on Monday (Nov 13) in an attempt to reclaim a plot of public land which was originally intended for the Royal Thai Police to build a police station and living quarters but had been illegally occupied by encroachers to build a luxury resort.

Pol GenVirachai was accompanied in the trip by officials of the Land Department and the National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department.

The Royal Thai Police (RTP) had earlier asked the Royal Forest Department to use 15 rai land on Lipe island to build a coordination centre for the rescue of victims of sea disasters.

The Department granted permission to the RTP to use 10 rai of land.

However, the land was later encroached by investors who built a luxury resort on 9.5 rai, leaving only a half rai for the RTP to build a makeshift office to work.

The resort owner filed a lawsuit against the RTP, accusing it of encroaching on the land. The lawsuit was dismissed by the Supreme Court because the RTP had obtained permission from the Royal Forest Department to use the 10 rai land.

It is still unclear how the encroachers had obtained land right documents for the land in dispute.

Pol Gen Virachai said it was believed the land docuements were issued with help from some former senior officials of the province.

He said the RTP will issue a summons for the former officials to testify. If they were found to have been involved in the wrongdoing, warrants would be sought for their arrests, he added.