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Resort Land Titles

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  • Resort Land Titles

    Land documents were illegally issued for the Phuket “Sri Panwa” Resort

    The luxury resort in Phuket accused of land encroachment will now be investigated by the National Anti-Corruption Commission, the Department of Land, and the Anti-Money Laundering Office. Thailand’s Department of Special Investigations looked into the “Sri Panwa” project in Phuket and said that the resort illegally acquired land rights documents.

    According to Nation Thailand, the DSI found that Sri Panwa land may have been acquired through the illegal issuance of land rights documents. That information will be sent to the NACC and Department of Land to review. Land the project uses for a swimming pool and pathway to Panwa Beach does not have land documents and is in a protected forest under Thailand’s National Reserved Forest Act. The statement from the DSI says that the use of the protected land is considered to be a money laundering offence and the information has been passed on to the Anti-Money Laundering Office for review.

    Last year, the Phuket Land Office reviewed the land title deeds and issued a statement to say the hotel does not occupy state land. The 5-star resort had earlier caught the attention of those on social media when the owner publicly criticised a pro-democracy activist on Instagram, saying the activist should be in jail for statements against the Thai monarchy. Those who support the protest movement called for a boycott of his property and left several negative comments on various review sites. Trip Advisor even temporarily suspended the hotel’s account due to the online attack.

  • #2
    Sri Panwa resort face punishment for illegally acquired land

    Just as the National Anti-Corruption Commission probed Trisara resort, the luxury resort Sri Panwa in Southeast Phuket is facing legal action for land the Department of Special Investigation says was acquired illegally. The resort is accused of acquiring one plot over 3 rai in area with a Nor Sor 3 Gor land document – papers with ownership privileged just short of a Chanote which gives full legal ownership – that were issued illegally.

    The DSI sent information to the Royal Forest Department as their investigation indicated that the land is actually a protected forested area under Section 4 of the Forest Act B.E. 2484 (1941). The Forest Department has jurisdiction to exercise its powers and duties on forest land, but the DSI also forwarded their investigation to the NACC, the Anti-Money Laundering Office, and the Department of Land for their possible involvement in the case.

    The NACC will pursue legal action against the government officials that were involved in allowing the illegal documentation for the land to be created and approved. The Land Department was sent a request to have the documents that claim the land revoked.

    The disputed area is bordered by Panwa Beach and has been utilised by Sri Panwa resort as the location of their swimming pool.

    The Peak Residences

    In yet another unrelated case of illegally built resorts and residences, Kata Beach Co is requesting permission to demolish a property the Supreme Court ruled was constructed illegally. The Peaks Residences in the Kata Beach area has received the go-ahead from Karon Municipality to completely demolish the building and remove all the rubble from the forest area it was built on.

    Forest officials will then plant trees in the area to begin to regrow the forest in the area and compensate for the trees that were cut down to make way for the residences when they were built.


    • #3
      NACC: Trisara resort faces illegal land ownership charges

      Following on from last week’s disclosure of a probe into the upscale Sri Panwa property in Phuket, another luxury property, Trisara resort, faces a similar investigation into illegal land ownership by the National Anti-Corruption Commission. The probe by the NACC into Trisara resort named 29 officials involved in the illegal document issuing, with ex-Phuket Vice Governor Weeraway Janpen being singled out in the corruption that saw land bordering Sirinath National Park and Khao Ruak - Khao Muang National Forest Reserve, federal land the luxury properties appear to be encroaching on.

      The NACC is requesting charges be pursued against 11 officials and for the land ownership to be revoked by the courts and returned to the federal government. Even aside from the legality of ownership, some of the land is at a 35% grade that is also illegal to build on. Bill Barnett from hotelworks says that the boundaries of the Siranat National Park, which follow the coastal areas on the northern part of the island’s west coast, have been a point of contention for many years.

      “The great debate over the actual boundaries of Phuket’s Sirinath National Park have been revisited for over two decades. It’s high time this is clearly set out by the government in order to more clearly understand what is in and what is out of the national park"
      The investigation shows that parent company Three Dolphins created strong types of near-ownership level deeds of 2 plots of land by using the same basic land possession documents of a smaller piece of land. In the simplest terms, it would be similar to using the same 50 baht note to simultaneously pay for 2 separate orders of Pad Thai, or using the same beat-up promissory note to obtain green books on 2 separate motorbikes.

      Essentially, the company had squatting rights to 20 rai of land, but by manipulating documents while upgrading the deeds, they expanded that 20 rai to 38 rai that was split into 2 deeds totalling 51 rai, while simultaneously using the same land papers to grab 14 more rai that was rewritten into 47 rai. So the original 20 rai they had the right to occupy but not own became a total of 98 rai they had full rights to occupy, develop and benefit from almost identical to ownership.

      The term is known as the Flying SorKor 1, and the scheme uses a set of very weak land occupation documents (SorKor 1) for a 20 rai plot to draw up much stronger possession and land use documents (Nor Sor 3) for a much larger 38 rai area. The same documents were then used to claim a different land area covering 14 rai under the strongest ownership deeds, a Chanote.

      In Thai law, a Nor Sor 4 (or “Chanote”) is the only type of land deed that indicates true land ownership. A Sor Kor 1 indicates possession of land but does not legally give ownership of that land and does not carry many rights. These haven’t been issued since 1972 and were generally a way for farmers to farm on the land while not holding legal claim to it.

      A Nor Sor 3 is a title deed that grants rights of confirmed possession of the land, but not true legal ownership. It does allow for the deed holder to benefit from the land as well as develop and build on the land.

      Further, Three Dolphins then divided the 38 rai they had finagled into 2 adjoining plots with the same strong Nor Sor 3 deeds but covering 51 rai instead of 38. They also presented the 14 rai Chanote documents as being Nor Sor 3 documents for an area of 47 rai.