The eviction order of what Phuket Vice Governor Khajornkiet Rakpanichmanee described as a “discotheque hotel” was handed down yesterday (May 12) at a meeting at Provincial Hall.
The meeting was the last in a series of reviews of a slew of complaints filed at the Darongdhama Centre (Ombudsman’s Office) at Provincial Hall. The complaints alleged encroachment of buildings and hotels onto public land, illegal land excavation, deforestation and coral poaching – all Paradise Beach.
“Every government office, including Patong Municipality, in charge of overseeing all structures built in the area reported that they had ordered the developer to cease construction of the building and banned the building being put into use,” V/Gov Khajornkiet said at the meeting.
“The operator was told to bring land documents as evidence in order to be issued a building permit, but the land document they presented raised too many questions, so officials declined to issue a permit approving the construction,” he added.
“Now, because the operator did not have a building permit, Patong Municipality will issue a demolition notice at the site. Please note that the business operator has the right to appeal this,” V/Gov Khajornkiet said.
However, Patong Mayor Chalermluk Kebsup, noted, “My office is responsible for all buildings in our area, so when we received complaints from residents about the the hotel built on Paradise Beach we investigated right away.
“We ordered construction to cease until a permit had been issued, but they ignored our order and continued their construction until the building was completed and operational.
“We then filed a complaint with the police noting that the company that owns the building had disobeyed an official order.
“Today, this committee has voted to have the building removed within 30 days. If they do not do it themselves within the time given, Patong Municipality will demolish it for them,” she said.
V/Gov Khajornkiet explained that investigation into the illegal hotel had revealed a dubious claim to the land dating back more than two decades.
The land the hotel was built on had been handed over for use as farmland in 1994 under the SorPorKor national land-reallocation project initiated by Agricultural Land Reform Office (ALRO), V/Gov Khajornkiet said.
“ALRO granted a claimant the right to occupy the area so it could be developed for farming back in 1994,” V/Gov Khajornkiet said, without naming the “claimant”.
“Soon officials found out that the claimant did not use the area for farming and further investigation revealed that the claimant never had an occupation in agriculture.
“ALRO revoked the claimant’s right to work on the land and ordered the site to be vacated on October 13, 1995, but the claimant ignored that order. ALRO even filed a law suit, and the court ruled in favour of ALRO,” he added.
Then, on October 20 last year, officials posted a notice at the site re-affirming that the claimant had no rights to the land, said V/Gov Khajornkiet.
“The claimant had eight days to file an appeal with the court, but no one did,” he added.