Police: Premchai's firm encroaches on forests

A group of students hold an activity for the prosecution of Premchai Karnasuta, president of Italian-Thai Development Plc, for illegal poaching at Chulalongkorn University on Tuesday. (Photo by Patipat Janthong)

Italian-Thai Development Plc president Premchai Karnasuta has allegedly encroached on some 6,000 rai of forest land in Loei province, according to police.

Thai media reported on Tuesday deputy police chief Srivara Ransibrahmanakul was in Phu Rua and Dan Sai districts in the upper Northeast to check on his land holdings after he had information Mr Premchai might have encroached on forest land.

He found Mr Premchai had three businesses in the province. Chateau de Loei is a winemaker and Phu Rua Vanothayan is a vineyard in Phu Rua while Rang Yen Resort is in Dan Sai.

According to police, Mr Premchai owns 147 plots totalling 6,215 rai of land through C.P.K. International Co Ltd in the form of Nor Sor 3 Kor land rights documents.

In 2003, the documents were revoked and the company applied for a concession to replace them as allowed under Section 12 of the Land Act for 6,229 rai to grow crops and flowers.

Before the application was approved, the company withdrew its application following the news that land titles would be given out for 679 rai adjacent to his land. Six of the 679 rai was part of the land it occupied.

Mr Premchai's company has farmed on 6,215 rai of land in Loei since 2003 without documents, says Pol Gen Srivara. (Bangkok Post file photo)

The company applied for a concession again for 6,215 rai and once more withdrew the application because of the news of more land titles would be given out this year.  

Pol Gen Srivara said aerial photos show the company had farmed on 6,215 rai since 2003 even though the Nor Sor 3 Kor land documents had been cancelled and no concession had been approved.

“Farming on the land is tantamount to encroaching on forest land under the forest, land and environment laws,” Pol Gen Srivara said.

The damage to the state is estimated at 600 million baht, he added.

The Royal Forest Department and the Lands Department have also filed complaints against the company while Mr Premchai is involved as a director.

The deputy police chief said he would check Mr Premchai’s land holdings in other provinces as well. 

On Feb 4, Mr Premchai, together with three others, was caught with carcasses of animals of endangered species and several firearms in a prohibited area of the World Heritage Thungyai Naresuan Wildlife Sanctuary in Kanchanaburi province.

He was charged with hunting animals of endangered species, hunting in prohibited areas and possession of firearms. He denied the charges. 

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