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Police chief among 3 charged with encroachment

FORMER deputy police commissioner Pol General Jumpol Munmai and two others have been charged with encroaching on Thap Lan National Park in Nakhon Ratchasima’s Wang Nam Khiao district.

The Royal Thai Police announced yesterday that Jumpol – and Pol Maj-General Pongdej Prommijitr and Chayanit Pisitwanit – had been charged by a forestry official from the Wang Nam Khiao district police. They face charges after local police, the Crime Suppression Division, a local Army infantry battalion, environmental crime police and forestry officials raided a plot of land in the district last Monday.

According to a statement from the Royal Thai Police, the raid found that there were six houses built on the plot under the care of a 47-year-old woman, Tim Uthat.

Tim later told authorities she had been working as a maid on the land since 2005. She said the houses had been built by Jumpol, who came to stay there occasionally. The authorities learned that the other two people charged, a couple, had sold the plot of land to Jumpol.
Authorities measured the plot using a GPS device and found that it had an area of 13 rai (two hectares) located inside Thap Lan National Park.

As a result, forest official Pad Buaban filed a complaint with Wang Nam Khiao police against Jumpol and the other two.

They were accused of occupying forestland and clearing forest without permission, violating articles 54 and 55 of the National Forest Act.

They were also accused of occupying and clearing forest, damaging of the environment – violating articles 16 (1) and (4) of the National Park Act.

Further charges were filed over alleged violations of the Environment Promotion and Protection Act by causing damage to natural resources and state property.
Finally, they were accused of violating Article 14 of the National Forest Reserve Act by damaging and degrading forests.

The Royal Thai Police has announced that the Wang Nam Khiao police will speed up inquiries into the alleged encroachment.

The statement said Cabinet issued a resolution in 1972 to designate Wang Nam Khieo forest as a national reserve. It said Pongdej, a former Wang Nam Khiao deputy police chief, sold the plot to Jumpol in 2011, when Jumpol was head of Provincial Police Bureau 3, and that Tim had been covertly employed to take care of the land and the houses.

Credit: Asia Nation

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