The governor may not be very effective at preventing and penalising land grabbers but with people intending to acquire land illegally on steep hill slopes it clearly shows Phuket’s land limitations and a hot economy.
Gov Maitri explained, “We originally spotted this eight-rai encroachment from a helicopter. We also received reports from local villagers.”
“First the encroachers killed the existing trees by putting some chemical on them or by ring-barking them. Then they cut them down and burn them.
“Police officers came at night to try to catch them, but they were armed with automatic weapons and managed to escape.
He added that this is not the only area where people are grabbing land. “We are also patrolling the Nakkerd Hills, Koh Sirae and other places too. This is happening all over Phuket.”
He told the accompanying reporters, “I want you to see how hard it is to catch these people. Not only do you have to walk up steep mountains – and do it at night – but it is also dangerous for our volunteer patrols because the other side also have firearms.