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Land Dept Claims 90% Of Prime Phuket Land Controlled By Foreigners

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Land Dept. claims 90% of prime Phuket land controlled by foreigners

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Aerial shot of Patong beach, Phuket.

Photo: Nicky Vermeulen

Foreigners found guilty will have their land seized before being deported

PHUKET: -- Phuket leads all of Thailand in the amount of land held by foreigners, with up to 90 per cent of prime beachfront land being illegally held through Thai nominees, claims one of the country’s top land officials.

Speaking at a recent seminar on legal issues relating to land ownership, Land Inspector Sriracha Charoenpanit said Thailand’s positive characteristics, friendly people and hospitality made it an attractive place for foreigners to want to live, work and acquire land.

The cumulative effect of this had been a growing problem of land ownership though Thai “nominees”, he was quoted as saying in a Thai-language report on the state-run MCOT website.

Thailand was one of many countries experiencing this problem, he said.

“Thailand must rectify these problems by tightening up existing laws and adding stricter conditions regarding land ownership by foreigners. This must include penalizing violators, including the nominees,” he said.

In response to the problem, new legislation is currently being drafted and expected to be made law in August. The new legislation will make it easier to prosecute violators, the head of the Land Department said.

Mr Sriracha explained that the law being drafted will be similar in principle to the anti-money laundering laws.

The law would also expand legal measures, better define what constitutes a violation, specify penalties and make it easier to prosecute violators, he said.

Penalties for Thai nominees could as much as double existing punishments, while foreigners found guilty will have their land seized before being deported, he said.

Mr Sriracha said foreigners had already acquired about one-third of all Thai land, about one billion rai.

The land grab was most prominent in resort destinations such as Phuket, Koh Samui and Koh Chang, where foreigners currently hold land to run resorts or have second homes, he said in his speech.

Failure to stop the problem would put Thais at a competitive disadvantage, restricting their access to land and putting the national food supply in jeopardy, he said.

The bill should be ready in August. If passed into law, inspections would follow, he said.

After the speech Mr Sriracha confirmed in an interview that initial surveys by land inspectors found Phuket had more land controlled by foreigners than any other province, with the figure reaching to 90 per cent in beachfront areas.

Similar situations existed in Pattaya, Cha-am, Hua Hin and parts of Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai, he said.

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-- Phuket Gazette 2011-07-02

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Mr Sriracha said foreigners had already acquired about one-third of all Thai land, about one billion rai.

Are you serious?

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"putting the national food supply in jeopardy"?

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The cumulative effect of this had been a growing problem of land ownership though Thai “nominees”, he was quoted as saying in a Thai-language report on the state-run MCOT website.

Thailand was one of many countries experiencing this problem, he said.

Are other countries suffering from this?

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so the 40 people who own 12% of Thailand's wealth want a bit more?

i seem to remember something like this emerging from Phuket before - methinks some official has got a bit of a complex? (forgive the pun)

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so the 40 people who own 12% of Thailand's wealth want a bit more?

i seem to remember something like this emerging from Phuket before - methinks some official has got a bit of a complex? (forgive the pun)

Yes sounds like a bit of nationalistic chest pumping so the Chinese autocracy can make a land grab and blame it on farang... what else is new?

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This is going to do wonders for the real estate market here, just at a time when they need all the help they can get. :(

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There will be a big hole if this foreigners go back and taker there land together.

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Running them off conveniently makes the land free to be bought up cheap by locals powers, now that the nasty farangs have paid to develop and build in it. Some things never change.

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No worries in Australia,

We have already sold off the land to foreigners such as the Hong Kong Chinese.

And all quite legally!

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Old news. I think someone didn't get their fair share and decided to "rattle" things up a bit.

But i'm pretty sure the officials will go after the little fish first, retirees and so forth,... you know... to show that they are "hard" at work at finding the "bad" guys.

Don't you just love greed!

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Be interested to know the details about this legislation and who is putting it through - surely it being passed will be dependant on the government at the time and with an election tomorrow there seems to be some doubt who this will be.

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the day before the general election blame it all not on the local ruling class, but on those pesky foreigners - so confused voters would cast their vote on the status quo and "social order" parties.

nationalistic frenzy is the best way to divert an attention from the real (and not an imaginary) social issues, like poverty and lack of justice.

kun sriracha is a good lapdog of the army, that's why he was appointed a member of Constitution Drafting Committee back in 2007, why he got a cushy job in the one of the most corrupted governmental departments and why he has spoken now about the foreigners

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More legislation...

Just what's needed.

Bad Bad foreigners, investing all that money and making the economy grow... Very bad for Thailand. They should feel the full force of the law for their crimes.

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I wonder how this will affect married couples. The authorities know that when a foreigner marries a poor Thai woman, and they buy a house together, which is put in her name, that the money came from the foreigner. I suppose we all have to find ways to make it look like the money came from her. The silly consequence is that if the land is confiscated, the Thai wife will lose both her home and husband. Then the rich can buy the land at a bargain basement price. Have the officials been on a study trip to Zimbabwe, by any chance?

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BANGKOK 22 July 2017 13:35
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