TRAT — Maritime officials said a residence belonging to an executive at the nation’s largest corporate conglomerate sits illegally on nearly 60 rai (9.6 hectares) of protected forest land.
The Marine and Coastal Resources Department made the determination Wednesday after sending a task force to assess the costal home of Jaran Chiaravanont, a board member of Charoen Pokphand Group, in Trat province.
Ratchai Pornpha, head of the task force, told reporters that 60 rai of the residence sits inside the Tha Som Protected Forest, and is therefore illegal. The property includes a dock for yachts and an area used for fish farming. Jaran’s property manager, who said he wasn’t aware of the intrusion, was arrested.
The enforcement action was the latest in a high-profile effort by authorities to curb illegal development of public lands around the country.
Jaran is a brother of Dhanin Chearavanont, CEO and chairman of CP Group. Dhanin and his family are the wealthiest in the country, according to Forbes
Marine officials said they began an investigation into suspected encroachment by the property in April.
Ratchai said Anant Sawangwai, who managed the property on Jaran’s behalf, said his boss didn’t know the land sat on protected forest. Anant said he would dismantle any encroaching structure and return the land to the authorities, Ratchai said.
Lt. Cmdr. Charnslipa Panphawong, a navy officer who accompanied the raid, said Anant was arrested and charged with violating national forest laws but would not give more details.
Someone answering the phone at the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources said its directors were in a meeting and could not comment further on the raid until Thursday.