Phalang Pracharath’s Parina Denies Land Encroachment

Parina Krakup at the parliament on July 26, 2019.

BANGKOK — An outspoken coalition MP on Tuesday denied the allegation that parts of her poultry farm illegally occupied a protected area.

Parina Kraikupt of Phalang Phracharath Party said in a statement that she did not violate any laws regarding her farm in Ratchaburi province, which forest officials said is squatting on government land reserved for impoverished farmers.

“I have possessed this land plot legally and openly for [many] years,” Parina wrote.

Forest officials seized the farm on Monday in response to complaints from opposition politicians that a 46-rai portion of the plot intrudes on protected forest areas and government land.

Parina was nowhere to be seen on Tuesday and could not be reached for comment. Parina’s father said he couldn’t even contact his own daughter.

“I can only give her my moral support, but we aren’t talking right now,” Thawi Kraikupt told reporters. “She doesn’t pick up her phone for anyone.”

Officials said they were also preparing to file a criminal complaint against Parina on charges of land encroachment, which carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in jail.

But many government critics express doubt whether Parina would face any legal repercussions for her alleged wrongdoing. Similar public land encroachment scandals involving politicians and well-connected figures faded away from public memories without any major consequences.

In 2016, investigators said a holiday home owned by a board member of Thailand’s largest conglomerate, CP, infringed on public land, but did not pursue any legal action against him. Officials said the work was done without the executive’s knowledge.

More recently, in 2018, photos of mansions carved into the side of Doi Suthep mountain enraged netizens and conservationists. It later emerged that the dachas belonged to court judges. Officials later ruled they were perfectly legal.