BANGKOK — Land officials on Friday said they will give a deadline for a coalition politician to hand over her poultry farm after it was found to encroach on public lands reserved for impoverished farmers.
Vinaroj Sapsongsuk, secretary-general of the Agricultural Land Reform Office, said Phalang Pracharath MP Parina Kraikup will be given seven days to hand over her 682 rai (109 hectare) land plot in Ratchaburi province, since investigators confirmed that she had no right to own it.
“The 682 rai land plot was used to apply for the agricultural land reform program,” Vinaroj said. “According to the law and regulations, she has to hand it over because she’s not a farmer.”
The deadline is on Dec. 15. Vinaroj warned that the land reform office is authorized to seize the land and prosecute legal action against her by using the junta-granted power under Section 44 of the interim charter.
Parina will only face up to a thousand baht fine if she refuses to return the land to the reform office since there’s no punishment for intruding on public lands allocated for farmers under the Agricultural Land Reform Act.
Parina’s entire chicken farm plot is 1,700-rai (272 hectare), with different government offices taking action on different portions of the land. The Agricultural Land Reform Office is asking for 682 rai, while the Forest Department on Thursday put up a notice announcing the confiscation of a 46-rai (7.36 hectare) portion of the total farm, saying it is intruding on protected forest land.
The forestry department also filed a legal complaint for forest encroachment on Monday. If found guilty, Parina faces up to 15 years in jail under forest preservation law, tougher than agricultural land reform law.
While government critics express doubt whether she will face any legal repercussions for her alleged wrongdoing, Phalang Pracharath Party executive Puttipong Punnakan said Friday that there will be no special exception for her.
Parina has repeatedly denied the allegations, saying that she did not violate any laws and possessed the land openly for many years.