BANGKOK — Land officials on Wednesday said a coalition politician must hand over her poultry farm today after it was discovered to encroach on public lands reserved for farmers living below the poverty line.
Suriyon Phatcharakrukanont, deputy secretary-general of the Agricultural Land Reform Office, said Phalang Pracharath MP Parina Kraikup has been ordered to hand over her 682 rai (109 hectare) land plot in Ratchaburi province by the end of today. The office has threatened legal actions against her if she refuses.
“The office has ordered Parina to hand over the land without leniency within Feb. 12, not only in the form of letter,” Suriyon said. “If not, the office will pursue legal actions for encroaching on public lands.”
When questioned by reporters today about the ultimatum, Parina said she would contest any legal action, and maintained that she would only comment in court.
“I insist that I did not encroach on any land,” the MP said.
Deputy prime minister Wissanu Krea-ngam previously ordered the Agricultural Land Reform Office and the Royal Forest Department to enforce the law equally against anyone who found to intrude on public land, Suriyon said.
This is not the first time Parina has been given a deadline to hand over the farm. Last December, the office gave her until Dec. 15, which she complied by sending a letter confirming her attention to have over the land on certain conditions. The office rejected her letter.
Nearly three months have passed since the scandal broke out in November. Land officials said they had to wait for the Council of State, which is tasked with interpreting the laws, to reach its decision of which agency is responsible for taking legal actions against Parina.
The decision was finally reached on Tuesday that Parina’s farm is encroaching on protected forest, which is overseen by the Royal Forest Department. The Council of State suggested both agencies to pursue joint legal actions against her since they are both responsible for protecting forest reserves.
Both agencies will meet today to finalize legal actions against Parina.