The raids were part of a major operation against land encroachment on tourist islands off the coast of Surat Thani.
A combined force of police, soldiers, forestry officials and local administration officers, led by deputy police chief Srivara Ransibrahmanakul, seized Big Chill Resort, Lighthouse Resort, Mellow Mountains Bar and Rin Beach Resort.
The four places were among the 19 resorts, bars and restaurants on the island inspected in Monday’s operation on suspicion of being built on encroached land, said Supphachai Suksai, head of the Royal Forest Department’s 4th southern forest encroachment prevention and suppression centre.
He said the three resorts and the restaurant were clearly found to have encroached on public land, while the rest were pending further inspection to determine if they encroached or not, said Mr Supphachai.
Big Chill Resort, consisting of nine bungalows, is located on 4 rai of land on Khao Hin Nok mountain in Moo 1 village of tambon Koh Phangan. Thawil Danwiriyakul identified himself as the owner of the resort during Monday’s raid.
Mellow Mountains Bar, a restaurant owned by Duangruedi Saelim that has previously been raided by soldiers for unlawfully serving magic mushroom (Psilocybe cubensis) smoothies to foreign customers, is also in the Had Rin Beach area. The amount of land it occupies was not announced.
The four businesses were seized for violating the Royal Forest Act (1941) and the 1954 Land Code, and for encroaching on the river.
“Tough legal action will be taken against the offenders no matter who they are, local leaders or business people alike,” he said.
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