Officials survey a resort in Khao Kho district of Phetchabun to determine whether its owners have legal title to the land.

PHETCHABUN: Officials are surveying 135 resorts in Khao Kho district to find out whether they are encroaching on forests, warning that stricter enforcement of the law is imminent.

Four teams, comprising officers from the provincial peacekeeping task force, forestry officers and local officials, are surveying 2,750 land plots housing the 135 resorts in four tambons: Khao Kho, Sadorpong, Rim Simuang and Nong Maena. 

The survey, which started on Dec 19, is aimed at finding out which resorts are illegally encroaching on Khao Pangkor Wangchompoo Bon forest reserve. So far, 40% of the plots have been surveyed. Authorities intend to complete the task in February.

The action follows an earlier crackdown last year at Phu Thap Boek, another popular tourist site in the northern province. Dozens of resorts were built on the mountain on land that was supposed to have been reserved for local Hmong farmers.

The result has been severe damage to the environment as the area cannot cope with the thousands of tourists that descend on Phu Thap Boek on weekends and holidays.

Owners of the resorts at Khao Kho will be asked to present land occupation documents. Any resorts found to be encroaching on reserved forest land will be ordered demolished. If the owners refuse, legal action would be taken against them, said a survey team member.

Officials began the investigation after receiving information that some resorts were newly built in forest areas despite warnings.

News Reporter

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