Tourists bake in the sun at a beach on Koh Poda in Krabi’s Muang district. (Photo by Yvonne Bohwongprasert)
The Appeal Court has ordered a resort developer to return a large block of land on Koh Poda in Krabi to the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation.
The department has been locked in a dispute for several years with Chuan Pukaoluan over ownership of 77 rai of land on the island, which is not far off the coast in Muang district.
He sued the department in the provincial court in 2015 for encroaching on the land that he claimed to have owned since 1952. The Krabi Court ruled in July last year in his favour, forcing the agency to remove all structures from the island, but did not award him the 3 million baht in damages he claimed.
The department appealed against the judgement in the Civil Court.
Director-general Thanya Nethithammakul said on Friday the Appeal Court on Thursday reversed the preliminary ruling and ordered Mr Chuan to return the land to the agency and pay the department’s legal costs of 500,000 baht, plus 400,000 baht in court fees.
Mr Thanya praised the work of all agencies involved in the successful appeal, which included the Department of Special Investigation and Department of Agriculture.
Aerial pictures of the disputed land and scientific proof of the age of the coconut trees planted in the area were among evidence used to dispute the plaintiff’s claim of ownership, he said, without going into further details.
Mr Chuan could not be reached for comment.
He is a former mayor of Krabi municipality and built a resort on the island, famous for its snorkeling sites and beautiful beaches. The department has consistently argued that the land is part of Nopparat Tara-Mu Koh Phi Phi National Park.