Thai authorities demolish resorts in parks, but struggle to prosecute encroachers

Since October 2020, Thailand’s national parks authority has demolished or ordered the demolition of more than 20 luxury mansions, resorts and tourist hotels illegally built in national parks throughout the country’s Western Forest Complex, a globally significant biodiversity conservation corridor.

Among the properties already demolished are a 3.2-hectare (8-acre) resort with 20 bungalows, allegedly belonging to the daughter of a retired general, and a 17-bungalow resort reportedly owned by a retired general. Other demolished properties include a mansion belonging to the owner of a milk factory, and a floating hotel with a blue granite swimming pool.

Fifteen of the properties already torn down or awaiting demolition sat on the banks of the Srinakarin Dam’s 420-square-kilometer (162-square-mile) reservoir. The old-growth tropical forests surrounding the reservoir form an integral part of Srinakarin Dam National Park.

Six others sat in Sai Yok National Park, on the banks of the world-famous Kwai Noi River.

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Kannikar Petchkaew