A RECENT court verdict has given guidelines to the Department of Special Investigation for the handling future land-dispute cases.
Pol Lt Colonel Prawut Wongseenin, director of the DSI’s Bureau of Consumer Protection and Environmental Crime, said yesterday that the Phuket Provincial Court had dropped land-encroachment charges against two locals living on Rawai beach.
Even though the plaintiff produced title deeds issued back in 1955, the court dropped the case on December 14, citing weak evidence of encroachment.
The court had taken into consideration the fact that aerial images suggested sea gypsies might have lived in the area before the issuance of the deeds.
Records at a local school showed children of sea gypsies have enrolled there since 1932.
DNA tests also found that bones from a local cemetery shared features with the sea gypsies presently living in the area.
The accused must have lived in the area for several generations already.
“The court verdict may set a precedent for many other land-dispute cases along the coast of not just Phuket but also many other southern provinces such as Satun, Phang Nga, Ranong and Krabi,” Prawut said.