Yesterday Kamol Nualjai, Director of the Forest Resource Management Office (region 1), along with representatives from various government agencies, visited the Mon Jam area to look into encroachment of forestry land by residents. Over the past few years, many people have been found to be in violation of forestry laws, using public land for their own purposes. Many businesses have been forced to close and buildings torn down.
The group planned to tour five recently-built properties which may be in violation of building regulations. However, upon visiting the fourth location, the group was blocked from leaving by protesting villagers who parked their motorbikes to block their exit.
Around 100 villagers gathered to question the legality of the actions of the authorities themselves, telling CityNews that they needed more clarification as to the roles and intentions of the government representatives.
By 6.30pm 200 villagers had gathered and the Mae Rim district chief came to discuss matters of land rights with protest leaders. The conversation is ongoing.