Property encroachers spurn relocation help

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Pattaya officials say they are waiting to help homeowners encroaching on public land find new places to live, but few have taken up the offer. The rest are either fighting the eviction notices or holding out hope loopholes in the law will allow them to remain.
Pattaya officials say they are waiting to help homeowners encroaching on public land find new places to live, but few have taken up the offer. The rest are either fighting the eviction notices or holding out hope loopholes in the law will allow them to remain.

Pattaya officials say they are waiting to help homeowners encroaching on public land find new places to live, but few have taken up the offer.

Teeraporn Srichan, director of social support at the Social Development Department, said April 4 that only a few dozen of the hundreds of people facing eviction for building on land around the Naklua, Pukplub and Nokyao canals have asked for relocation assistance.

The rest, she said, are either fighting the eviction notices or holding out hope loopholes in the law will allow them to remain.

Teeraporn said Pattaya has coordinated with the National Housing Authority and others to arrange new accommodations for affected property owners. But in the Pukplub Canal area, only four of 38 families have applied.

Things are worse in the Wat Chonglom Community where 152 households were cited for encroaching on a local canal. Of those, 59 families have appealed their eviction to Chonburi Province and the others have done nothing but ignore the order in hopes of a reprieve.

Likewise, on Soi Photisan, 20 affected households all have appealed their eviction, she said.

Teeraporn said she believes that all of the families cited for encroachment know they are breaking the law, but are denying reality and hoping that a gap in waterway regulations will allow the Marine Department, the final arbiter in encroachment cases, to spare them eviction.

Based on Pattaya’s track record, however, such hopes are foolish, as the city has aggressively prosecuted and demolished structures owned by intransigent residents. Another meeting with those affected was scheduled for April 9.