Landlord seeking big payday accused of forcibly evicting lower-rent tenants

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A commercial-building owner being sued for breaking leases so she could sell the property to hotel developers is now facing criminal prosecution after allegedly sending thugs to forcibly evict the last remaining tenants.

Manasnath Jaikhongsuwant, owner of Power Waves Estate Co., called reporters and police to Soi 5 off Beach Road Oct. 3 after her shop and two others were broken into and all her property tossed into the street. Two tool-wielding Thai men lurking around the pile of office equipment, computers and clothes fled when reporters arrived.

Police investigate the Power Waves Estate Co. after thugs allegedly broke in and forcibly removed the office equipment. Police investigate the Power Waves Estate Co. after thugs allegedly broke in and forcibly removed the office equipment.

Manasnath said she was set to go to court the next day in her lawsuit against landlord Khawnjai Upra, who she accused of breaking her two-year lease after just a year. But hours before the law might settle the dispute in the her favor, Manasnath claimed, Khawnjai sent men to break into her store – and those of adjacent beauty salon and tailor shop holdouts – and remove all their property.

Manasnath said her landlord had not only signed a two-year contract, but promised to extend it for up to five years. However, she said, Khwanjai canceled the 10,000 baht a month rental agreement last month, saying she was selling the entire building and lot to a hotel developer for more money than she could get from rentals.

Manasnath claims Khwanjai demanded all of the buildings tenants vacate and sent thugs with weapons to intimidate those who wouldn’t leave. All but three did.

The realtor said she was now out 100,000 in interior decorating on the unit, as well as the office equipment, most of which was broken or destroyed by the thugs.

Khwanjai was not at the scene, but police took statements and collected evidence with the intent of hauling the landlord into police headquarters for questioning.