90% of Big Buddha Hill cleared of encroachment

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About 90 percent of illegal structures encroaching on public land on Big Buddha Hill have been removed, Pattaya officials said.

Pattaya was given five rai of Ministry of Defense land from the Royal Thai Navy. After the rights were transferred, Pattaya improved the landscaping but found numerous private ventures had built on part of the land. It ordered all the structures removed Oct. 27.

About 90 percent of illegal structures encroaching on public land on Big Buddha Hill have been removed.
About 90 percent of illegal structures encroaching on public land on Big Buddha Hill have been removed.

Among them was the popular Wang Sam Sien Chinese shrine built by the Mahakitpaisan Foundation. Last July, the Supreme Administrative Court upheld a lower court’s verdict against Mahakitpaisan for building the shrine on public land.

Mongkol Mahakitpaisan, president of the Mahakitpaisan Foundation, turned over ownership of the Khao Phra Yai structure to Acting Mayor Chanapong Sriviset Dec. 9, ending a nearly three-year legal battle.

The city originally planned to raze the shrine, but has reversed course and will now manage it directly.

As for other illegal structures, only posts and heavy objects remain. They are set to be removed shortly.