Pattaya takes ownership of Big Buddha Hill Chinese shrine

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Pattaya took over ownership of Wang Sam Sien on Big Buddha Hill, a Chinese shrine built privately on public land that city hall was set to demolish.

Pattaya took over ownership of Wang Sam Sien on Big Buddha Hill, a Chinese shrine built privately on public land that city hall was set to demolish.
Pattaya took over ownership of Wang Sam Sien on Big Buddha Hill, a Chinese shrine built privately on public land that city hall was set to demolish.

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.

In July, the Supreme Administrative Court upheld a lower court’s verdict against Mahakitpaisan for building the shrine on public land. Pattaya received rights to five rai of Ministry of Defense land from the Royal Thai Navy. After the rights were transferred, Pattaya improved the landscaping. However, Mahakitpaisan built Wang Sam Sien there in 2013.

The city said last summer it would demolish the temple if it were not turned over to the city. Even then, it still might be leveled, but Chana­pong admitted it was popular with tourists.

The decision was since made to keep the shrine open.

The compound contains 24 visual “stories” telling tales of gratitude as well as statues of Chinese gods including Guanyin, the goddess of mercy.

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