Rayong protest group locked out of Lakchai Muang Yang industrial estate hearing

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Rayong residents opposed to construction of a new industrial estate were locked out of a supposedly “public” hearing over environmental impacts of the proposed factory zone.

Locked doors and armed Royal Thai Navy sailors greeted protestors who showed up to the March 22 meeting at the Tribeca Enterprise Co. office in Rayong’s Samnakthong Muang District.

Samnakthong President Surin Treetrairattanakul, who chaired the meeting, said soldiers were called to prevent the protest group from entering after officials received information the group would disrupt the session. Members of the general public were allowed entry if they pre-registered, which none of the protestors did, he said.

Some of the protestors make a feeble attempt to break through the military lines.Some of the protestors make a feeble attempt to break through the military lines.

Residents have mobilized to oppose Tribeca’s multibillion-baht industrial project, which calls for downstream rubber and automotive industries to take over 2,042 rai in Rayong’s Lakchai and Muang Yang districts. The project, announced in 2010, received Thailand Board of Trade approval and funding late last year.

Protest leader Theerapol Laipradit alleged that all three of the public hearings Tribeca has organized have been a sham, further claiming that fraudulent documents and government corruption led to the approval of the project.

Surin denied any impropriety in the project’s approval process, saying regulatory and environmental reviews are being conducted in compliance with the law.