A Plutaluang temple has been ordered to stop illegal excavation and razing of trees on a nearby hillside.
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Sattahip District Chief Anucha Intasorn, Plutaluang Mayor Witsanu Tosombat and Bongkot Unreuan, chief of the Banglamung Forest Protection Unit inspected the Phothiya Abbey Phothisamphan branch July 21 and found nearly a dozen backhoes and ten-wheeled trucks removing top soil from the adjacent mountain where a swathe of trees already had been cut down.
Anucha ordered work halted immediately as the abbey had no permit for the work and the land may be protected state property.
Sattahip Deputy District Chief Pikul Sopha said five abbeys continued to live in the monetary after the abbot died and recently launched a project to build a parking lot so more people could come make merit at the abbey’s sermon hall.
Monks blamed a former navy admiral for the scheme. The unnamed officer allegedly donated the original three rai of land on which the abbey was built and had suggested the parking lot idea.
Bongkot said an investigation showed the abbey was not even registered with the National Office of Buddhism and that the land on which it sits, as well as the adjacent land being dug up, have no title deeds.
Land Department officials are now checking whether the excavation was done on government-owned land.