General Prayut Chan-ocha, in his capacity as head of the National Council for Peace and Order, invoked Section 44 of the interim constitution, empowering Phetchabun provincial governor to deal harshly with land encroachers at Phu Tap Berk in Lom Kao district of Phetchabun province.
The scenic mountain-top is located in 1A, 1B and second class water catchment area which is the origin of the Pasak river. However, because of the cool mountain weather and captivating landscape, Phu Tap Berk has attracted business entrepreneurs who colluded with locals, many of them hilltribesmen, to encroach on once forested land and transform it into resorts, hotels, shops and tourism-related structures.
According to the NCPO’s order, Phu Tap Berk covers Ban Tap Berk, Ban Tap Berk Mai and Ban Na Sa-oong in Tambon Ban Nern, Lom Kao district.
Under the order, the governor is empowered to force the encroachers to dismantle, destroy or to do whatever construction work at Phu Tap Berk and to restore the land as it used to be; to seize, destroy or remove construction work; to order the encroachers to bear all the expenditure caused by the officials in their performance of duty and to demand compensation from the encroachers.