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Posted: 24 Aug 2009 | 2:55 pm
The cover story in today's Bangkok Post which quotes a leading research body as saying Foreigner's own 90% of Phuket beach land certainly has struck an ugly cord of anti overseas ownership of land in the country. The study which was put together by the Thailand Research Fund quotes a professor from Sukhothai Thammathirat University who says these holdings are using Thai nominees.
Much of the current controversy stems from the recent reports of foreign parties looking to enter into the rice and farming business in the country, whereas Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva recently told the media the existing Foreign Business Act explicitly forbid this and any violations would result in revoked land titles.
Viewing the Bangkok Post story it's disappointing to see such as one sided story hit page 1 which clearly is aimed at sensationalism. No facts or supporting documents have been presented, no investigations by the Post journalist's and no responsive comments from legal foreign land owners of beach front property. It clearly is a step backward to the days of the Foreign Business Act two years ago which plunged the property business into a serious flattening of demand.
Viewing the claims by the report, factually speaking there is little beach front land available in Phuket as a large portion of the areas have roadways constructed on it such as Patong or Karon. Go to Bangtao and Laguna Phuket has legal title to its large-scale land holdings though the Thai Government's Board of Investment scheme. Looking at Mai Khao Anantara and Marriott are owned by Thai listed firm Minor. Local owned hotels such as Kata Thani, Thavorn, Sri Panwa, and Sala have considerable areas. Even more material is the expansive Sirinath National Park which covers much of the west coastline of Phuket and has no land owning on it.
It's disappointing to see the Bangkok Post publish this type of tabloid sensationalism, and certainly it will only further hamper efforts to encourage foreign investment during the current recession and property downturn. If the reports are correct then the Post should publish evidence of the 90% of these nominee details rather then flame an issue which only damages the countries reputation amongst the investment community.
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