Resort plot ‘belonged to ex-politician’

Resort plot 'belonged to ex-politician'

CHON BURI: A land plot over the hilltop in Sattahip district where a luxury resort was built reportedly belonged to a former local politician who sold the occupation right to the resort operator for 11 million baht.

A source at the navy who disclosed the land deal did not give the name of the politician.

The new occupant had turned the plot into a resort and cargo containers, priced at 2–3 million baht each, were shipped from China to put on the land. The containers were decorated and modified as rooms, each with a swimming pool.

Star Over Sea in Samae Sarn area of Sattahip district entered the media spotlight when the Royal Thai Navy ordered it to suspend operations for allegedly encroaching on state land.

The order came after recent advertisements on social media for sea-view rooms attracted questions online about whether the resort was legally built.

Locals also raised doubts over the authorities’ bid to reclaim public land. The resort was opened to serve tourists early this year but there was no inspection from state agencies, locals claimed.

Navy spokesman Adm Pokkhrong Monthatpalin said on Friday the land on which Star Over Sea resort was built was state land under the care of the navy. Navy chief Adm Choengchai Chomchoengpaet ordered a probe.

An initial inspection found the resort with six rooms was built on state land plot covering more than 4 rai.

Rommanee Joe, owner of the resort, had sought permission from the Sattahip naval base to use the land for housing and agricultural purposes. It had yet to be granted, he added.

The Sattahip naval base has since filed a complaint against Ms Rommanee and coordinated with local leaders in tambon Samae Sarn for the resort owner to stop her business.

Ms Rommamee agreed to close her business and would dismantle the structures, said the spokesman.

Officials from Samae Sarn Tambon Administrative Organisation yesterday ordered the resort to suspend operations.

The TAO also attached the naval base’s order asking the owner to suspend operations, starting from March 10.