Authorities in Thailand are investigating whether corruption is behind claims by public officials and family members that they now own land on Big Buddha Hill, a protected site that overlooks the seaside resort town of Phuket.
Corruption is also suspected in the construction of buildings that illegally encroach on Phuket’s beaches. Phuket was devastated by the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami that swept across the Indian Ocean.
Near the Big Buddha Hill shrine, pictured above, buildings have already been constructed on public land. A former vice governor of Phuket and the daughter of a former Interior Minister are claiming they own much of the site. Other buildings in the area exceed Phuket’s 250 feet height limit.
The corruption investigation was launched ten days before a visit to Phuket by Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and her Cabinet.