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Isoc Region 4 and Local Authorities Unite to Combat Koh Samui Land Encroachment

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The Internal Security Operation Command (Isoc) Region 4 has taken a significant step forward by partnering with local authorities to investigate the controversial issue of land encroachment on Koh Samui in Surat Thani. The primary focus is on the 600 villas that have been constructed on the island’s scenic hilltops. Maj Gen Anusorn Ourai, the deputy commander of the Fourth Army Region, recently presided over a pivotal meeting to discuss what has been dubbed the “Samui Model” operation.

This initiative is geared towards combating environmental destruction, illegal land ownership, steep hilltop property constructions, and illicit business enterprises by foreign investors who exploit Thai nominees in the Koh Samui district. Col Dusit Kaysornkaew, head of the Fourth Army Region’s land investigative unit, revealed that a task force comprising eight different agencies would be formed. Their mission? To meticulously inspect the 600 properties across six specific areas of Koh Samui suspected of violating several critical laws: the Hotel Act, the Enhancement and Conservation of National Environmental Quality Act, the Building Control Act, and the Foreign Business Act.

The operation is set to launch in full swing as soon as it receives the green light from the commander of the Fourth Army Region. Maj Gen Anusorn indicated that Isoc Region 4 would initiate legal proceedings next week against two legal entities that own rented villas in tambon Bo Phut on Koh Samui. These villas have previously been found to be in violation of the aforementioned laws.

An anonymous source has disclosed that there are roughly 17,000 legal entities registered in Surat Thani. Astonishingly, almost 9,000 of these entities have a single authorized signatory. The bulk of these dubious legal entities are based on the sun-kissed shores of Koh Samui and Koh Phangan islands. Registered through Thai nominees, their authorized signatories are invariably foreigners, raising concerns about the authenticity and legality of these businesses.

The Department of Special Investigation (DSI), in collaboration with several other agencies, conducted a dramatic raid on a law and accounting firm in Phuket just this Thursday. This company, ostensibly owned by foreigners and similarly registered through Thai nominees, is suspected of being the linchpin for approximately 60 illegal business ventures throughout Thailand. These ventures, which range from luxurious hotels and trendy restaurants to lucrative real estate properties, collectively boast a staggering cash flow of 200 million baht.

The gravity of the situation has not been lost on the authorities, who are resolute in their endeavor to restore legal and environmental order to Koh Samui and beyond. The “Samui Model” operation stands as a testament to their commitment to safeguarding the natural beauty and integrity of Thailand’s stunning islands while ensuring that the law is upheld and justice served. Whether it’s the panoramic hilltop villas or the hidden financial intricacies, the task force is determined to leave no stone unturned in their quest to preserve and protect the region’s landscapes and legal sanctity.


  1. grower134 June 8, 2024

    Finally, someone is taking action! These villas are ruining the natural beauty of the island. Glad there’s an initiative to address it.

    • Joe June 8, 2024

      You sound like a tourist who’s never had to live here. Tourism is our lifeline. Those villas bring in a lot of money.

      • Sandy P. June 8, 2024

        True, but at what cost? The environment is suffering, and soon, the tourists won’t come if there’s nothing beautiful left to see.

      • grower134 June 8, 2024

        Exactly, Sandy. Short-term gains shouldn’t come at the expense of long-term sustainability.

  2. Larry Davis June 8, 2024

    Is it just me or does this sound like a witch hunt against foreign investors? It’s not like locals are saints.

    • Elle June 8, 2024

      That might be true, but local investors usually follow the rules. Foreigners using Thai nominees to bypass laws is a different level of deceit.

      • Larry D June 8, 2024

        Deceit? Really? It’s called trying to do business in a restrictive environment. If the laws were more business-friendly, maybe they wouldn’t need to resort to such tactics.

      • Elle June 8, 2024

        Well, maybe Thailand has those laws for a reason—to protect its resources and people!

        • Paul June 9, 2024

          It’s its people that sell the land.

    • Paul June 9, 2024

      I always find it rather amusing that it’s illegal for foreigners to buy land and yet it seems ok that locals sell land to foreigners but nothing is said about that.
      Additionally every company formed has to be approved by the relevant Government Department. They accept the fee and provide an official legal Government stamp of approval.
      When an application to build is made this will obviously clearly state the location and building plans.
      Building can only go ahead when plans are approved by the Government agency involved, they accept the fee and provide the official Government stamp.
      Perhaps the investigators actually need to look rather more inwards to find the culprits.
      Pretty difficult to defend your position when you have taken fees and given approval as a Government Department to then turn round and say nothing is legal!
      Be interesting to see how that stands up in an International Court of Law.
      That being said, I personally despair of all the totally out of control and unsightly and even dangerous development going on.

  3. Carter June 8, 2024

    These laws are so archaic! The government should revamp these laws to encourage more foreign investment. The island’s economy would flourish.

    • Tina June 8, 2024

      At what cost, Carter? Would you prefer a booming economy over a destroyed environment? Think of the long-term consequences.

    • Rick June 8, 2024

      Hey Tina, it’s not one or the other. We can have sustainable development and still encourage business.

  4. Moni June 8, 2024

    I was there last year, and the villas are an eyesore. I support this operation. If these businesses are illegal, shut them down.

    • Alex June 8, 2024

      Not all of them are illegal. Some have followed the process but are being lumped in with the bad actors.

  5. Patrick J June 8, 2024

    Honestly, how many operations like this have we seen, and then nothing really happens? I’ll believe it when I see actual results.

    • Lucy June 8, 2024

      That’s a fair point. But this does seem more significant than past efforts. Maybe this time we’ll see change.

    • Patrick J June 8, 2024

      I’m holding out hope, but not holding my breath, Lucy. There’s always too much red tape.

  6. Lisa June 8, 2024

    If they follow through, it will set a strong precedent. Other areas might follow suit, and we could see widespread reform.

  7. Barb June 8, 2024

    What about the locals who rely on these businesses for their livelihood? This operation might put them out of work.

  8. Ronnie June 8, 2024

    Interesting, will this just remain an isolated effort or can we expect similar crackdowns in other tourist spots in Thailand?

    • Tara June 8, 2024

      I think if this succeeds, other places will follow. Phuket, Pattaya—they all have similar issues.

  9. Mario June 8, 2024

    Why should foreigners enjoy benefits that locals can’t have? This has been a long time coming.

    • Tim June 8, 2024

      Mario, it’s not about enjoying benefits; it’s about investment. Foreign money can boost local economies.

    • Clara V. June 8, 2024

      Boost local economies, sure. But not if that’s done by breaking the laws and exploiting loopholes.

  10. Emma June 8, 2024

    I wonder how they’ll handle the backlash from affected businesses. This won’t be smooth sailing.

  11. Casey June 8, 2024

    This ‘Samui Model’ sounds great on paper, but I have my doubts about its execution.

  12. Hannah June 8, 2024

    Seems like another case of ‘too little, too late.’ The damage is already extensive.

    • Zach June 8, 2024

      Better late than never, Hannah. At least they’re doing something now.

  13. Sophie June 8, 2024

    As someone who lived in Koh Samui, I can say this is much needed. Visitors are disrupting the local lifestyle.

  14. Rick June 8, 2024

    Do you think targeting these villas will actually solve the problem? It seems like a band-aid on a bigger issue.

  15. Nick June 8, 2024

    So many of these ‘Thai nominees’ are just puppets. Why not go after the real bosses—foreigners hiding behind these setups?

  16. Lily June 8, 2024

    Sounds good on the surface, but this could just scare off legitimate investors too.

  17. Paul June 8, 2024

    What’s stopping these illegal businesses from just relocating to another part of Thailand?

  18. Cathy June 8, 2024

    Interesting to see how this pans out. Illegal business practices are rampant, and it’s high time something is done.

  19. Becky June 8, 2024

    How many of these ‘authorities’ are actually on the take? Corruption is a two-way street.

  20. Daniels June 8, 2024

    It’s just a start. If they really want change, they’ll have to keep the momentum going beyond Koh Samui.

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