Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Thai elephant ride biz fights eviction

Thai elephant ride biz fights eviction

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Ayutthaya Elephant Palace and Royal Kraal is fighting an order for it to leave the Ayutthaya Historical Park in Thailand where it has been based for more than two decades. SUPPLIED/THE NATION

Thai elephant ride biz fights eviction

An elephant rides business is fighting an order for it to leave the Ayutthaya Historical Park where it has been based for more than two decades.

“We will petition the Central Administrative Court next week,” Ittiphan Khaolamai said on Thursday in his capacity as the manager of the Ayutthaya Elephant Palace and Royal Kraal.

“We can’t accept the order requiring us to vacate our current location within 30 days. It’s not fair. What wrong have we done?”

With about 200 staff and 70 elephants, the business has had a long presence at the park in Ayutthaya province. It offers various tour activities, including elephant rides through the park.

“We are a nationally recognised attraction. How can you simply tell us to go?” Ittiphan asked.

‘Landscaping plan’

He was speaking after he received a letter from the Fine Arts Department, which demanded that the Ayutthaya Elephant Palace and Royal Kraal vacate its spot inside the Ayutthaya Historical Park within one month.

Laithongrien Meephan, who owns the Ayutthaya Elephant Palace and Royal Kraal, admitted that the latest land-lease contract with the park ended on January 9.

“But we have long renewed it on an annual basis anyway,” he said. According to him, the lease fee is 10,000 baht ($325) per month.

Sukanya Baonoed, the director of the park, said the lease contract with the elephant palace had ended and “we need to reclaim the area for landscape improvement”.

Laithongrien said the park should just tell him how the landscape improvement could be done, because he was ready to oblige. He said the order for his business to leave the spot would do more harm than good.

“Humans and elephants alike will be adversely affected,” he said. Mahouts and people working in related businesses such as tour guides and tuk-tuk drivers will suffer if the elephant palace shuts down.

“We have been together for more than 20 years,” Laithongrien said. He did not believe in a claim that his business was not suitable for the park’s World Heritage status.

The Ayutthaya Historical Park has been a Unesco World Heritage Site since 1991.

Ayutthaya governor Sujin Chaichumsak suggested that the representatives of the historical park and the elephant palace should explore options and come up with a solution. THE NATION (THAILAND)

MOST VIEWED

  • Draft law on state of emergency pending finalisation

    Prime Minister Hun Sen will lead a top-level meeting on Tuesdays to review the draft law on imposing a state of emergency. Meantime, he has decided to close all casinos in Cambodia effective April 1. In the press conference after the National Assembly met today, Hun

  • State of emergency on table amid pandemic

    Prime Minister Hun Sen, his deputy prime ministers and legal team will meet on Tuesday to review the draft law on declaring a state of emergency, as Covid-19 cases rose to 107 in the Kingdom on Monday. Speaking at a press conference after a parliament meeting

  • Stranded passengers petition UK for help

    Some 10,521 people have signed an online petition calling on British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and relevant officials to fly nearly 200 passengers out of Cambodia. The petition is targeted at 15,000 people. Most of the passengers are British nationals, who are stranded in Cambodia after airlines cancelled

  • Many in limbo as tension heightens

    As the Kingdom restricts travel and prepares for a state of emergency, some foreigners in Cambodia are scrambling for a way home. Foreign embassies in Phnom Penh are making efforts to get their citizens out, but cancelled flights have become common due to the coronavirus

  • Covid-19 Pandemic: Force majeure and legal consequences

    Is the Covid-19 pandemic considered an event of force majeure? The World Health Organisation declared the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak a pandemic on March 11. Following this declaration, the Ministry of Health and other ministries have taken various legal and administrative measures to prevent the rapid

  • State of emergency draft law set for NA

    A draft law aiming to place the Kingdom in a state of emergency amid the Covid-19 pandemic is set for a debate at the National Assembly (NA) after going through the Council of Ministers’ Standing Committee meeting led by Prime Minister Hun Sen on Tuesday.