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

  • Seven positive for Covid-19, Hun Sen confirms local transmission

    Prime Minister Hun Sen announced that there has been local community transmission of Covid-19. However, he urged the people not to panic even though the Ministry of Health announced the discovery of seven new cases on Sunday. Among the victims are Chhem Savuth, the director-general

  • Cambodia at ‘most critical moment’, Hun Sen warns

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said the first community transmission of Covid-19 in Cambodia has led the country to the “most critical moment” that warranted urgent, large-scale operations to contain the pandemic. Hun Sen, who confirmed the first local transmission on November 28, said the source of

  • PM confirms community transmission, calls for unity

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has called on the public to stay calm, unite and follow the Ministry of Health guidelines after the wife of a senior official tested positive for Covid-19 in the Kingdom’s first case of community transmission. The case has drawn criticism

  • Over 110 garment factories close

    A government official said on November 22 that at least 110 garment factories had closed in the first nine months of the year and left more than 55,000 workers without jobs – but union leaders worry those numbers could be much higher. Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training undersecretary

  • Singapore group seeks $14M in damages from PPSP over ‘breach of contract’

    Singapore-based Asiatic Group (Holdings) Ltd is seeking a minimum of $14.4 million relief from Cambodia Securities Exchange (CSX)-listed Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone Plc (PPSP) for allegedly breaching a power plant joint venture (JV) agreement. Asiatic Group’s wholly-owned Colben System Pte Ltd and 95 per

  • PM vows to protect Hun family

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has vowed to continue his fight against opposition politicians who he said intend to smash the Hun family. Without naming the politicians but apparently referring to former leaders of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), Hun Sen said there