In a move to prevent foreigners from illegally holding land in Thailand through Thai nominees, the Office of the Ombudsman proposes to submit the draft bill to be considered by parliament, reports the Bangkok Post.
Ombudsman Siracha Charoenpanij says the goal of the proposed bill is to prevent foreigners from exploiting loopholes in the law to illegitimately own land and is targeted at foreigners, their legal consultants and nominees. Under the draft bill, foreigners found to be illegally holding land would be liable to imprisonment for a term of up to 20 years and/or a fine of up to 2 million Baht and their consultants would be subject to two-thirds of the penalty imposed on them. To avoid being penalized, a provision of the draft bill allows foreigners found to be illegally holding land to transfer the property to legitimate entities within one year.
In response, various government officials have raised concerns about lax law enforcement and the need for political will to address the problem.
For more information on foreign land ownership in Thailand, please see here.