NAKHON SAWAN — Police are investigating whether a meditation center known for UFO sightings is encroaching on protected forests, after dual raids on Thursday and Friday.
Dozens of policemen and rangers rushed Khao Kala mountain for a second time Friday to determine whether the Khao Kala Meditation Center, run by a group of UFO believers, is encroaching on forest area. Police have also issued summons for the landowners of the meditation center.
“If we find anyone guilty of wrongdoing, we will file a criminal case against them. If a UFO descends and parks here, that’s even better. We’ll capture them all,” Police Maj. Gen. Damrong Petpong said.
Police were drawn to raid the area after the UFO Kaokala group organized a UFO-watching event for Saturday, with locals reporting that some adherents believe they are mediums for aliens from Pluto.
UFO Kaokala is a group of UFO believers who maintain that aliens communicate with them via meditation. They say their communications with aliens enhance their Buddhist practices and even help them predict natural disasters (a group member predicted in 2017 that World War III will ignite by 2022).
The group was founded in 1998, when nurse Somjit Reapeth said she saw aliens at Nakhon Sawan mountain. Since then, the mountain has become Thailand’s go-to UFO sighting spot.
Saturday’s event is actually Somjit’s birthday. As of press time, an organizer named “Jack,” whose phone number is on the event page, said that the event will still go on, but at the foothills rather than the peak of the mountain. Admission is free and transportation via van from Bangkok will be provided. Contact Jack at the number listed on the event page if interested.
Officials armed with coordinate measuring machines canvassed the mountain from its foothills to its peak on Thursday and Friday.
“The Forestry Department will use satellite GPS to check whether, and how much, the center is on forest space. We will proceed according to the law,” Pinit Laoyuu from the local Forestry Department said.
Pinit said Friday that he estimated about 3 to 5 rai (0.48 to 0.8 hectares) of the meditation center encroaches on forest. He said that forest officials will be securing the area.
“For the time being, we will not allow people to pitch tents or hold activities here since a case is ongoing,” Pinit said.
Charoen Raepetch, the listed owner of the meditation center, was not on site Thursday. When contacted, he said that he would not be returning to the mountain any time soon and half-jokingly said that he was “afraid the Forestry people would capture him.”
Police have summoned Charoen as well as others suspected of being involved in the meditation center for questioning.
Despite the police presence, locals have flocked to the mountain to take photos, exchanging alleged UFO sightings. Some say that the lights at night can be explained away by shooting range practice at a nearly military case. Others are UFO Kaokala adherents with tents, set on seeing aliens via meditation, with or without forestry officials nearby. The mediums include a doctor and a captain in the military.
Chaliew Phoocharoen, the sub-district head of Khao Kala tambon, said that most people living in the area are not alien believers, and that most of the followers are from out-of-town.