Assistant national police chief Pol Lt Gen Jarumporn Suramanee has ordered a new investigation into a senior officer who was cleared of hunting illegally in a national park.
He said he had reviewed evidence in the case and was convinced a prosecution should have gone ahead.
Pol Lt Col Thirayuth Ketmangmee was caught with eight others while allegedly hunting in Phetchaburi's Kaeng Krachan National Park in November.
The eight others suspects were all indicted, while Pol Lt Col Thirayuth, then-inspector at Pran Buri police station in Prachuap Khiri Khan, was cleared due to lack of evidence. Pol Lt Col Thirayuth has been transferred to an inactive post in Provincial Police Region 7.
Public outcry over the decision not to charge the senior officer prompted Pol Lt Gen Jarumporn to examine the police handling of the case.
Pol Lt Gen Jarumporn yesterday inspected evidence in the case, including photos and video footage obtained from the alleged wildlife poachers at the time of their arrest. "After looking at the photos and video, I've found evidence that should have led to a prosecution," Pol Lt Gen Jarumporn said yesterday.
"A new investigation is needed. The photos and video footage clearly show the nine suspects together."
He said the photographs showed Pol Lt Col Thirayuth grilling and eating hunted animals with the other suspects.
Local investigators had claimed the images did not show the officer hunting, and said the photos did not show the date and time they were taken. Forensic police have now been ordered to retrieve the time and date stamps from the photos, Pol Lt Gen Jarumporn said.
One video clip, according to Pol Lt Gen Jarumporn, shows the hunters entering the park by boat on Nov 8. They were also seen cooking a wild frog, he said. "So they cannot say they did not kill an animal," he said. He has also ordered forensic units to dig out the carcass of a krachong (mouse deer) allegedly shot dead by the suspects so the bullet can be retrieved and analysed.