New evidence in park hunting case
- Published: 6/02/2013 at 10:07 PM
- Online news:
Authorities have revealed evidence by a key witness that could ensure prosecution of a senior police officer who so far has been protected by colleagues from facing charges of hunting protected animals inside Kaeng Krachan National Park.
Thai Rath newspaper reported Wednesday that a witness identified as Banjerd Kladlum is under police protection and plans to testify against Pol Lt Col Thirayuth Ketmangmee, a former inspector at Pran Buri police station in Prachuap Khiri Khan, who was caught on Nov 11 with eight civlian suspects who have been charged.
Mr Banjerd was a younger brother of one of the eight civilians, all of whom have been indicted for the alleged illegal hunting. Thai Rath said it got the story from National Parks chief Chaiwat Limlikhit-aksorn.
During police questioning, Mr Banjerd allegedly admitted to taking Pol Lt Col Thirayuth and three others, including his brother, in his boat to the mouth of the 55-kilometre Mae Pradone River. They were later joined by other hunters in three other small boats, and ventured deeper into the park on the now-scandalous hunting expedition.
According to the witness, those accompanying the officer on the first boat were Banjerd’s brother, Saichon, Sanit Aumnuaylaeka, an officer at Phetchaburi’s Rural Roads Office, and Attawut Deeying, a Provincial Electricity Authority official.
Last week, Mr Chaiwat, who heads the investigation jointly with police, expressed confidence that the park had solid evidence to support charges against the police officer, who has been transferred to an inactive post at the Police Provincial Region 7 head office, but still has not been charged in the case.
The suspects were arrested with several weapons, a dead mouse deer and about 100 giant Asian river frogs. The photos and video footage seized from them clearly show the nine suspects together.
All of the alleged hunters have since been indicted except Pol Lt Thirayuth, with investigators saying there was not enough evidence to charge him in the first place.
A public outcry over the decision not to charge the senior officer has prompted assistant national police chief Pol Gen Jarumporn Suramanee to examine the way police handled the case.
About the author
- Writer: Online Reporters
Position: Online Reporters