Authorities confident about evidence against Premchai

Authorities confident about evidence against Premchai

Park ranger arrest construction tycoon Premchai Karnasuta (seated) and other three others suspected of poaching wildlife at their camping site in a prohibited area of the World Heritage Thungyai Naresuan Wildlife Sanctuary in Kanchanaburi on Sunday. (EPA-EFE/Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation)
Park ranger arrest construction tycoon Premchai Karnasuta (seated) and other three others suspected of poaching wildlife at their camping site in a prohibited area of the World Heritage Thungyai Naresuan Wildlife Sanctuary in Kanchanaburi on Sunday. (EPA-EFE/Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation)

Even without eyewitnesses, officials handling the poaching case against the Italian-Thai Development president and his team members are confident evidence collected from the ground is more than enough to nail them.

Natural Resources and Environment Minister Surasak Kanjanarak called an urgent meeting on Thursday with officials, including western Thungyai Wildlife Sanctuary Wichien Chinnwong, to look into the evidence.

Gen Surasak said after the meeting the evidence was sufficient for police to take action against Premchai Karnasutra and three others arrested at their campsite off-limits to visitors inside the park in Thong Pha Phum district in Kanchanaburi on Sunday.

All four faced nine charges, including illegally poaching protected wild animals at Thong Pha Phum police station. All denied the accusations, saying they were camping there for leisure. They were released on bail after acknowledging the charges.

Park rangers seized from them three rifles, bullets, bullet shells and carcasses of a black leopard, a Kalij pheasant and a barking deer on the ground.

Police and park rangers went back to the area on Wednesday to gather more evidence. What they don't have at this stage are eyewitnesses to back up the police investigation.

But retired Pol Gen Jarumporn Suramanee said forensic and circumstantial evidence, as well as other seized items, could be enough to convict the four suspects.

Pol Gen Jarumporn, a forensic expert who was at the meeting, refused to go into detail on who pulled the trigger in killing the animals based on the evidence seen on Thursday.

He also advised the suspects not to fight the case. "Denying the charges could be a waste of time," the former officer said.

Mr Wichien told reporters he had confidence in police and officials handling the case. "I'm sure nothing is beyond the capability of Thai police and park officials," he said.



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