Police captain rapped over tycoon's animal cruelty charge
A police captain in Kanchanaburi province has been put on probation for accepting a complaint of cruelty to animals, later withdrawn, against construction tycoon Premchai Karnasuta, who is accused of illegally hunting endangered animals in a World Heritage forest last month.
Pol Col Wuthipong Yenjit, chief of Thong Pha Phum police station, has placed Pol Cap Sumit Boonyanit on probation for failing to carefully check the relevant law before accepting the complaint from a wildlife official, a source at the Department of National Park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation said.
Pol Capt Sumit accepted the complaint of cruelty to animals from Narongchai Sangworawongsa, head of animal quarantine in Kanchanaburi, on Feb 7.
The accusation was added to the many other charges that Mr Premchai faces after being arrested by forest rangers at an illegal bush camp in Thungyai Naresuan Wildlife Sanctuary in Thong Pha Phum district on the night of Feb 4.
Mr Premchai and his three companions were found in a no-camping area in possession of long barrelled guns and ammunition. The carcasses of nine hunted protected animals were found nearby, including a rare Indochinese black leopard and its bullet-hole ridden pelt.
They face multiple illegal hunting and firearms charges.
After Mr Premchai's arrest his Bangkok residence was searched, revealing a collection of guns, ammunition, and two pairs of elephant tusks later found to be prohibited ivory from Africa.
On Feb 21, Mr Narongchai withdrew the cruelty complaint. He explained there was no ministerial regulation defining the exact species of wildlife covered by the law on the prevention of cruelty to animals.