Premchai shows up to answer poaching charges

Premchai shows up to answer poaching charges

Italian-Thai Development predient Premchai Karnasuta (second left) at Thong Pha Phum police station in Kanchanaburi province on Friday, with deputy national police chief Pol Gen Srivara Ransibrahmanakul (left) having a brief talk with him. (Photo by Piyarach Chongcharoen)
Italian-Thai Development predient Premchai Karnasuta (second left) at Thong Pha Phum police station in Kanchanaburi province on Friday, with deputy national police chief Pol Gen Srivara Ransibrahmanakul (left) having a brief talk with him. (Photo by Piyarach Chongcharoen)

Construction tycoon Premchai Karnasuta turned up at Thong Pha Phum police station in Kanchanaburi province about noon on Friday to answer multiple charges relating to illegal camping and hunting protected wildlife in the province's world heritage forest early last month.

Mr Premchai, 63-year-old president of Italian-Thai Development Plc (ITD), and his three camping companions were questioned separately at the station. Deputy national police chief Srivara Ransibrahmanakul was also present and had a brief talk with Mr Premchai.

Pol Gen Srivara said all four suspects showed up together and were answering interrogators' questions. Afterwards, they could go home, he said. If interrogators had more questions, they would summons the suspects again.

The deputy national police chief also said he informed Mr Premchai he would be prosecuted for firearms violations and possession of African elephant tusks found at his Bangkok residence. Pol Gen Srivara said he advised Mr Premchai to present any evidence he had related to the firearms and tusks.

Pol Gen Srivara said 70-80% of the answers by the suspects were in accord with accusations made by wildlife sanctuary officials. Investigators were waiting for forensic evidence from the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation.

He denied criticism that police were delaying the investigation and prosecution.

Video by Piyarach Chongcharoen


Mr Premchai earlier postponed reporting to police until March 5 after getting a second summons. His presence on Friday was his first public appearance since he was released on 150,000 baht bail by Thong Pha Phum Court on Feb 6.

He and the three other suspects were arrested in possession of guns and ammunition at their campsite in a no-camping area in Thungyai Naresuan Wildlife Sanctuary, a World Heritage site, on the night of Feb 4. Later wildlife protection officials found carcasses of endangered animals including that of a rare  Indochinese black leopard and its bullet-ridden pelt. Reports said they had also cooked and eaten parts of the animals.

The other three suspects are Yong Dodkhruea, 65, of Ratchaburi, and Nathee Riamsaen, 43, from Nakhon Ratchasima, both ITD employees; and Thanee Thummat, 56, from Kanchanaburi.

They face nine charges - including unauthorised hunting in a wildlife sanctuary, unauthorised hunting of protected wildlife, unauthorised possession of wildlife carcasses, and attempted hunting in a wildlife sanctuary.

Other charges are taking firearms into a wildlife sanctuary without authorisation, hiding illegally acquired wildlife carcasses, unauthorised entry into a wildlife sanctuary, unauthorised possession of hunting tools and unauthorised possession of guns and ammunition in the park.


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