Premchai denies charges of illegal possession of firearms

Premchai denies charges of illegal possession of firearms

President of Italian-Thai Development Premchai Karnasuta acknowledges but denies charges of illegal possession of firearms seized from his residence in Bangkok in February. (File photo)
President of Italian-Thai Development Premchai Karnasuta acknowledges but denies charges of illegal possession of firearms seized from his residence in Bangkok in February. (File photo)

Construction tycoon and accused wildlife poacher Premchai Karnasuta acknowledged but denied charges of illegal possession of firearms seized from his residence in Bangkok, at the Criminal Court on Tuesday.

The Italian-Thai Development Plc president on Tuesday reported to the court to acknowledge charges of illegal possession of firearms.

Prosecutors from Region 8 decided to indict Mr Premchai in the Criminal Court on April 11 for illegal possession of firearms in violation of the Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and Fireworks Act, NCPO order No.44 and the Criminal Code.

The prosecutors’ decision came after investigators from the Natural Resources and Environmental Crime Suppression Division reportedly found 43 firearms and a quantity of ammunition during a Feb 7 search of Mr Premchai’s residence on Soi Sun Wichai 3 in Huai Khwang district, Bangkok. Five of the guns were unlicensed.

Mr Premchai, escorted by his lawyer, denied the charge and insisted he would fight the case in court. He was released on 200,000 baht bail.

The president of Italian-Thai Development and three employees were arrested on the night of Feb 4 for alleged illegal hunting in Thungyai Naresuan Wildlife Sanctuary, a Unesco World Heritage site, in Kanchanaburi province.

They were found in possession of the bodies of protected animals, including a rare black leopard and its pelt.

Police submitted an investigation report recommending his indictment on 11 charges, but prosecutors decided to press only six charges against Mr Premchai.

These are carrying firearms in public without permission, colluding to hunt wildlife in a wildlife sanctuary without permission, hunting protected wildlife without permission, possessing protected wildlife carcasses without permission, concealing wildlife carcasses obtained illegally, and collecting wildlife items in a national forest reserve without permission.

The five charges dropped were entering a wildlife sanctuary without permission, possessing wildlife-hunting tools, attempting to hunt wildlife in a wildlife sanctuary without permission, committing cruelty to animals, and possessing firearms and ammunition without permission.


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