3 arrested for illegal fishing

3 arrested for illegal fishing

Man charged with stealing wild boar

Thungyai Naresuan Wildlife Sanctuary rangers patrol the Kaeng Nam Jone rapids. They arrested three fish poachers on Monday with 450kg of the river's giant fish. (Photo FB/Thungyaiwest)
Thungyai Naresuan Wildlife Sanctuary rangers patrol the Kaeng Nam Jone rapids. They arrested three fish poachers on Monday with 450kg of the river's giant fish. (Photo FB/Thungyaiwest)

Three hunters, including a Myanmar national, have been arrested for illegally fishing in one of the country's most fertile freshwater sources in the western complex of the Thungyai Naresuan Wildlife Sanctuary, according to the sanctuary authorities.

The suspects were identified as Ruengkit Jinjarak, Chaiyan Witthayayont and Jai, a Myanmar man. They were arrested on Monday as they emerged from the Kaeng Nam Jone rapids in the sanctuary in Thong Pha Phum district.

They were driving three motorboats full of large fish. Among the hauls were a rare and expensive kaeng fish and four Asian redtail catfish, each weighing about 75 kilogrammes.

The fish caught by the three suspects weighed about 450kg in total, the officials said.

In the boat driven by Mr Ruengkit, the park officials found a 9mm pistol, a laser-guided rifle and 10 rounds of ammunition. The suspects said they had borrowed the firearms from a local politician in the province. The weapons were seized as evidence. The officials also came across 75 methamphetamine pills in Mr Ruengkit's boat.

The Kaeng Nam Jone rapids are regarded as one of the country's most fertile freshwater sources, home to a large variety of fish that are difficult to find elsewhere.

The sanctuary officials said they had been tracking down the suspects since last Friday. Wichian Chinawong, chief of the western complex of the sanctuary, was tipped off that the hunters were planning to catch fish in the area. Two teams of park officials were then deployed to find the hunters.

On Saturday, one team spotted the three long-tailed boats moored in the Kwai Yai River as they were being prepared to set off for Kaeng Nam Jone. The second team was sent to intercept the suspects after they came out of the rapids.

During the early hours of Monday, the team closed in on the gang and caught them. The three suspects have been charged with poaching in the protected forest, carrying firearms without permission and possessing illicit drugs.

Meanwhile, a young man has been taken for a crime reenactment after surrendering to police and being charged with trespassing on the property of Wildlife Friends of Thailand and killing a wild boar for its meat. The wild boar was raised on the foundation's property.

Prasit Poonsombat, 19, allegedly confessed to killing the 150kg female boar. He said he had set up a trap and caught the boar last Friday. He used a hammer to beat the animal to death before butchering the animal at his home in tambon Huay Mae Preang in Kaeng Krachan district. He sold some of the meat and kept the rest to eat.

Police charged him with stealing the boar and trespassing on foundation property. Pol Col Thienchai Kamapaso, acting chief of Phetchaburi police, said at least two other people colluded in the killing of animals kept at the foundation. Police are seeking arrest warrants for them.

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