Ruling set for tycoon Premchai's tusk possession

Ruling set for tycoon Premchai's tusk possession

Premchai Karnasuta, president of Italian-Thai Development Plc, attends a ceremony to launch the trial run of the Green Line's northern extension route in Chatuchak district, Bangkok, last Friday. (Photo by Pattarapong Chatpattarasill)
Premchai Karnasuta, president of Italian-Thai Development Plc, attends a ceremony to launch the trial run of the Green Line's northern extension route in Chatuchak district, Bangkok, last Friday. (Photo by Pattarapong Chatpattarasill)

The Criminal Court has set Oct 1 as the date for its ruling on construction billionaire Premchai Karnasuta's possession of elephant tusks after finishing the hearing on the case on Wednesday.

The hearing concluded after testimony from witnesses for Premchai, 65, his wife Kanitta Karnasuta, 65, and their maid Wandee Somphum, 72, who were defendants in the case. They were arraigned on charges of possession of four tusks of protected African elephants found at the couple's house in Bangkok early last year.

Police and officials from the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation found the tusks, each about a metre long, at the house of Premchai, president of Italian-Thai Development Plc, on Soi Sun Wichai 3 in Huai Khwang district, Bangkok, on Feb 7, 2018.

The defendants denied all charges related to the case, saying Mrs Kanitta and Miss Wandee had informed the department of the tusk possession in 2015. Mrs Kanitta asked the court to have the tusks examined to verify their origin and age.

The three defendants, earlier released on bail of 300,000 baht, appeared at the Criminal Court on Wednesday.

Authorities found the elephant tusks when they searched Premchai's house after he was arrested in the Thungyai Naresuan Wildlife Sanctuary in Thong Pha Phum district in early February last year.

In March he was sentenced to 16 months in jail for illegal possession of a dead pheasant and weapons, and for supporting poaching there.

In the house search, authorities also found guns he allegedly possessed illegally. The Criminal Court will lay down its ruling on the guns on Aug 20.


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