Premchai's jail term increased in black-leopard case

Premchai's jail term increased in black-leopard case

Construction billionaire Premchai Karnasuta arrives at Thong Pha Phum Court in Kanchanaburi province on Thursday to hear the appellate court's judgement. (Photo by Piyarat Chongcharoen)
Construction billionaire Premchai Karnasuta arrives at Thong Pha Phum Court in Kanchanaburi province on Thursday to hear the appellate court's judgement. (Photo by Piyarat Chongcharoen)

KANCHANABURI: The Appeal Court on Thursday increased the prison sentence handed down to construction tycoon Premchai Karnasuta to three years and two months for illegal possession of wildlife carcasses and firearms in a national park, and poaching.

The president of Italian-Thai Development Plc and three accomplices were arrested at their unauthorised camp in the western Thungyai Naresuan Wildlife Sanctuary in Thong Pha Phum district on Feb 4, 2018.

Firearms, ammunition and the carcasses of a rare black leopard, a kalij pheasant and a barking deer were found near them.

The ruling of the Court of Appeal Region 7 was read out at the Thong Pha Phum Court on Thursday, beginning at 9.30am. It took about an hour. Mr Premchai, 64, and his three co-defendants were present.

Mr Premchai's sentence was increased from the 16 months laid down by the Thong Pha Phum Court in March to three years and two months. His driver, Yong Dodkruea, 66, was sentenced to three years and five months - an increase from one year and one month.

His maid, Nathee Riamsaen, 44, was sentenced to a suspended term of one year and eight months, up from a suspended four-month term, and his hunter, Thanee Thummat, 57, who was found guilty of killing the black leopard, now faces three years and nine months in prison, up from three years and five months.

The Appeal Court upheld the first court's order for them to pay 2 million baht in compensation for damage to natural resources to the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation.

The defendants were additionally found guilty of jointly having in possession the leopard's carcass, poaching and damaging a national forest reserve.

Earlier, Mr Premchai was found guilty only of possessing the dead pheasant and firearms, and supporting poaching.

The three male defendants said they would appeal to the Supreme Court and applied for continuation of bail, each placing another 200,000 baht as a bond in addition to the previous conditional bail of 400,000-500,000 baht approved by the Appeal Court pending judgement. They were prohibited from leaving the country without prior court approval.

The Supreme Court has yet to respond to their request on Thursday evening and they were moved to the Thong Pha Phum prison.

The maid, Ms Nathee, did not intend to appeal because her new jail sentence was already suspended.


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