Tycoon spends night in jail
KANCHANABURI: Construction tycoon Premchai Karnasuta ended up spending last night behind bars at the Thong Pha Phum prison after the Appeal Court slapped him with a sentence of more than three years for the illegal possession of a protected animal, carrying firearms in public and supporting poaching.
The president of Italian-Thai Development Plc and two of his accomplices filed for bail on Thursday, but the court decision was not released in time.
In a raid on Feb 4, 2018, officers found the carcasses of a rare black leopard, a pheasant and a barking deer near Mr Premchai's unauthorised camp in Thung Yai Naresuan Wildlife Sanctuary in Thong Pha Phum district and arrested him along with his three accomplices.
The latest ruling from the Court of Appeal Region 7 was read out at the Thong Pha Phum Court at 9.30am on Thursday in the presence of Mr Premchai, 64, and his three co-defendants.
It took an hour to read the verdict.
Mr Premchai's initial sentence of 16 months handed down by Thong Pha Phum Court in March was increased to two years and 14 months.
The term for his driver, Yong Dodkruea, 66, was increased from one year and one month to two years and 17 months.
The sentence for his maid Nathee Riamsaen, 44, was increased from a suspended sentence of four months to one year and eight months, while the hunter, Thanee Thummat, 57, who was found guilty of killing the black leopard, now faces two years and 21 months in prison, up from the initial sentence of three years and five months.
The Appeal Court also upheld the lower court's order for them to pay 2 million baht in compensation to the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation.
The Appeal Court is considering temporary release for the three defendants pending a further appeal to the Supreme Court.
The lawyers have proposed the bail guarantee be brought down to 200,000 baht each from the previous 400,000-500,000 baht. The defendants are barred from leaving the country.