Tiger killers slapped with another charge

Tiger killers slapped with another charge

Veterinarians and park rangers collect evidence from two Bengal tiger skins after a raid at a campsite in Thong Pha Phum district of Kanchanaburi on Jan 9. (Photo: Piyarat Chongcharoen)
Veterinarians and park rangers collect evidence from two Bengal tiger skins after a raid at a campsite in Thong Pha Phum district of Kanchanaburi on Jan 9. (Photo: Piyarat Chongcharoen)

KANCHANABURI: An additional charge has been filed against five men who killed two Bengal tigers in Thong Pha Phum National Park, raising the number of charges they face to 11, national park chief Charoen Chaichon revealed on Saturday.

On Jan 9, forest rangers raided a camp site in the Huay Pilok forest inside the national park. A group of hunters there ran away and escaped arrest.

The rangers seized the pelts and carcasses of two slain Bengal tigers with their meat being grilled. Also seized at the site were one shotgun, one .22 rifle with 50 rounds of ammunition, two muzzle-loading pellet guns and many other articles.

On Jan 13, the five men suspected of killing the tigers surrendered to Thong Pha Phum police. They were Kukue Yindee, 37, Jorhaeng Phanarak, 38, Supachai Charoensap, 34,Ratchanon Charoensap, 30, and Cho-ae (surname and age not available) - all from tambon Pilok in Thong Pha Phum district.

In a statement to police, they said they raised cattle for a living in the national park. During the past two months, they claimed tigers had killed and eaten about 20 cows belonging to them and other local farmers. They planned to kill the tigers to end the problem.

By using the carcass of a cow killed by the tigers as bait, they lay in wait and gunned down the two tigers.

They said they borrowed the shotgun, one of the weapons seized by the rangers, from a village defence volunteer.

The police laid 10 charges against them. They included violating the forest reserve law, the National Park Act and the Wildlife Conservation and Protection Act and other related offences.

On Saturday, Wanchai Soonkham, a forest ranger of the Thong Pha Phum National Park, filed an additional charge against the five suspects, raising the total to 11.

Mr Charoen, the national park chief, said the additional charge was based on the suspects' statement that they had raised cattle in the national park. This was in violation of Section 21 of the National Park Act, leaving them liable to a jail term of up to one year and a fine of up to 100,000 baht or both.

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