KANCHANABURI: The hunter who was jailed along with construction tycoon Premchai Karnasuta for poaching in a wildlife sanctuary has died of cancer after being released to a hospital in Nakhon Pathom province for treatment, a close family friend has confirmed.
Thanee Thummat was convicted of illegally hunting and killing wildlife in Thungyai Naresuan Wildlife Sanctuary in Thong Pha Phum district of Kanchanaburi province in 2018.
Premchai, who had hired him, and two other defendants were also convicted and jailed in the long-running high-profile case, which made continual news headlines.
Wasant Sunjirat, the kamnan of tambon Chong Sadao in Kanchanaburi's Muang district, said on Wednesday that Thanee died from cancer in mid-July at the age of 60 years while undergoing treatment at a hospital in Nakhon Pathom province.
Mr Wasant said Thanee had suffered from cancer before he was arrested. While serving time at Thong Pha Phum Prison his condition deteriorated. He was subsequently moved to Thong Pha Phum Hospital for treatment and was later transferred to a hospital in Nakhon Pathom province, where he died in mid-July.
Thanee's body was returned to his home at Ban Pong Pat in tambon Chong Sadao in Muang district for religious rites and cremation. Mr Wasant said he attended the rites.
Premchai, former president of the Italian-Thai Development Plc, Yong Dodkruea, his driver, Thanee, his hunter, and Nathee Riemsaen, a woman cook, were arrested at a camp in Thungyai Naresuan Wildlife Sanctuary in tambon Chalae of Thong Pha Phum district on Feb 4, 2018, for hunting wildlife and killing a rare black panther, a kalij pheasant and a barking dear.
The four were indicted in the Thong Pha Phum Court in Kanchanaburi. They fought the case to the Supreme Court.
On Dec 8, 2021, the Supreme Court sentenced Premchai to three years and two months in prison and ordered him to pay 2 million baht in compensation for the damage caused to nature. Yong was sentenced to three years and five months and Thanee to three years and nine months month in prison.
Nathee, the woman cook sentenced by the Appeals Court to one year and eight months in jail, suspended for two years, did not appeal.
The three defendants who took the case to the Supreme Court were subsequently incarcerated in Thong Pha Phum Prison.
Sources said Premchai and Yong, his driver, are still serving time at Thong Pha Phum Prison.