Construction tycoon Premchai Karnasuta has been arrested for allegedly hunting wildlife in the World Heritage Thungyai Naresuan sanctuary in Kanchanaburi province. Park rangers arrested Mr Premchai, the 63-year-old president of the huge SET-listed construction company Italian-Thai Development (ITD), in a no-camping area of Huai Pachee forest in the western part of the Thungyai Naresuan Wildlife Sanctuary.
Officials found skinned carcasses of protected wild animals, including a 1.48-metre-long black panther, a Kalij Pheasant and a barking deer, three long-barrelled guns and ammunition in his possession.
High-ranking officials of the Natural Resources and Environment ministry, including the minister, today asked the public to wait for results of the investigation into the arrest of a CEO of huge listed construction firm in a wildlife sanctuary in Kanchanaburi province before passing judgement.
Surasak Kanjanarat (Ed: Minister of Natural Resources and Environment of Thailand) and the director general of national park, wildlife and plant department, Thanya Netithamkul, said in separate interviews that the probes into Premchai Karnasuta’s arrest in Thung Yai Naresuan wildlife sanctuary on Sunday night would be undertaken in strict accordance with the law and based on the evidence available.
“Don’t blame anyone yet or judge who is wrong or right. Instead, let us all wait for the investigators to speak,” Surasak said.
Asked whether the ministry officials were involved in the allegations, Surasak said he had no further information.
Meanwhile Director General Thanya told reporters that the investigation would be done in accordance with the law. “The investigators are in the process of gathering information and evidence and the officials will undertake the investigation with justice and fairness to all parties concerned, Thanya said.
Premchai was arrested at his campsite in the wildlife sanctuary on Sunday night and taken to Thong Pha Phume police station where he was charged. He has maintained his innocence.
The carcasses of Kalij pheasants, a black leopard and barking deer as well as two rifles and a shotgun were reportedly found at the campsite.
Presumably that means he is powerful enough to get away with it.
In some ways this is testament to how Thailand is in fact changing - these kind of stories would never had made the news or a report not too long ago, the rangers would have been terrified to do their tasks so diligently.
All of Thailand is changing except for the rich and privileged. Lets hope they give those responsible at the very least the sentence that the policeman got in Keang Krachan. And that this time the "poaching guides" get a sentence as well.
It makes you wonder how often this guy has been doing this. It took me quite a few years to see my first black leopard. With proper planning, and enough local knowledge, the chance could definitely be increased quite a bit, but still. I highly doubt this was his first night of 'pleasure hunting'. It would be interesting to visit one of his homes/ offices to see what other skins decorate the walls.
Long live social media! Let's hope it will hunt him for a while.