Deputy district chief implicated in illegal hunting temporarily dismissed

Dan Makham Tia district deputy chief officer Watcharachai Sameerak has been temporarily dismissed from government service pending disciplinary and criminal investigations allegedly for illegal hunting in Saiyok national park in the western province of Kanchanaburi.

Kanchanaburi provincial governor Jirakiart Poomsawat said Monday that the available evidence so far was sufficient to warrant the setting up of a fact-finding panel which would lead to disciplinary investigation.

Besides Watcharachai, he said two defence volunteers who were among 12 members of the alleged hunting party were temporarily suspended from active duty pending investigation.

He added that the two volunteers could apply for reinstatement after they were cleared of any wrongdoing.

Meanwhile, Mr Panatchakorn Pothibundhit, chief of Saiyok national park, told Thai PBS that he was confident that the group went into the park for hunting.  He also dismissed the claim by one of the drivers the carcass of a bearcat found in one of the five vehicles was bought from a hunter.

“It was totally impossible that someone would sell the carcass because the spot where the party was stopped for searches was about ten kilometres into the forest and there was no human settlement there,” said the park chief, adding that there used to be a community there because a mine there, but after the mine was closed, all the people had left the area.

He went on to say that a hunter would normally not approach strangers or people in a vehicle to sell animals or their carcasses.

Talking about the bearcat which was killed, Panatchakorn said that it was a slow-moving creature and, therefore, was an easy target for hunting.

He suspected that the group had a drinking party on Saturday night as some of them smelled liquor when they were stopped by forest rangers for searches on Sunday.

The bearcat’s meat was believed to be cooked and eaten during the drinking party Saturday night.

Pol Gen Srivara Rangsibrahmanakul, the national deputy police chief, said he had instructed the 7th Region Provincial Police Bureau to assign the same police team that investigated Ital-Thai Development boss Premchai Karnasuta’s alleged illegal hunting to probe the new hunting case because they have the experience.


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