11 July 2024

An ethnic Mon man implicated in the Saiyok National Park wildlife hunting trip told police he was forced by two men in the poaching group to shoot the bearcat.

Identified only as Tata,  he said he works as a caretaker at Tao Dum monastery in the national park, in Saiyok district of Kanchanaburi.  The suspect was detained Wednesday and brought to the crime scene for a reenactment.

Tata was detained and questioned after defence volunteer Anuson Rueanngan, one of the 12 suspects, told police that he handed a .22 calibre rifle to Tata who went along with another Mon man identified as Jira to hunt the bearcat on the weekend.

Tata, however, said he was ordered by two men who claimed to be state officials to lead them into the jungle and poach wildlife and he had to follow their instructions because he feared he would be arrested and face legal action for illegal entry. He said he is a migrant.

While going hunting wildlife together he was instructed to kill the bearcat, said Tata.

During Wednesday’s search, police found and retrieved for inspection animal remains believed to be those of the killed bearcat.

Anuson on Wednesday claimed that no one else was involved in the killing of the bearcat.

The first eleven suspects were detained on Sunday after their six off-road vehicles were stopped for a search.  They claimed that the bearcat paws and legs found in the vehicles were bought from some villagers during their visit to the monastery.

Among them was Watcharachai Samirak, deputy chief of Dan Makham Tia district in Kanchanaburi.

The 12th suspect on Wednesday turned himself in to police in Ratchaburi.