“I did my best,”  Thungyai chief says after being “grilled” for 3 hours by defence lawyers

Thungyai Naresuan wildlife sanctuary chief Wichien Chinnawong, a key witness in the much-publicized black panther hunting case,  was “grilled” for more than three hours by the defence lawyers during cross-examination session at the Thong Pha Phum provincial court in the western province of Kanchanaburi on Wednesday.

The cross-examination session started at 9 am and ended at about 1.30 pm.

After the end of the session, Wichien told the media that he had done his best to protect wildlife species that have become victims of hunting and said that he and his staff were ready to continue to show up at the court to testify as prosecution witness today.

An informed source said that the defence lawyers grilled Wichen about details of his arrest of Italian-Thai Development Corp boss Premchaik Karnasuta and three other members of the illegal hunting party, especially regarding the detention of the four suspects for about two days before they were handed over to Thong Pha Phum district police.

The trial resumes today with other prosecution witnesses scheduled to give their testimonies and to be cross-examined by the defence lawyers.

The illegal hunting party was accused of shooting to death a black panther, an endangered species, and a few other protected species in the sanctuary in February this year.

The alleged killing of the black panther provoked a public outrage and a campaign by conservation groups and civil society to put pressure on the police and other law enforcement agencies to make a lesson of this case to ensure that the “rich and powerful” are equally treated like the poor under the law.

Earlier, the court granted permission for Premchai not having to attend every hearing and he can be represented by his lawyer.


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