Premchai sentenced to 16 months without suspension
Billionaire construction tycoon Premchai Karnasuta was this morning (Tuesday) sentenced to 16 months in prison without suspension by the Thong Phaphume provincial court in Thailand’s western province of Kanchanburi.
The president of Italian-Thai Development Corp, one of Thailand’s largest construction firms, was found guilty of carrying firearms in a public place without a permit, abetting others in the illegal hunting of protected wildlife species and possession of protected animal carcasses.
Premchai and three others, namely Mr. Yong Dodkrua, Mr. Thanee Thummat and Mrs. Nathee Riamsaen, were arrested by forest rangers in Thungyai Narusuan Wildlife Sanctuary in Kanchanaburi province on February 4th last year after carcasses of a panther, a barking deer and a wild fowl were found in their camp. Hunting rifles were also found.
The Italian-Thai boss was charged with six crimes by the public prosecutor and the court today found him guilty in three of those cases, sentencing him to 16 months in prison – six months for carrying firearms in public; eight months for abetting others to poach protected wildlife species in a wildlife sanctuary and two months for the possession of protected animal carcasses.
The court also ordered Prem and three other defendants to pay about two million baht in compensation to the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation.
Thungyai Narusuan Wildlife Sanctuary chief Wichien Chinnawong said, after the court’s verdict was read, that he was satisfied with the sentence, adding that justice has been served. He also praised the judges for doing a great job and said that the verdict shows that the rich and powerful are not beyond the reach of the law.
Premchai’s lawyer is preparing to seek bail for Premchai, with the bail being set at 600,000 baht.
The Italian-Thai boss is yet to make a public statement following the verdict.