Prosecutors seek higher illegal hunting penalties for Premchai and gang
Public prosecutors appealed to the Appeals Court today against the verdicts and sentences imposed on construction tycoon Premchai Karnasuta and three others, demanding higher penalties for illegal hunting in the Thungyai Naresuan wildlife sanctuary in which one panther and other protected wildlife species were killed.
The Thong Phaphum provincial court on March 19th handed down a 16-month prison term to Premchai, CEO of Italian-Thai International Development Plc, after finding him guilty of carrying firearms in public without a permit, being an accessory to illegal hunting and possession of a pheasant carcass.
He was acquitted on charges of collecting forest flora and fauna and of being in possession of a panther carcass.
Mr. Sunthorn Surawattanawong, chief prosecutor for Region 7, said today that the public prosecutors are seeking to have Premchai penalized on charges of being the mastermind behind the illegal hunting, possession of panther and pheasant carcasses and carrying firearms in a public place.
The public prosecutors also appealed against the lower court’s verdicts and sentences for Mr. Yong Dodkrua, Mrs. Nathee Riamsaen and Mr. Thanee Thummat who were sentenced to 13 months, four-months suspended, 2 years and 17 months respectively.
Premchai and the three others were arrested, at their hunting camp inside the wildlife sanctuary on February 6th last year, by a team of wildlife officials led by Mr. Wichien Chinnawong, the sanctuary chief.
The arrests, especially that of billionaire Premchai, dominated the headlines and drew a nation-wide public demands for justice for the dead panther.