23 May 2024

Thungyai Naresuan Wildlife Sanctuary chief Wichien Chinnawong said today that, while he respects the verdict of the Thong Pha Phume provincial court on Italian-Thai Development boss Premchai Karnasuta, he believes the billionaire deserves a heavier penalty.


Speaking at a panel discussion jointly organized by the Seub Nakhasathien Foundation and environment reporters’ club today, Mr. Wichien said he and his immediate superior, Mr. Chaiwat Limlikitaksorn, director of the 10th Conservation Area Management Office, had discussed the 16-month sentence handed to Premchai and both agreed that the verdicts and/or punishments should be appealed. However, they say they want to study the full text of the court’s verdict first.


The wildlife sanctuary chief, who arrested Premchai and his party, said that all big cats in Thailand’s wilderness have tremendous ecological value, much more than the two million baht compensation demanded by the court.


Premchai was found guilty of carrying weapons in public without a permit, being in possession of a grey pheasant carcass and abetting others in illegal hunting.  He was acquitted of the charges of illegal hunting and of being in possession of a panther carcass.


Mr. Kosonwat Inthuchanyong, deputy spokesman of the Office of the Attorney-General, said the public prosecutor in charge of the case would have to study the full text of the court’s verdict before deciding whether to appeal.