By The Nation
Police were acting on a tip-off that the bear had been transported for slaughter on Friday night in a pickup truck to the plantation in Ban Por Hu.
As the officers went to inspect the plantation in the morning, they found suspect Apiwat Nilsonthi butchering the wild animal in order to weigh the meat to sell at Bt400-Bt500 per kilogram. They also found some already-fried bear meat at the scene.
Apiwat told police that he and two friends had gone on Friday night to view a bear stuck in a trap in a cornfield four kilometres from the Khao Yai National Park.
He claimed that the bear had been stuck in the trap for days and had already died of starvation. Finding the meat was still soft, he said they loaded the bear, which had not been claimed by anyone, onto the truck to be butchered with the meat shared among themselves and some sold.
Police initially charged Apiwat with hunting wildlife without permission and illegal possession of a wildlife carcass. Police were seeking his two friends to lay the same charges against them.