Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Premchai denies poaching, says trip to Thung Yai was for leisure

Feb 07. 2018
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By The Nation

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Construction tycoon Premchai Karnasuta has said his trip to World Heritage Thung Yai Naresuan Sanctuary in Kanchanaburi province was for leisure.

He denied allegations of poaching, despite evidence being found at his camping site.

Premchai, president of the huge SET-listed construction company Italian-Thai Development Plc (ITD), and three other people on Tuesday were charged with six offences under two separate laws, which included illegal poaching, possession of protected animals carcasses and harvesting forest products in a national park.

The three other were identified as Yong Dodkreau, Nathee Riamsaen and Thanee Thummas.

The four accused were arrested at the scene on Monday after rangers found three guns, ammunition and carcasses of protected wild animals, including a black leopard, a Kalij pheasant and a barking deer. It was reported that the carcass of the black leopard had already been skinned, which indicated that it was collected as a trophy.

Premchai said the trip last weekend was the second time in his life he had visited Thung Yai. His first time was dated back for 30-40 years ago when Khao Laem Dam, the former name of Vajiralongkorn Dam, was being constructed.

“This time I came here for leisure because I’m old and will eventuallly die one day. I’m not an often visitor to the wildlife sanctuary,” the 63-year-old tycoon said in his first comments to the media after he was released by Thong Pha Phum Provincial Court on Bt150,000 bail late on Tuesday evening.

“I have nothing to explain,” Premchai told a reporter who asked about the picture of carcasses of protected wild animals found at his camping site.

Premchai’s lawyer Witoon Yimpray, who was with Premchai during the media interview, denied the allegations, saying Premchai was not involved with the poaching.

Witoon also addressed the accusation that his client camped in a restricted area in the wildlife sanctuary.

The lawyer said Premchai was granted permission by a chief of the department who oversees the area to enter and camp in the area.

“It was dark. Premchai and his entourage were afraid of danger and getting lost so, when they found a place with a water resource, they decided to camp out there. He has never been there for 10 years,” Witoon said on behalf of his client.

When asked if guns and ammunition found at the site belonged to Premchai, his lawyer paused for a while before saying that it was being investigated.

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