By SURIYA PATATAYO
His unit has asked for bullets of some rifles from Premchai’s house to compare them with those used to kill a wild elephant in Kuiburee National Park in Prachuab Khiri Khan province a few years back.
“Officials have kept the bullets that were used to kill wild animals. The result of the test is expected within three days,” Thawatchai said.
The move was part of the expansion of investigation into Premchai’s alleged poaching in Thung Yai Naresuan Wildlife Sanctuary in Kanchanaburi province early this month.
There has been a public outcry over Premchai’s alleged hunting expeditions in the sanctuary after an endangered black leopard was found butchered and forest rangers found a pot of soup with the leopard’s tail. The remains of a barking deer and pheasant were also found hidden near the campsite.
Many civil network and environment groups have called for ITD, a public-listed firm, to sack Premchai and for the police to conduct their probe with transparency amid fears that the billionaire could evade prosecution.
Meanwhile Court of Justice spokesman Suriyan Hongwilai clarified why Premchai, who was freed on bail, did not have to report himself to police this week as required by the law.
Instead, he will report at the Thong Pha Phum Court in March. Many were waiting to see Premchai, after he disappeared from public view since being given bail. The move has been criticised as an exemption given by authorities to a suspect who was a powerful businessman.
The spokesman dismissed the criticism, saying Thong Pha Phum Court is an exception partly because most of the suspects were not locals.
Therefore to require the suspect to show up seven times every 12 days will be a waste of time and a loss of income for them. “Any suspect is required to report for investigation only after the fourth 12-day period. This applies to every suspect. The rule was introduced in 2013,” he said.
Premchai and three other suspects in the case are required to appear in the court on March 26 at 9am.
Thawatchai said that the forensic investigation into the black leopard found that it was hit on the head and other parts of the body.