By The Nation
Sanctuary chief Wichien Chinnawong conducted the firing tests in the no-camping area of Huai Pachee where Premchai, the president of Italian-Thai Development, and three other people were found earlier this month in possession of guns and the butchered remains of a black leopard.
Chaiwat Limlikhit-aksorn of the National Parks Department’s Phaya Sua forest crime suppression task force and other officials were also present as evidence was gathered.
The evidence will be submitted to Pol Captain Sumit Boonyanit of the Thong Pha Phum precinct.
Chaiwat said he was assigned to witness the tests and the collecting of evidence and to advise Wichien on this case.
A helicopter pilot from the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry’s Aviation Division who flew the officials into the site was so impressed by the health of the forest that he gave Wichien a ticket for the March 2 lottery (No 661564) in gratitude.
The pilot said he hoped Wichien won the jackpot so he could use the money to continue caring for the woodlands.
Premchai, 63, and three others were arrested on February 5 for alleged poaching while camping in the sanctuary, a World Heritage site.
They had three rifles and the carcasses of a rare black leopard, a muntjac (deer) and a Kalij pheasant.
Park officials filed nine charges, including unauthorised hunting in a wildlife sanctuary, illegal possession of the carcasses of protected animals, and attempted bribery.
The four were freed on bail and ordered to meet court officials on March 24.
They failed to answer police summonses to hear further charges on February 15 and 22. Premchai’s lawyer claimed the tycoon was otherwise occupied.
A new date was set for March 5 and a warning issued that failure to appear would lead to their arrest.