By Suriya Patathayo
Anusorn Reun-ngam, 42, was among deputy district chief Watcharachai Sameerak's six off-road vehicle group accused of hunting the binturong in Sai Yok National Park over the weekend.
The volunteer reportedly admitted borrowing a former soldier's firearm for a Karen man to shoot the animal, police said on Wednesday. Deputy National Police commissioner Gen Srivara Ransibrahmanakul, who questioned the suspect, said Anusorn admitted to letting the Karen caretaker of Wat Muang Tao Dam monastery hunt and shoot the bearcat.
The general said Anusorn was insisting the binturong's four legs, that park officials found on him during his arrest on Sunday, were bought from a villager. Srivara said he had instructed investigators to also check CCTV cameras around the park.
At the Wat Muang Tao Dam, police said they found the binturong's bones, meat and cooking utensils at the monastery's bungalow for visitors. There were spent cartridges near where the group was arrested, Srivara said.
The general said two suspects, Sriwichit Ditchaem and Thassadanai Khokrachok, hid their pistols in their vehicle and told a 10-year-old boy, who visited them at the police station later, to hide them at home.
The boy was charged with weapons possession and the two pistols were seized as evidence, Srivara added. Park head Panatchakorn Phothibandhit told the police to look for Ratchaburi resident Somkiat Plengnaren, who was caught on camera on Sunday with the group.
Somkiat is Watcharachai's uncle and would face charges with the other 11 suspects, who have all been released on bail, Panatchakorn said. Police say they are still looking three unnamed suspects.