By The Nation
Noppadon Prueksawan, a former senior official of the Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife and Plant Conservation, was named by Wildlife Conservation Bureau director Kanjana Nittaya during a police interrogation on Friday, according to police.
Police Colonel Thassapoom Jarupat, deputy commander of Natural Resources and Environmental Crime Suppression Division, yesterday said police were seeking information from Noppadon about whether he knew that Premchai intended to enter the sanctuary in order to hunt illegally.
“But we failed to reach Noppadon,” said the police colonel. “If police cannot find him, he will be summoned.”
According to Thassapoom, Kanjana said that in speaking to Noppadon, she only gave advice about procedures for entering the sanctuary. Noppadon is reportedly close to the accused tycoon.
Kanjana told police that Noppadon called her at 3pm on January 31 and said Premchai and his three-person entourage sought permission to stay for two nights in the sanctuary from February 3-5 to study nature.
It has been reported that Noppadon worked as an environmental adviser to the Italian-Thai Development PLC (ITD), whose president is Premchai.
Premchai and three other people entered the sanctuary last Saturday. They were taken into custody by wildlife rangers on Sunday after being found with firearms, ammunition and carcasses of wild animals, including the endangered black leopard. On Tuesday, they were charged with nine offences related to illegal poaching and possession of wildlife in the World Heritage Site sanctuary.