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Court to rule on Premchai poaching case today

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The Thong Phaphume provincial court in Thailand’s western province of Kanchanaburi will deliver its long-awaited verdict in the illegal hunting case on the billionaire Thai construction tycoon Premchai Karnasuta today.

He, and his hunting party, is charged with killing protected species.

The alleged offence took place on February 3 last year in Kanchanaburi’s Thungyai Naresuan wildlife sanctuary. They were arrested by forest rangers, led by Mr. Wichien Chinnawong, in possession of the carcasses of a panther and other animals.

The poaching arrest of the influential construction tycoon caused public uproar and fueled public awareness of Thailand’s wildlife, especially endangered species like the panther.

The prolonged trial and social status of the key suspect have fueled public skepticism about whether justice will ever be delivered or the culprits punished.

Nine charges, including illegal hunting of a protected species and illegal firearm possession, were filed against the four suspects who have all pleaded not guilty. 32 prosecution and 16 defence witnesses testified during the trial.

After the reading of the verdict the Sueb Nakhasathien foundation will hold a panel discussion on the illegal hunting case on Wednesday at the office of the Thai Journalists Association.

 

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