Former prosecutor indicted for smuggling rhino horns

Photo courtesy of KhaoSod

The National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) indicted that a former deputy prosecutor was involved in the illegal importation of rhinoceros horns valued at 179 million baht through Suvarnabhumi Airport. The case has been sent to the attorney general for prosecution.

Secretary-General of the NACC, and spokesperson, Niwatchai Kasemmongkol announced that the commission had found sufficient grounds to proceed with charges against Woraphas, also known as Nopparat Boonsri, for his alleged misconduct during his tenure as Deputy Provincial Prosecutor for Saraburi.

The NACC had assigned a preliminary investigative team to look into accusations that Woraphas while serving as Deputy Provincial Prosecutor for Saraburi, had offered bribes to customs officials at Suvarnabhumi Airport. The bribes were allegedly given to ensure that luggage containing rhinoceros horns would not be inspected.

Evidence from the investigation revealed that on March 10, 2017, Woraphas offered valuables or other benefits to customs officials at Suvarnabhumi Airport. This was to assist a group of individuals smuggling 12 mixed-size rhinoceros horns, weighing a total of 49.4 kilogrammes, into the country without facing criminal charges. The actions of Woraphas constituted offering, promising, or giving valuables or other benefits to officials to influence them improperly.

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The NACC determined that Woraphas’s actions violated criminal law under Section 144 of the Penal Code, the Organic Act on Anti-Corruption 1999, as amended, Section 123/5, paragraph one (currently under the Organic Act on Anti-Corruption 2018, Section 176).

Additionally, his actions were considered a severe disciplinary offence. The NACC has forwarded the investigation report, evidence, electronic copies, and the commission’s decision to the attorney general for criminal prosecution under the Organic Act on Anti-Corruption 2018, Section 91 (1).

For disciplinary actions, the Public Prosecutor Commission had already ordered the dismissal of Woraphas in line with the severity of the case, reported KhaoSod.

In related news, Thai police raided a warehouse in the Samut Prakan province, uncovering a large-scale smuggling operation involving over 100,000 items worth millions of baht. The raid, conducted by the Economic Crime Suppression Division (ECD), revealed that the goods were illegally imported and substandard.

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Puntid Tantivangphaisal

Originally from Hong Kong, Puntid moved to Bangkok in 2020 to pursue further studies in translation. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Comparative Literature from the University of Hong Kong. Puntid spent 8 years living in Manchester, UK. Before joining The Thaiger, Puntid has been a freelance translator for 2 years. In her free time, she enjoys swimming and listening to music, as well as writing short fiction and poetry.

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