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Thungyai wildlife chief could appeal for a heavier penalty for Premchai

Tanutam Thawan

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Thungyai Naresuan Wildlife Sanctuary chief Wichien Chinnawong, hailed as a hero for standing up to Premchai and taking his case to court, says, while he respects the verdict of the Thong Pha Phume provincial court on Italian-Thai Development boss Premchai Karnasuta, he believes the billionaire deserved a heavier penalty.

A panel discussion organised by the Seub Nakhasathien Foundation and environment reporters’ club yesterday heard from the Wildlife Sanctuary chief in his first extended comments following the Wednesday verdict.

Mr. Wichien said he spoke to his immediate superior, Mr. Chaiwat Limlikitaksorn, director of the 10th Conservation Area Management Office, and says they both agreed that the verdicts and/or punishments should be appealed.

However, they say they want to study the full text of the court’s verdict first.

Thai PBS reports that the wildlife sanctuary chief, who arrested Premchai and his party, said that all big cats in Thailand’s wilderness have tremendous ecological value, much more than the two million baht compensation demanded by the court.

Premchai was found guilty of carrying weapons in public without a permit, being in possession of a grey pheasant carcass and abetting others in illegal hunting. He was acquitted of the charges of illegal hunting and of being in possession of a panther carcass.

Mr. Kosonwat Inthuchanyong, deputy spokesman of the Office of the Attorney-General, said the public prosecutor in charge of the case would have to study the full text of the court’s verdict before deciding whether to appeal.

SOURCE: Thai PBS

 

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