Italian-Thai boss Premchai Karnasuta arrested for hunting black panther

Italian-Thai Development Plc president Premchai Karnasuta has been arrested along with friends for allegedly hunting protected animals in Thung Yai Naresuan wildlife sanctuary in Thong Pha Phum district of Kanchanaburi province.

The arrest of Mr Premchai on Sunday (Feb 4) at 2 pm was revealed yesterday after a Facebook user, Khon Anurak, posted photographs of the raid at a jungle camp by forest rangers of the Thung Yai Naresuan wildlife sanctuary where they found carcasses of several slaughtered protected animals which included a black panther, Khalij pheasant, barking deer at the camp.

The area where Mr Premchai and his friends set up camp is near Huay Pasi stream at Maharaj forest protection unit in the western zone of Thung Yai Naresuan wildlife sanctuary which is declared off limits and camping is prohibited by forestry law.

Khon Anurak Facebook page disclosed that Mr Premchai was “a guest” of the director of the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plants Conservation’s Wildlife Conservation Office for the visit to the wildlife sanctuary.

Forest rangers also searched the tents where they found a mounted .22 rifle, a mounted high-powered rifle, a double-barreled shotgun and a large number of cartridges of several calibres were hidden.

Near the place where forestry rangers found the guns and ammunition, the hide of a slaughtered black panther was found.

All were later taken to Thong Pha Phum police station where they were detained for questioning.

An informed source said that the director-general of the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plants Conservation Mr Thunya Netithammakul has been informed of the arrest.

It was the second time in almost 50 years for the controversial hunting at Thung Yai Naresuan wildlife sanctuary by well-known and influential people.

In the incident on 29 April 1973, a large group of about 60 hunters who included top government officials businessmen and a well-known movie star was found to go hunting in the area.

The hunting was revealed after the army helicopter used to transport the hunters back from Thung Yai Naresuan crashed, killing six of them in Bang Len district of Nakhon Pathom.

 

This morning, Italian-Thai president Premchai Kanasutra and 3 friends were taken to Thong Pha Phum Police Station for interrogation for allegedly hunting protected animals in Kanchanaburi province.