The Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plants Conservation has insisted that the existing evidence which the police and wildlife officials have collected could be sufficient to lay nine charges against Italian-Thai Development president Premchai Karnasuta.
Pinsak Suraswadi, deputy director-general of the department, said the evidence they have in hands were correlated and were substantial to charge the wildlife hunting team.
He assured that wildlife officials and forensic police work closely together as one team.
He said forensic police and wildlife forensic scientists of the department applied the same forensic standard in examining evidence which included cooked food at the crime scene and tusks from Premchai’s house in Bangkok, as well as DNA samples from the panther hide, slice of meat, and hair.
All evident were correlated and proved to be the DNA of the slaughtered panther, he said.
He said forensic scientists were still examining blood traces found on two knives seized at the campsite of the hunting team.
The chromosone examination showed it was a female panther, he said.
The department’s deputy chief said that the case was in the limelight as it happened in the world’s heritage site, therefore authorities were determined to prosecute the wrongdoers.
“They went hunting in this important world’s heritage site. We are confident in the evidence the investigators have. They will not get loose,” he assured.
He reiterated that authorities did not ignore the case but was trying to pursue the case with caution, including defending wildlife officials on duty.
He also said the department had investigated the entry to the wildlife sanctuary by the hunting team and found it was legitimately permitted by authorities.
It was the team’s own guilt when it broke the rules and laws, he said.
On the alleged bribery, he explained that in fact it was the offer of a former park official, Noppadol Prueksawan, to give five flashlights to officials in his capacity as a former graduate of Kasetsart University’s Faculty of Forestry same as the wild life sanctuary chief Vichien Shinwong.
Each flashlight customer just 120 baht and they all cost less than 1,000 baht, he said.
He said the bribery had nothing to do with Mr Premchai, but Mr Noppadol.
He said he had no idea if Mr Noppadol would be mentioned in the case file or not as it was up to police investigation.