Park official admits of a “deal” being offered in hunting scandal

A senior park official has admitted that members of Italian-Thai Development Plc president Premchai Karnasuta’s hunting party tried to negotiate with wildlife officials who made the arrest to drop the case against them in exchange for “whatever you want, we will arrange it for you”.

In a phone interview with Thai PBS’s Tob Jote TV programme Tuesday night (Feb 6), Mr Chaiwat Limlikhit-aksorn, chief of the Phya Sua (tiger) task force was asked to comment on an audio clip about a conversation between wildlife officials and members of Mr Premchai’s hunting party about the possibility of the officials not pursuing the case against the hunting party.

Mr Chaiwat said the talk about having the case dropped start when the officials notified the group broke the rule and told to move out of the camp to the site originally designated for them.

Thai PBS obtained the audio clip from a credible source and the gist of the conversation was that if no legal action was not taken against the hunting party, whatever the wildlife officials wanted, it would be arranged for them.

Extracts of the conversation are as follows:

First Man: If the case is over, whatever Wichien (believed to be Mr Wichien Chinnawong, chief of Thung Yai Naresuan wildlife sanctuary) want, he will give [you] because [you are] sincere. [we] will arrange for a truck to bring them. [we] used to give over 100 pairs of combat boots, army uniforms and 30 sets of communication radios to the Myanmar troops.

Second Man: You do the business with them.

First Man: Burmese troops knew I came for sightseeing.

Second Man: Shouldn’t blunder. Should’t bring in the weapons [into the wildlife sanctuary] – they were not meant for self-defence, but for shooting animals.

First Man: Will they seize [guns]? No, they won’t. Can be returned, they [the guns] were registered. Phuyai [senior authority] will come to talk.