Premchai allegedly vows to “give anything” if forestry officials let him go

Counter Corruption Police Division investigators today (March 8) questioned five forest rangers regarding the allegation that Italian-Thai boss Premchai Karnasutra tried to bribe the arresting rangers to let him off the hook.

Led by Pol Col Watcharin Phusit, deputy commander of the Counter Corruption Police Division, police re-enacted the alleged bribery attempt which took place at a visitor centre near Tinuay forest protection unit in Thung Yai Naresuan wildlife sanctuary on the night of Feb 5 after Mr Premchai and three others were arrested for wildlife hunting.

Five forest rangers, including the wildlife sanctuary chief Mr Wichien Chinnawong, were at the centre with Mr Premchai, his close aide Mr Yong Dodkrua and Mr Thani Thummas, the hunting guide.

All the five rangers told the anti-graft police that Mr Premchai talked to Mr Wichien offering him anything he wants if he drops the case against the ITD boss and his men.  But they said none of them recorded the conversation between Premchai and Wichien.

A well-informed source said that, as simulated from the actual scene, the room was quiet and there was enough light to see who were speaking and about what.

However, there is a sound clip of the conversation between Mr Yong and one of the five rangers concerning bribe offer.

The source said that even without a recorded conversation between Mr Premchai and Mr Wichien anti-corruption police believe that bribery charge could be pressed against the ITD boss.

The same source said Mr Premchai might be summoned for questioning on March 12 regarding the bribery allegation.