Thai construction tycoon jailed for poaching protected animals
Supreme court sentences Premchai Karnasuta to two and a half years in prison without probation.
Forbes magazine once considered Premchai as one of Thailand's 50 richest people, and his company ITD is also one of Thailand's largest construction firms based in the capital, Bangkok [File: Lillian Suwanrumpha/AFP]
8 Dec 2021
Thailand’s supreme court has sentenced construction tycoon Premchai Karnasuta to two and a half years in prison without probation on charges related to the poaching of protected animals, a prosecutor told Reuters news agency.
Premchai, president of Thai construction company Italian-Thai Development, was found guilty on Wednesday of possessing a firearm without a permit, enabling poaching and possessing the carcass of a protected animal, said prosecutor Phanomrit Homnitsakul.
Premchai’s accomplices were also sentenced to 33 and 37 months in jail.
In 2019, a provincial court originally found Premchai guilty of poaching charges and sentenced him to 16 months in prison.
The lower court originally ordered Premchai and a huntsman, Thani Thummas, to pay a fine of 2 million baht ($63,200).
Premchai previously denied the charges, but later said that he was sorry for the offence.
In 2018, wildlife officials found Premchai and three others in the Thungyai Naresuan Wildlife Sanctuary with carcasses of protected animals including a black Indochinese leopard, pheasants and a deer near their jungle campsite in a national park in Kanchanaburi province.
Forbes magazine once named Premchai as one of Thailand’s 50 richest people.
His company ITD is also one of Thailand’s largest construction firms and is based in the capital, Bangkok.
Thais have closely followed the case of Premchai as high-profile individuals are rarely convicted on poaching charges.
In a social media post, Edwin Wiek, founder of Thailand’s Wildlife Friends Foundation, said that when the case was first taken up by the court, activists and wildlife advocates “were convinced he would never see jail time as rich people never go to jail”.
“But today (on my birthday), we heard the great news that the Supreme Court of Thailand ruled that he will serve 2 1/2 years behind bars. Kharma.”
Ahead of the court’s decision, Erich Parpart, business editor of the Thai Enquirer, also wrote, “You know your game is almost over when the premier of a military government personally comments on your case.”
Earlier, Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, who as army chief led the 2014 coup, had said that the black panther case against Premchai should teach people how to avoid such offences.
“If the court summons you, you should go,” Prayuth told reporters on Tuesday.
The young Viet­namese help­ing tack­le the il­le­gal wildlife trade
Trang Nguyen is a rar­i­ty in Viet­nam where civ­il so­ci­ety is viewed with scep­ti­cism and most young peo­ple want more lu­crat
10 Sep 2021
Malayan tiger in cri­sis as poach­ing threat­ens to wipe out big cat
Pop­u­la­tion of crit­i­cal­ly en­dan­gered an­i­mal edges to ex­tinc­tion, as gov­ern­ment promis­es sol­diers in jun­gles by next year.
17 Dec 2018
Pri­mates, pan­golin scales, leop­ard bones: The per­ils of poach­ing
The il­le­gal wildlife trade con­tin­ues amid the pan­dem­ic, but a dishar­mo­nious re­la­tion­ship with na­ture will take its toll.
25 Jun 2020
The Lizard King: Il­le­gal Wildlife Trade’s Poster Boy
An un­der­cov­er in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the man at the heart of il­le­gal wildlife trad­ing. Is the Lizard King back in busi­ness?
6 Jul 2018
How the Yemen conflict flare-up affects its humanitarian crisis
Iraq faces growing violence as political rift deepens
Kashmir journalist arrested under Public Safety Act
Nearly 150 activists killed in Colombia in 2021: Rights ombudsman
Houthi drone attacks expose UAE vulnerabilities, say analysts
UK gives Ukraine anti-tank weapons as Canada sends special forces
Muslim girls wearing Hijab barred from classes at Indian college
Scientists warn Tonga eruption may damage environment for years
Follow Al Jazeera English:
© 2022 Al Jazeera Media Network
You rely on Al Jazeera for truth and transparency
We understand that your online privacy is very important and consenting to our collection of some personal information takes great trust. We ask for this consent because it allows Al Jazeera to provide an experience that truly gives a voice to the voiceless. You have the option to decline the cookies we automatically place on your browser but allowing Al Jazeera and our trusted partners to use cookies or similar technologies helps us improve our content and offerings to you. You can change your privacy preferences at any time by selecting ‘Cookie preferences’ at the bottom of your screen.To learn more, please view our Cookie Policy.