Thai Tycoon Pleads Not Guilty of Poaching

Updated: Aug 5, 2018

By Nina Rygh, Asia Reporter

Premchai Karnasuta and three company employees were arrested in February for allegedly poaching protected animals in the Thungyai Naresuan Wildlife Sanctuary in Thailand.

A team of wildlife rangers found the wealthy hunter camping in a remote wildlife retreat, with them a skin of a rare black female Indochinese leopard, a muntjac deer, a pheasant – all protected species - and soup made from the leopard's tail and firearms. The rangers were then allegedly offered cash and favors by the wealthy businessman but refused.

Prosecutors charged Premchai in April with hunting protected wildlife without permission,

illegal possession of protected wildlife carcasses, concealing wildlife carcasses, collecting wildlife items from a national park without permission, colluding to hunt wildlife without permission, carrying firearms without permits and bribing state officials.

Premchai and the three employees could face jail and hefty fines if found guilty. According to Pramchais lawyer, he is pleading not guilty on all accounts and has been let out on bail, waiting to face trial.

A subsequent raid of Premchais home officials also found four tusks from African elephants, and therefore illegally traded.

The case has generated a lot of public attention in Thailand and public demonstrations in Bangkok with demonstrators demanding justice.