Italian-Thai Development Plc president and CEO Premchai Karnasuta and three other members of his hunting party turned themselves in to police in Thong Pha Phum district of Kanchanaburi on Friday (March 2) to acknowledge the charges against them.
Mr Premchai’s emergence at Thong Pha Phum district police station was the first public appearance since his arrest by forest rangers at Thung Yai Naresuan wildlife sanctuary on Feb 4. He was questioned by police inquiry officers for about two hours before his release.
After the interrogation, Mr Premchai briefly told a group of waiting reporters that he was very tired because the police inquiry officers asked so many questions.
In the meantime, the deputy national police chief, Pol Gen Srivara Ransibrahmanakul, went to Thong Pha Phum district police station reportedly to examine the police investigative report about the illegal hunting case.
He told the media that the ITD boss had acknowledged the nine charges against him and the latter was set free after the interrogation session.
The deputy national police chief insisted that the police had not dragged their feet in the investigation of the case as suspected by the public, claiming that the hunting case was progressing.
Noting that this is not a small case, Pol Gen Srivara said he had instructed police handling the case to proceed carefully and to strictly follow the letters of the law.
“Police have to interrogate and charge in accordance with the law – not in accordance with sentiment. The facts and evidence obtained by the police so far are enough to press the charges. The case must not be lost due to technicality such as illegal questioning; re-enactment at the crime scene without the participation of officials from the scientific crime detection unit; or accepting a complaint on animal cruelty charge despite the fact it is not specified in the law. All these will ruin the case and cause damage to the police force,” said the deputy police chief.
Regarding the issue that a police captain of Thong Pha Phum police was placed under probation for accepting the cruelty against animals complaint from a livestock official which was subsequently withdrawn, Pol Gen Srivara defended that the probation was not a punitive action to help anybody.
He clarified that since wildlife was not covered by the cruelty against animals law, complaint of cruelty against animals could not be filed with the police.
Pol Gen Srivara added that police superintendent of Thong Pha Phum police had to discipline the police caption who accepted the complaint otherwise the superintendent himself would be faulted for negligence of duty.
“An inquiry officer must carefully study the relevant laws before accepting a complaint. This is not about helping a suspect. It’s about upholding police’s working standard,” he noted.