The 7th region public prosecution has decided to indict Italian-Thai Development boss Premchai Karnasuta and three other members of the hunting group on six counts of charges out of 10 counts of charge filed by the police.
Mrs Somsri Wattanapaisarn, director-general of the 7th region public prosecution, told a press conference today (Wednesday) that a panel of prosecutors handing the illegal hunting case agreed to indict Premchai and his three hunting members on the charges of illegal hunting in the Thung Yai Naresuan wildlife sanctuary; illegal hunting of protected species; illegal possession of carcasses of protected species; concealing of illegally acquired carcasses; illegal collection of forest products in national forest reserves; and carrying firearms in public without a permit and without good reasons.
The four other charges which were dropped by the prosecution are: illegal possession of firearms and ammunition; illegal entry to wildlife sanctuary; bringing into the wildlife sanctuary equipment for use in illegal hunting without prior permission; attempting to hunt wildlife without permission; and unreasonably treating animals with brutality.
Mrs Somsri clarified that the prosecution decided to drop the charge of illegal possession of firearms and ammunition and illegal entry to the game reserves because they were legally owned by Premchai and also Premchai and his hunting party were given permission to enter the wildlife sanctuary although they did not follow the proper procedure.
The prosecution has also decided to claim 460,000 baht in compensation from Premchai for the killing of the black panther, she said, adding that the compensation was based on the price of the same animal quoted by Chiang Mai night safari back in 2006.
As for the 12-million baht lawsuit filed against the Italian-Thai boss by the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plants Conservation, Mrs Somsai said that was a civil lawsuit which had nothing to do with the public prosecution.
Head of the prosecution panel handling Premchai’scase, Mr Somjate Amnuaysawat, said the panel would formally notify the commissioner of the 7th region provincial police bureau of the prosecution’s decision to indict the four suspects on six counts of charge.
If the police commissioner disagrees with the prosecution, the case would then be submitted to the attorney-general for consideration, said Mr Somjate, adding that if there is no problem from the police, the case will be proceeded to the court of law within this week before the suspects are due to be present before the court for the 5th round of detention.
The chief prosecutor said he was confident there was sufficient evidence to indict the four suspects as he commended Pol Gen Srivara Rangsibrahmanakul, the deputy national police chief, for being very helpful in providing additional evidence quickly as requested by the prosecution.