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Guilty of aiding smugglers

Guilty of aiding smugglers

A senior prosecutor has been found guilty by the anti-corruption agency of bribing customs officials to overlook rhino horn smuggling worth over 170 million baht to evade criminal charges seven years ago.

The Office of the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) announced on Tuesday that it had found Nopparat Boonsri, a former deputy Saraburi chief public prosecutor in charge of rights protection, legal assistance, and law enforcement, culpable of bribery in 2017.

NACC secretary-general Niwatchai Kasemmongkol stated that Nopparat, formerly known as Worapas Boonsri and previously holding the rank of police major, offered assets or benefits to officials at Suvarnabhumi Airport Passenger Control Customs Office in exchange for allowing a group of smugglers to bring 21 rhino horns weighing 49.4 kilograms into the country without facing criminal charges.

The NACC ruled that Nopparat violated Section 144 of the Criminal Code, Section 123/5 of the anti-corruption law, and disciplinary regulations regarding acts of bribery.

Despite the indictment, Nopparat has consistently maintained his innocence until proven guilty.

At the time, authorities seized 21 rhino horns worth 173 million baht at Suvarnabhumi Airport. CCTV footage showed the luggage containing the horns being moved through the airport by Nopparat, two police officers, and two women.

Before the criminal investigation, Nopparat was transferred to an inactive post at the Department of Southern Bangkok Civil Litigation on April 3, 2017.

On November 20, 2018, he was taken to the Samut Prakan Provincial Court, which sentenced him to four years in jail for importing restricted items without paying customs duty and unauthorized import of wild animal remains.

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