Street protests expected if suspected poacher not charged
THE SEUB Nakhasathien Foundation has threatened to stage protests if police fail to pursue the charge of deliberately killing wildlife against construction tycoon Premchai Karnasuta.
“Definitely, there will be people taking to the streets in that case,” Sasin Chalermlarp, the conservation group’s president, said yesterday. Photo from: Sasin’s Facebook
He was referring to a perceived delay in the police investigation of allegations that Premchai, president of Italian-Thai Development Plc, and three accomplices shot dead several wild animals, including a critically endangered black leopard, in a wildlife sanctuary in Kanchanaburi province last month. Sasin spoke as his foundation released a statement on Premchai’s case to demand swift and transparent law enforcement. The statement said it appeared that Premchai and his group hid guns in their vehicles and set up camp in an unauthorised spot, revealing that he intended to go hunting. The statement also described Premchai’s case as “not complicated” and argued that relevant authorities, particularly the police, should be able to quickly act to bring the culprits to justice. The foundation urged the government and the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation to closely monitor the case. “We urge the government to stand by the people and condemn those bent on hurting the country’s natural resources,” the statement said. Sasin said his group would also submit a copy of the statement to national police commissioner Pol General Chakthip Chaijinda. If police failed to quickly conclude the case, he might consider asking Chakthip to change the officers in charge of the investigation. “Probably we will ask the Department of Special Investigation to take over the case,” he said. Last Friday, deputy national police commissioner Pol General Srivara Ransibrahmanakul drew a barrage of criticism after he made a deep bow while returning the greeting of Premchai at the Thong Pha Phum Police Station in Kanchanaburi. Premchai was reporting to investigators in connection with alleged poaching.
Srisuwan Junya, secretary-general of the Thai Constitution Protection Organisation Association, further urged the Police Commission to launch a probe against Srivara over the bow. Srivara yesterday said he would welcome a probe but threatened to take legal action if Srisuwan’s comments damaged his reputation. A recent decision to put a policeman on probation for accepting a complaint of animal cruelty against Premchai was in line with police regulations, Srivara said. “A policeman cannot accept a complaint about an action that is not an offence under the law and a policeman must not be negligent,” he |said. The complaint was filed by Wichian Shinwong, a senior official at the Thung Yai Naresuan Wildlife Sanctuary who arrested Premchai despite learning that he was a top executive at a large Thai firm. Wichian has been widely lauded for arresting Premchai. However, police said the alleged action by Premchai did not meet the terms of the animal cruelty law. Counter Corruption Division chief Pol Maj-General Kamol Rienracha, meanwhile, said available evidence suggested Premchai had been trying to bribe arresting officials. “We will interrogate Premchai on March 7 [tomorrow],” Kamol added.