August 21, 2019
The conviction is a rare victory for the conservation movement in Thailand.
Italian Thai Development president Premchai Kannasutra has been sentenced to a non-suspended six-month imprisonment for carrying hunting rifles in an infamous case in which a black panther was poached in a national park in February of last year.
The construction tycoon admitted to the charge in a Criminal Court session today (August 20), in which the judges sentenced him to a one-year prison term, before halving it due to his confessing to the crime. Premchai was in possession of two hunting rifles and a homemade one when apprehended, according to an investigation report of Thong Pha Phum police in Kanchanaburi province.
Despite offers made on Premchai’s behalf by his defence attorney, the court refused his request for a suspended imprisonment, citing his convictions in two separate trials, both of which involve the poaching case.
Premchai vowed to be ordained as a monk for 15 days to make merit for the King. He also pledged to donate Bt3 million for public use, as well as to swear off firearms for the rest of his life.
Turning down Premchai’s offers, the judges told him that he should honour his pledges regardless of their conviction sentencing him to the six-month jail term.
The court also ordered Premchai to report to probationary officers within a 30-day period in exchange for granting him a temporary release at a Bt200,000 bail guarantee.
The Italian Thai Development executive was previously handed a suspended 16-month imprisonment by the Thong Pha Phum court for possessing the carcasses of animals other than the panther.
He was also given a one-year suspended imprisonment by an anti-corruption and malfeasance court for trying to bribe a forest ranger who caught him with a group of hunters.