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Thailand Appellate Court Upholds Construction Tycoon’s Prison Sentence

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Thailand’s Appeal Court has upheld the six-month prison sentence for construction tycoon Premchai Karnasuta for poaching a black leopard and illegal possession of guns.

Premchai, the president of Italian-Thai Development Plc, appeared in court on Tuesday to hear the verdict on rifles and ammunition possesion case.

The court ruled to uphold the lower court’s decision. Premchai was later granted release on unconditional bail, with 500,000 baht cash placed as surety. His lawyers said they would appeal to the Supreme Court.

It is one of many charges that Premchai is facing after he and his aides were arrested at an unauthorized hunting camp in the Thungyai Naresuan Wildlife Sanctuary in Kanchanaburi in February 2018. Park rangers found carcasses of wildlife such as black leopard and pheasant.

The construction tycoon is also being prosecuted for attempting to bribe state officials. He was sentenced earlier this week to a year in prison for bribery.

Bribery Charges against Construction tycoon

The Criminal Court for Corruption and Misconduct Case Region VII convicted Premchai Karnasuta, of attempting to bribe an official. His sentence does not come with parole.

Tanong Tapa, the public prosecutor, said that Premchai would appeal his case and posted bail at 200,000 baht.

Premchai’s case captured national attention on February 5, 2018. The high-profile construction tycoon and three aides were found surrounded by animal carcasses and guns in a protected wildlife sanctuary.

Head forest ranger Wichien Chinnawong of Thung Yai Naresuan Wildlife Sanctuary in Thailand claimed on February 8, 2018 that Premchai tried to bribe him and other forest officials to let the case slide.

Wichien submitted a 20-minute audio recording as evidence, where Premchai was heard saying, “Is there any way you could help me out? Any measures to follow? If you need anything, I’ll get it for you.” The court found the recording to be sufficient evidence of attempted bribery. Even though the bribe was not explicitly mentioned.

Earlier in March, the Thong Pha Phum Provincial Court in Kanchanaburi sentenced Premchai to 16 months in prison for weapons-related charges and conspiring to poach wildlife.

However, the court found Premchai innocent of killing and eating a black panther in a wildlife sanctuary.

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