Construction tycoon Premchai Karnasuta, centre, arrives at the Thong Pha Phum court in Kanchanaburi province on Tuesday morning. (Photo by Piyarat Chongcharoen)
KANCHANABURI: Construction billionaire Premchai Karnasuta was sentenced to 16 months in jail for illegal possession of a dead pheasant and weapons, and supporting poaching.
However he was acquitted of any wrongdoing connected with a black leopard carcass found at the scene, which was blamed on other defendants.
The Thong Pha Phum Court gave the ruling on Tuesday morning in the high-profile case, which saw the construction tycoon widely blamed for the killing of a rare black leopard after his group was arrested with the carcasses of protected animals at their unauthorised campsite in Thungyai Naresuan Wildlife Sanctuary in Thong Pha Phum district in early February last year.
The 16-month sentence included six months for illegally carrying weapons, eight for supporting poaching and two for possession of a dead pheasant. Premchai was one of four defendants, and the other three took the blame for possessing the black leopard carcass.
Yong Dodkruea was sentenced to 13 months in jail: three months for illegal firearm possession, six months for illegally carrying firearms, and four months for possessing the black leopard carcass. He was acquitted on the charge of illegally collecting forest products.
Nathee Riamsaen was sentenced to four months in jail and fined 10,000 baht for illegally possessing the black leopard carcass, but the jail term was suspended for two years. She was acquitted of illegally possessing and carrying firearms.
Thanee Thummat was sentenced to two years and 17 months in jail: three months for illegal firearm possession, four months for having the leopard carcass, six months for illegally carrying firearms, four months for attempted poaching, one year for poaching and one year for collecting forest products. He was found guilty of all charges.
The court also ordered Premchai and Thanee to pay 2 million baht in compensation related to the case to the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation.