Thai construction tycoon charged with poaching

Thai business tycoon president of Italian-Thai Development Premchai Karnasuta, right, is seated after arriving at the wildlife police headquarters Bangkok, Thailand, Wednesday, March 14, 2018. Premchai, currently facing nine charges including illegal hunting in a wildlife sanctuary, was further charged with illegal possession of ivory, illegal possession of firearms and attempted bribery. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

Thai police have filed more charges against a billionaire construction tycoon accused of hunting endangered animals in a wildlife sanctuary, in a case that has sparked public criticism of privileges enjoyed by the country's rich and well-connected

BANGKOK — Thai police filed new charges Wednesday against a billionaire construction tycoon accused of hunting endangered animals in a wildlife sanctuary, in a case that has sparked public criticism of privileges enjoyed by the country's rich and well-connected.

Police filed charges of bribery and possession of guns and elephant tusks against Premchai Karnasuta, after issuing nine other charges against him and three others a day earlier over their hunting trip in early February. The four people involved, who are free on bail, have denied all charges.

Premchai is the president of Ital-Thai Development, one of Thailand's largest construction companies and a participant in many government mega-projects.

Police say the suspects were arrested at Thung Yai Naraesuan Wildlife Sanctuary in western Thailand with carcasses of an endangered black leopard and other wildlife in their possession.

The case has been met with public skepticism that justice will be done in a country that has seen the privileged prevail in high-profile cases.

Activists concerned about the case have worn masks of the slain big cat as a symbol of protest on several occasions and environmentalists have pledged to keep up pressure. The trending Thai catchphrase "The black cat will not die for free" has even been repeated by police. Graffiti artists have sprayed Bangkok's walls with paintings of the black cat, and when officials reportedly washed off the images, new black cat graffiti surfaced nearby.

Premchai appeared before police to hear charges on Wednesday, reaffirming that he did not kill the animal. He was granted bail again on the additional charges.

Peaple also read these

China affirms climate pledge after Trump rolls...

Mar 29, 2017

China's government says it will stick to its promises to curb carbon emissions after President...

China plans panda preserve 3 times size of...

Mar 31, 2017

China plans a preserve for giant pandas that will be three times the size of Yellowstone National...

'Silk Road' plan stirs unease over China's...

May 11, 2017

China's plan to build a "new Silk Road" of ports, railways and roads to expand trade across Asia...

Chinese president oversees military parade in...

Jul 30, 2017

Chinese President Xi Jinping has overseen a large-scale military parade in a show of China's...

China criticizes British freedom of navigation...

Jul 31, 2017

China has criticized plans by Britain to send its new aircraft carriers on freedom of navigation...

Sign up now!