A TEAM of forensic officers, police and forest rangers yesterday plotted a “crime scene” map at the campsite used by a construction mogul who is facing charges relating to alleged poaching in Thung Yai Naresuan Wildlife Sanctuary, in order to establish how an endangered black leopard was killed.
Deputy national police chief Pol General Srivara Rangsibharamanakul, meanwhile, said that he was confident that Premchai Karnasuta, president of Italian-Thai Development would face more charges related to the killing protected animals in the sanctuary in Kanchanaburi, despite the mogul’s denial of the accusations against him. “We have found hunting rifles in his possession and carcasses of wild animals. Those are enough to prove his intention of hunting,” Srivara said.
Initial investigations revealed that the shots at the big cat came from above, Srivara said. This meant that officials had to determine whether the shooter used a hunting stand and find out where it was.
The team visited a spot at Huay Pachi where spent shells were found in a creek. Nearby, investigators found the inner organs of a black leopard and traces of its blood. The second spot was about 400 metres south of the campsite, where, at about 1pm on February 4, rangers told Premchai that his campsite was on prohibited land, but he refused to leave.
That was when the sound of shooting was reportedly heard. A search there found a pot of leopard’s tail soup, the remains of a protected pheasant and a barking deer in an ice bucket, the remains of a leopard in a black bag and hunting rifles.
Chaiwat Limlikitaksorn, a chief of the Payasua ranger unit, said that the plotting being undertaken at the site would tell the trajectory of the shot and the location of the shooter.
Meanwhile, the investigation has expanded to Loei province, where Srivara yesterday flew to inspect whether land owned by Premchai was designated as national parks.
Srivara received a briefing from Loei Governor Chaiwat Chuenkosum, who said that Premchai owned five plots of lands in Phu Rua district.
“However [ownership of] 131 of them was revoked after illegal documents were found in their application for a land certificate. The 16 others plots are under the process of revocation,” the governor said. The plots are in mountainous areas in Phu Rua and Dan Sai districts.
A team of provincial police and forest rangers was deployed to visit Rang Yen Resort, which covers the two districts of Dan Sai and Phu Rua, Phu Rua Wanothayarn Field and Chateau de’Loei grape plantation.
In Kanchanaburi, the National Parks and Wildlife Department has sought an additional charge of cruelty to an animal against Premchai, who is already facing nine charges.