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Thailand: prison closes on millionaire wildlife hunter

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Three years and two months in prison. This is the conviction of a famous Thai millionaire this Wednesday, December 8, for having illegally hunted protected species.

The facts date back to February 2018, when this construction magnate named Premchai Karnasuta was arrested by rangers while in a national park classified as a wildlife sanctuary. In his camp, the forest guards had found firearms, animal carcasses, including a Kalij pheasant, a red muntjac deer and the skin of a black leopard, which is a very rare species.

This case had then aroused the indignation of public opinion in Thailand, which is part of this category of country where the powerful often escape justice. Moreover, Premchai Karnasuta was sentenced for the first time in March 2019, to sixteen months in prison for three charges of poaching. A sentence he had appealed to, but which was eventually extended to over three years, although he did manage to be acquitted for possession of the leopard skin.

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An exemplary sentence

However, by ordering an indefinite prison sentence and detention, the Supreme Court of Thailand, which is the kingdom’s highest court, ended a legal battle that had raised anger over the impunity enjoyed by generally the personalities of the country.

Incarcerated directly in the prison of the district of Thong Pha Rover, as indicated by a judicial source, Premchai Karnasuta also received a heavy fine of 2 million baht (nearly 53,000 euros). The Supreme Court also sentenced his 68-year-old former driver, Yong Dodkruea, and the 59-year-old hunter who also worked for him, Thanee Thummat, to jail, as the Bangkok Post reported.

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