Police and wildlife conservation officials seize firearms during a search of the residence of Premchai Karnasuta, president of Italian-Thai Development Plc, on Soi Sun Wichai Road in Bangkok on Feb 7. (File photo by Patipat Janthong)

Prosecutors have decided to indict construction tycoon and accuse wildlife poacher Premchai Karnasuta on an additional charge of illegal possession of firearms.

Police investigators briefed deputy national police chief Pol Gen Srivara Rangsibhammanakul on the latest developments in the case on Tuesday.

Pol Gen Srivara said later that prosecutors from Region 8 have decided to indict Mr Premchai in the Criminal Court for illegal possession of firearms in violation of the Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and Fireworks Act, NCPO order No 44 and the Criminal Code.

Investigators from the Natural Resources and Environmental Crime Suppression Division reportedly found 43 firearms and a quantity of ammunition during a search of Mr Premchai’s residence on Soi Sun Wichai 3 in Huai Khwang district, Bangkok, in February. Six of the guns were not licenced.

The president of Italian-Thai Development and three employees were arrested on the night of Feb 4 for alleged illegal hunting in Thungyai Naresuan Wildlife Sanctuary, a Unesco World Heritage site, in Kanchanaburi province.

They were found in possession of dead protected animals, including a rare black leopard and its pelt.

After police submitted their investigation report recommending indictment on 11 charges, prosecutors  decided to press six charges against Mr Premchai.

These are carrying firearms in public without permission, colluding to hunt wildlife in a wildlife sanctuary without permission, hunting protected wildlife without permission, possessing protected wildlife carcasses without permission, concealing wildlife carcasses obtained illegally, and collecting wildlife items in a national forest reserve without permission.

The five charges dropped were entering a wildlife sanctuary without permission, possessing wildlife-hunting tools, attempting to hunt wildlife in a wildlife sanctuary without permission, committing cruelty to animals, and possessing firearms and ammunition without permission.

Mr Premchai now also faces arraignment on the additional, seventh, charge of illegal possession of firearms. 

He and his three co-accused – employees Yong Dodkhruea, Nathee Riamsaen and Thanee Thummat – remain free on bail. 

Police search the house of Premchai Karnasuta, president of Italian-Thai Development Plc in Soi Sun Wichai of Bangkok’s Huai Khwang district and find 43 firearms on Feb 7. (Photo supplied)

News Reporter

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