BANGKOK – The president of Italian-Thai Development, one of Thailand’s largest construction companies, has been arrested for allegedly hunting a black panther, several non-profits reported on Tuesday in a joint statement.
Premchai Karnasuta was arrested on Sunday along with three other people in the Thungyai Naresuan Wildlife Sanctuary in the west of the country, informed the nonprofits Freeland, Green World Foundation, Love Wildlife, Traffic and the World Wildlife Fund.
“The Indochinese leopard is estimated to number just 2,500 individuals across Southeast Asia and is listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of Endangered Species,” the statement said.
“We hope to see the Thai authorities move towards swift prosecution and conviction,” it added.
The company, which has a capitalization of more than 600 billion baht ($19 billion), is undertaking international projects like the future Dawei industrial park in Myanmar.
Forest guards found the group in a place where access was prohibited, with what remained of a panther, including its skin, a barking deer and Kalij pheasants – all endangered species.
Kanchana Nittaya, director of the Wildlife Conservation Office, said that the group is under police custody, facing several charges related to illegal hunting which carry sentences up to five years in prison.