Premchai Karnasuta is at the Thong Pha Phum Court in Kanchanaburi province on Feb 6 when police sought to prolong his detention. He was released on bail on a bond of 150,000 baht. (Photo by Piyarach Chongcharoen)
Construction tycoon Premchai Karnasuta will not be required to appear in court again until late in March since he has benefitted from a relaxed rule unique to the Thong Pha Phum Court.
Suriyan Hongwilai, spokesman of the Court of Justice, explained the procedure on Friday, apparently in a bid to quell rife speculation Mr Premchai might be enjoying special treatment when he was not required to appear again in court in 12 days like other suspects.
Mr Suriyan explained that by law police might prolong the detention of a suspect for seven periods of 12 days each to allow further investigation.
As police sought the first detention period for Mr Premchai and the three other suspects on Feb 6, they would normally be required to appear in court again on Saturday.
However, the Thong Pha Phum Court was the exception. It had relaxed the rule on reporting during police interrogation since 2013. The reason was that most suspects in the tourist town were not local people, Mr Suriyan said.
“If suspects were to report themselves every 12 days, it would be a waste of time and cause them to lose income,” he said.
The Thong Pha Phum Court now requires all suspects to show up in court only from the 4th detention request onward, and every suspect is treated the same way.
“Based on this rule, Mr Premchai is required to appear in court again for the first time on March 26,” Mr Suriyan said.
The 63-year-old president of Italian-Thai Development Plc was arrested with three other people in a no-camping area inside the Western Thungyai Naresuan Wildlife Sanctuary in Thong Pha Phum district of Kanchanaburi on the night of Feb 4. Seized from them were long-barrel guns and ammunition.
Later, park officials also found the hidden carcasses of 10 animals, including a bullet-ridden rare black leopard. Earlier reports said they hunted wild animals there to eat the meat.
The court later approved their detention during police interrogation but released them on bail on a bond of 150,000 baht each.
The four suspects face numerous charges bourhgt under wildlife, forest, weapon and cruelty to animals laws. They have denied the charges.
Police later searched Mr Premchai‘s house in Bangkok and found many long-barrel guns and two pairs of large elephant tusks which were being examined to find their place of origin.