Erasing the black leopard

5 03 2018

Boss of of Italian-Thai Premchai Karnasuta is a big deal in the business world, with impeccable connections (read his CV). For a while he was listed in the Forbes richest 50 for Thailand.

He’s used to getting his way and when he was caught red-handed poaching wildlife in the World Heritage Thungyai Naresuan sanctuary it was something of a surprise. It was certainly a surprise for him as he’d have thought all his connections would have prevented any authorities getting too interested in his illegal hunting.

At the time, the press said he could face up to 28 years in jail. We said, let’s see, adding that like many of the big shots who get caught up in legal cases, the initial risk is that the case will be delayed and then go quiet.

For a while, it has been very quiet. Such quietness suggests wheeling and dealing going on behind the scenes. The next news was that policeman involved in the case were being “disciplined.” Such transfers are also usually a sure sign of deals being done.

No doubt feeling more confident following all of the “negotiations,” Premchai finally appeared at a police station. That police station was Thong Pha Phum in Kanchanaburi province, some 250 km and a 3.5 hour drive from Bangkok. Who else took that journey? Reports, video and pictures show that Deputy national police chief Pol Gen Srivara Ransibrahmanakul made the trip and “had a brief talk with Mr Premchai.”

If anyone was looking for evidence of how the behind-the-scenes dealing was being done, surely this was evidence of collusion. If not collusion with the highest levels of police, then it is evidence of others even more senior sending messages to an “underling” deputy national police chief. This is wheeling and dealing at the very highest level.

Then video emerged of the meeting between the tycoon and the deputy national police chief.

The clip shows Premchai initially wai-ing Pol Gen Srivara a wai. Srivara returns the wai, but “a few seconds later he repeated it by bowing low to Mr Premchai.” This gesture shows a junior giving respect to a senior. In other words, it is a display of a supplicant. Social media users were amazed and many pointed to this as yet another display of double standards in the legal system.

Further suggesting that Premchai has done some deals at very high levels, graffiti art of black leopards – one of Premchai’s hunted animals – appearing in Bangkok is being erased. Erasure demonstrates high-level collusion with the wealthy animal slaughterer.


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