KAMPHAENG PHET — A man was arrested and charged on Tuesday for allegedly shooting dead a forest ranger who attempted to arrest him for illegal logging operation.
Police say Suchat Sae-chao confessed to fatally shooting Krissada Kabbua, a head ranger at Khlong Wang Chao National Park, where Suchat reportedly cut down protected trees for commercial purposes.
Ranger Krissada was among the group of security officers who discovered felled mai daeng trees (Xylia xylocarpa) cut into logs, as well as logging equipment, inside the forest. They soon spotted Suchat fleeing the scene, and gave chase.
Around 3pm, while the group were in pursuit by car, Krissada was fatally shot in the back of the head. Suchat was arrested at around 7pm. He was charged with murder.
Adisak Phusitwongsanuyut, former park director, wrote a tribute to Krissada in an online post.
“The ranger has two small children. I saw the pictures he had posted of him hugging his warm family before he was shot dead yesterday, making me very sad,” Adisak wrote.
Khlong Wang Chao National Park, straddling Kamphaeng Phet and Tak, is a rich forest and a lucrative target for illegal loggers. The head ranger at the same park was also shot dead in April 2008 while investigating logging operations.
In Thailand, park rangers carry out their work with extremely low pay and often risk life and limb. Their profiles rose to public attention in 2018, when a junior ranking ranger arrested a construction tycoon suspected of poaching a black panther in Kanchanaburi.