Premchai Found Guilty in ‘Black Panther’ Ruling, Sent to Jail

Premchai Karnasuta, in white shirt, arrives on Dec. 8, 2021, at the Thong Pha Phum Provincial Court in Kanchanaburi province.

BANGKOK — Construction tycoon Premchai Karnasuta was sentenced by the Supreme Court to more than three years in jail on Wednesday for illegally poaching wild animals inside a protected forest, among other charges.

Premchai, who served as the president of the construction conglomerate Italian-Thai at the time of his arrest in 2018, was also found guilty of carrying weapons without permits and bribing park rangers at the Thung Yai Naresuan Wildlife Sanctuary in Kanchanaburi province.

The court gave Premchai a total of 2 years and 14 months in jail; in the Thai legal system, each month of imprisonment counts as 30 days.

The then-president of construction Italian-Thai and his co-defendants were apprehended at a campsite in the Thung Yai Naresuan Wildlife Sanctuary, where authorities found firearms and animal remains, including those of a protected black panther.



The tycoon was previously convicted of the same charges by the two lower courts. The verdict was upheld by the Supreme Court today. Premchai was immediately sent to prison after the verdict was read in the courtroom.

Minutes after the ruling, the Stocks Exchange of Thailand was informed that Premchai’s son, Toranit Kannasuta, has been appointed as acting president of Italian-Thai Company.

Each of Premchai’s two accomplices who were also arrested at the campsite in Thung Yai Naresuan Wildlife Sanctuary were also sentenced to two years in prison.