Thai billionaire appears in court as poaching trial begins

FILE – In this March 14, 2018, file photo, Thai business tycoon, president of the Italian-Thai Development, Premchai Karnasuta arrives at the wildlife police headquarters in Bangkok, Thailand. The trial has begun for Premchai who is accused of poaching an endangered black panther and other animals in a wildlife sanctuary. Premchai appeared at the Kanchanaburi Provincial Court on Tuesday for the first witness testimony hearing in his case. (Sakchai Lalit, File/Associated Press)

The trial of a Thai billionaire construction tycoon charged with poaching an endangered black panther and other animals in a wildlife sanctuary began Tuesday after months of delay.

Premchai Karnasuta, the president of Italian-Thai Development PLC, appeared at the provincial court in Kanchanaburi in western Thailand to hear initial testimony in the case against him.

The case has been met with public skepticism that justice will be done in a country that has seen the privileged prevail in high-profile cases. Wildlife activists concerned about the case have worn masks of the slain big cat as a symbol of protest on several occasions and environmentalists have pledged to keep up pressure.

Read more starting at…..’Premchai was arrested last February after park rangers ‘ at…..Thai billionaire appears in court as poaching trial begins

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