BANGKOK, Aug 20 (Bernama) -- Thailand's construction tycoon Premchai Karnasuta was sentenced to six months in jail on Tuesday for illegally possessing rifles but was released on bail, Xinhua news agency reported.
The Criminal Court ruled Premchai, chairman of Italian Thai Development Co, was guilty of illegally possessing three rifles, including one allegedly used in the illegal hunting wildlife alongside three alleged accomplices in Thung Yai Naresuan wildlife sanctuary in Kanchanaburi province in February last year.
In addition, the court judged him guilty of illegally possessing a cap gun and ammunition for the rifles. However, given Premchai's confession to the charges, the court reduced his jail term from one year to six months.
Though the Criminal Court's verdict was delivered without suspension of the legal penalty, Premchai was released with 500,000 baht (about US$16,200) on bail. He is almost certainly expected to have his lawyer appeal the case in the Appeals Court.
Earlier this year, the Thong Pha Phum court in Kanchanaburi sentenced Premchai to 16 months in jail for possessing wildlife carcasses including those of a black panther and a pheasant but the tycoon was released on bail.
He and his accomplices were arrested while poaching in the wildlife sanctuary by officials of the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation for whom he had allegedly offered kickbacks.