BANGKOK, Dec 19 – Deputy Prime Minister Plodprasop Suraswadi was indicted in the Criminal Court today for illegally exporting 100 Bengal tigers to China in 2002 when he was director general of the Royal Forestry Department.
He was brought to court to be arraigned for approving the tiger exports by the Sriracha Tiger Zoo between September 9 and December 24, 2002 – a violation of Thai law and a breach of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).
The Attorney General, in filing the case with the court, charged Mr Plodprasop and senior forestry official Manop Laoprasert with being implicated in the corruption case. The Department of Special Investigation initially submitted the allegations against them to the National Anti-Corruption Commission which found sufficient evidence to file suit against them.
Mr Plodprasop was released on bail after his lawyer put a Bt120,000 bond. He said he has been waiting for a decade to prove his innocence in court.
“I insist that I’ve done nothing wrong for I have performed my duty. Exporting tigers to China is not wrong. Anyone who charged me with malfeasance should produce evidence to substantiate their allegations and prove whether the export has caused any damage [to the country],” he said.