Thai exec guilty in poaching case, cleared of panther charge

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Thai billionaire construction tycoon Premchai Karnasuta leaves The Thong Pha Phum Provincial Court in Kanchanaburi, Thailand Tuesday, March 19, 2019. The court sentenced Premchai to 16 months in prison Tuesday for possessing the carcass of an endangered Kajij pheasant and possessing firearms in public areas. (AP Photo)

Bangkok (AP) — A billionaire construction tycoon has been convicted by a Thai court on charges related to a high-profile poaching case last year but was found not guilty of possessing the carcass of an endangered black panther seen in photos that had sparked the public outcry.

The Thong Pha Phum Provincial Court sentenced Premchai Karnasuta to 16 months in prison Tuesday for possessing the carcass of an endangered Kajij pheasant and possessing firearms in public areas. He has been released on bail.

Premchai was arrested last February after park rangers found that he and three of his company’s employees had set up camp at the Thung Yai Naresuan Wildlife Sanctuary, where they were found with guns and animals carcasses.

The three others were also sentenced Tuesday.