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Poaching scandal piles pressure on Thailand's construction mogul

President of Italian-Thai on bail as debate grows about privileges for wealthy

Premchai Karnasuta, president of Italian-Thai Development, arrives at the Central Investigation Bureau in Bangkok on March 20. (Photo by Takaki Kashiwabara)

BANGKOK -- It was an overnight fall from grace. The multimillionaire whose company built Thailand's largest airport and Bangkok's first mass transit railway is now drawing attention for a poaching scandal that has stirred fresh debate over the privileges enjoyed by the country's powerful wealthy class.

Premchai Karnasuta, the high-profile president of Thai construction company Italian-Thai Development, was arrested in early February for allegedly hunting endangered species, including a rare black leopard, at a World Heritage wildlife sanctuary in the western province of Kanchanaburi.

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