A slight majority of people are of the opinion that the current legal penalties on poachers of wildlife are already suitable, according to the result of a survey carried out by National Institute of Development Administration, or Nida Poll.
The poll was conducted on Feb 8-9 on 1,250 people aged 18 and over of various levels of education and education throughout the country in the wake of the poaching scandal involving Italian-Thai Development Plc (ITD) chief executive officer Premchai Karnasuta.
According to the existing law, those found to have poached on wildlife in restricted areas are liable to a jail term of not exceeding five years or a fine of not more than 50,000 baht or both.
To the question whether the current penalties on wildlife poachers are suitable, a slight majority of respondents, 51.28%, said “yes”; 47.52% said they are too lenient, saying that the jail term should be between 5-20 years and the maximum fine should be 1 million baht; and, 1.20% were uncertain or had no comment.
Asked about their confidence in agencies responsible for solving problems over wildlife poaching and trespassing of wildlife reserves, 19.04% said they have much confidence in them and 31.04% said they are faily confident in them; 36.96% said they have little confidence and 11.60% do not have confidence in them at all; and, 1.36% were uncertain or had no comment.
On ways of solving the problems, 54.32% of the respondents suggested that the law should be strictly enforced and 33.60% said the people’s awareness in forest and wildlife conservation should be promoted.
Asked whether they are confident that law will be enforced equally on the Thai people, 68.88% of the respondents said “no”; 27.84% said “yes”; and 3.28% were uncertain or had no comment.