CityNews – A hunter was caught lighting a fire at Mae Chaem National Reserved Forest.
On April 2nd, Mae Jae village headman in Mae Na Chon, Mae Chaem District spotted fire spreading near the village. While rallying around 20 villagers to help put out the fire, the village headman discovered a pick up truck parked 700 m. away from the fire. Mae Chaem Chief District Officer was soon notified to investigate the cause and around 10pm that day, after the fire had been extinguished, the village headman and villagers waited to ambush the car owner who is suspected to be the burner. When the suspect showed up, he allowed the villagers to search the car. While they were doing so, the suspect fled from the scene.
The investigation was later joined by Mae Chaem National Reserved Forest as it was confirmed that the fire occurred within the reserved forest premises. Evidence seized from the car included a hunting rifle, bullets, a knife, walkie-talkie, bags and a jacket. The suspect is identified as Panya Jala, 58. He turned himself in on the following day and is charged with damaging reserved forest, possessing a weapon without permission, and possessing a weapon in public places without a proper cause.