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Prosecutor Nopparat Boonsri Convicted in 170M Baht Rhino Horn Bribery Scandal

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In a sensational twist that has rocked the legal community, a senior prosecutor has been convicted by the anti-corruption agency for his role in bribing customs officials to overlook a colossal rhino horn smuggling operation. Seven years ago, Nopparat Boonsri orchestrated a scheme to smuggle rhino horns worth over 170 million baht, evading criminal charges in the process.

On Tuesday, the Office of the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) declared that Nopparat, once the deputy Saraburi chief public prosecutor responsible for rights protection, legal assistance, and law enforcement, was found guilty of bribery. The NACC’s secretary-general, Niwatchai Kasemmongkol, recounted how Nopparat had previously served under the name Worapas Boonsri and held the rank of police major before his legal career. Reports found that he had offered assets or benefits to customs officials at Suvarnabhumi Airport, ensuring they turned a blind eye as smugglers brought in 21 rhino horns, weighing a staggering 49.4 kilograms, without facing any criminal repercussions.

The NACC’s investigation revealed violations of several legal statutes, including Section 144 of the Criminal Code, Section 123/5 of the anti-corruption law, and multiple disciplinary regulations pertaining to acts of bribery. Despite the overwhelming evidence against him, Nopparat stood firm, insisting on his innocence until proven guilty.

The case first drew public attention when authorities at Suvarnabhumi Airport seized the 21 rhino horns, collectively valued at 173 million baht. CCTV footage later surfaced, showing the illicit cargo being maneuvered through the airport by Nopparat himself, accompanied by two police officers and two women. The footage painted a damning picture of a coordinated operation to smuggle these prohibited items into the country.

In the wake of the scandal, Nopparat was swiftly transferred to an inactive role at the Department of Southern Bangkok Civil Litigation on April 3, 2017. However, the repercussions of his actions continued to unfold. On November 20, 2018, Nopparat faced the Samut Prakan Provincial Court, which sentenced him to four years in jail for importing restricted items without paying customs duty and unauthorized import of wild animal remains. The high-profile case captivated audiences and sent shockwaves through the legal system, serving as a stark reminder of the far-reaching consequences of corruption.


  1. grower134 June 26, 2024

    This is insane! How can someone in such a high position get away with this for so long? Our legal system is truly broken.

    • Alice K June 26, 2024

      It really makes you wonder what else is happening behind closed doors. This whole situation is a joke.

      • Joe June 26, 2024

        Exactly, Alice! If someone like him can abuse his power this blatantly, I’m scared to think about the ones who are more discreet.

    • Samantha June 26, 2024

      Sadly, it’s not that surprising. Corruption is rampant at every level. Just look at other high-profile cases globally.

  2. Paul D. June 26, 2024

    What bugs me the most is how persistent he was in claiming his innocence despite the overwhelming evidence. Must be nice to live in such denial.

    • Lydia June 26, 2024

      Well, when you’re used to bending the law for yourself, I suppose you start to believe you’re untouchable.

    • ChatMaster3000 June 26, 2024

      True, Paul. It’s like watching someone gaslight the whole country. So infuriating!

    • Paul D. June 26, 2024

      Lydia and ChatMaster3000, you both nailed it. These people live in an entirely different reality.

  3. Marie H. June 26, 2024

    This just highlights how important whistleblowers and independent agencies are. Without them, such crimes would never come to light.

    • Bobby L June 26, 2024

      Marie, that’s a good point. But whistleblowers often face severe repercussions. It’s a dangerous gamble.

  4. Eduardo June 26, 2024

    How many more rhinos have to die before we take wildlife trafficking seriously? It’s not just a ‘scandal,’ it’s wiping out species!

    • GreenEarth June 26, 2024

      Absolutely, Eduardo! The ecological impact of actions like this is catastrophic. We need harsher penalties for wildlife crimes.

  5. Sarah June 26, 2024

    170M baht in rhino horns? Is there even a demand for this? Who buys these?

    • Kevin C. June 26, 2024

      It’s mostly for traditional Chinese medicine and status symbols. Ridiculous considering the horns are made of keratin, like our nails.

    • Sarah June 26, 2024

      Thanks, Kevin. It’s even more upsetting knowing it’s all based on pseudoscience.

  6. Barry L. June 26, 2024

    Four years in jail feels like a slap on the wrist for something this huge. The punishment doesn’t fit the crime.

    • conscioustraveller June 26, 2024

      Not to mention he probably won’t serve the full term. Corrupt people often find ways to get early releases.

    • Barry L. June 26, 2024

      conscioustraveller, that’s my fear. He’ll walk out in two years, then disappear and live off the profits of his schemes.

  7. Denise B. June 26, 2024

    Imagine the amount of money he must have made to risk such a scandal. This is just the tip of the iceberg.

  8. Mike93 June 26, 2024

    Is anyone surprised about this anymore? Corruption cases like these happen everywhere. It’s depressing.

    • Rebecca June 26, 2024

      True, Mike. It’s like they pop up every other day. We need systemic change, not just outrage.

  9. HappyCamper June 26, 2024

    Did anyone think about the customs officials who accepted the bribe? They’re equally to blame!

    • Trevor J. June 26, 2024

      Absolutely, HappyCamper. The entire chain of command needs to be held accountable, not just the figurehead.

      • HappyCamper June 26, 2024

        Exactly, Trevor! Punishing just one person won’t solve the systemic issue.

    • Jasmine June 26, 2024

      But how far up does the corruption go? What if these customs officials were just following orders from even higher up?

  10. LegalBeagle June 26, 2024

    Nopparat’s previous role in the police makes this even scarier. The overlap between law enforcement and corruption is terrifying.

    • Sophie June 26, 2024

      I agree, LegalBeagle. It’s like finding out the fox is guarding the henhouse. We need more rigorous screening.

  11. Hannah P. June 26, 2024

    I hope this case serves as a wake-up call for reforms. There are probably many more Nopparats out there.

  12. johnny45 June 26, 2024

    Isn’t it funny how they always insist they’re innocent? Guilty people never admit to their crimes.

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