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Public fury as ‘Boss’ allowed to walk free

Public fury as ‘Boss’ allowed to walk free

BANGKOK: Public trust and confidence in public prosecutors and police have been shaken after all charges against Red Bull scion Vorayuth “Boss” Yoovidhya in his fatal hit-and-run case were dropped.

Saturday 25 July 2020, 09:24AM


Vorayuth Yoovidhya was arrested in September 2012 after a black Ferrari ran into a motorcycle on Sukhumvit Soi 47. The motorcycle’s rider, Pol Snr Sgt Maj Wichian Klanprasert of Thong Lor police station was killed. Photo: Somchai Poomlard / Bangkok Post

Vorayuth Yoovidhya was arrested in September 2012 after a black Ferrari ran into a motorcycle on Sukhumvit Soi 47. The motorcycle’s rider, Pol Snr Sgt Maj Wichian Klanprasert of Thong Lor police station was killed. Photo: Somchai Poomlard / Bangkok Post

All local and international arrest warrants were revoked following the decision, reports the Bangkok Post.

The move has sparked public outrage over the impunity enjoyed by the rich in Thailand, with angry netizens pointing out that prisons are used to incarcerate the poor, while the rich who are implicated in serious crimes never see the inside of a jail cell.

An activist has vowed to petition the anti-graft agency to investigate the prosecutors and police who handled the case.

The reasons behind the decision are still unknown to the public and the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) has not given any explanation.

The news was broken on Thursday night when CNN reported the details of a letter sent to Mr Vorayuth’s Bangkok address by Thong Lor police station which had been uploaded to The Reporters Facebook page.

According to the letter, “The Attorney-General has ordered the acquittal of Mr Vorayuth Yoovidhya on all charges” and “The national police commissioner did not object to the order. The case has ended”.

The news immediately sparked public anger. On Twitter, #BossYoovidhya was the top trending hashtag in Thailand in over 200,000 tweets as of 8pm on Friday.

No one from the OAG could be reached for comment on Friday.

Isranews, however, reported that the attorney-general, Wongsakul Kittipromwong, denied knowing anything about the decision.

“I don’t know about it yet. The report has not reached me yet. I need to look at the details first,” Mr Wongsakul was quoted as saying.

Pol Col Kissana Phathanacharoen, deputy spokesman of the Royal Thai Police, told a press conference on Friday (July 24) that the Department of Southern Bangkok Criminal Litigation decided late last month not to press the remaining charge of reckless driving causing death against Mr Vorayuth, and police agreed with the prosecutors.

The next steps will be to formally withdraw local warrants for the arrest of Mr Vorayuth through the court and ask Interpol to lift its red notice, Pol Col Kissana said.

“The revocation of warrants is a normal procedure in such cases,” Pol Col Kissana said while refusing to elaborate on the reasons for the prosecutors’ decision.

“Whether police oppose the prosecutors’ decision or not depends on the witnesses and evidence, not on social demand. The officers who poorly handled the case in 2012 have already faced disciplinary action,” Pol Col Kissana said.

Even the chief of the Royal Thai Police can not intervene in the work of police interrogators assigned to handle cases, he added.

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Pol Col Kissana said that before their decision, prosecutors had demanded additional interrogation from police, and police had met the demand.

“Mr Vorayuth could now return to Thailand without any problem. At this moment, we don’t know where he [Boss] is,” he noted.

Suriyan Hongvilai, spokesman of the Office of the Judiciary, said that police had not yet submitted a request to withdraw the arrest warrants for Mr Vorayuth to the office.

Pol Maj Chavalit Laoha-udom, a list MP of the Move Forward Party (MFP) who was a forensic officer gathering and examining evidence in the case at the time said he was upset by prosecutors’ decision.

He said he was confident that there was solid evidence against Mr Vorayuth.

Jirawat Aranyakanont, a Bangkok MP for the MFP, called on police and prosecutors to provide reasons for dropping the charge.

“This is unlikely to happen to ordinary people. I wonder if prisons are for locking away poor people only,” Mr Jirawat said.

Varaporn Uthairangsi, a lawyer for the Human Rights Lawyers Association, said that prosecutors should have sought greater assistance from Interpol to apprehend and bring Mr Vorayuth back to Thailand.

“This decision undermines public trust in the justice system,” she said, adding that the prosecutors should reveal details of their report to the public and explain why they decided to drop the charge.

Activist Srisuwan Janya said that the decisions by the prosecutors and police in the case might constitute an act of preferential treatment and he will ask the National Anti-Corruption Commission to investigate next week.

Mr Vorayuth, now 35, was accused of driving his black Ferrari when it hit the rear of a policeman’s motorcycle at high speed, dragging his body along Sukhumvit Road before speeding away in the early morning of Sept 3, 2012. The victim was Pol Sgt Maj Wichian Klanprasert, 47, who was based at Thong Lor police station. Mr Vorayuth was then 27 years old.

He postponed hearing charges seven times. It was not until April 27, 2017, that prosecutors finally charged him with reckless driving causing death and failing to help a crash victim.

He fled on a private plane two days before he was due to face the charges.

The speeding charge and reckless driving causing damage to assets were later dropped when the one-year statute of limitations expired. The next charge – failing to stop and help a crash victim – expired on Sept 3, 2017.

The last and most serious charge, reckless driving causing death, would have remained on the books until 2027, but has now been dropped.

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LALALA | 27 July 2020 - 10:07:16

...people involved and try to clear the issue on the spot and at a low level if possible. Thats simply cheaper, if it goes up the ranks to much people are involved and to much docs need to disappear, hence you pay more, same as you do when you are a popular figure.

LALALA | 27 July 2020 - 10:05:07

I agree with Island man that you have corruption in every country. The disadvantage of developed countries is that 'normal' people will not be able to benefit from it as corruption there is on very high and political level or simply called lobby-ism. In LOS you simply can buy yourself out from everything or get some needed docs speed up, visas etc. for fee. The secret is not to get to much...

Little Tommy Tucker | 26 July 2020 - 18:39:57

Island Man, I remember the case of the driver, apparently pissed as a fart, killing 4 people. Got'rehab' at a private re-had clinic, you know, champers for brunch etc. He suffered from 'affluenza'.

Island Man | 26 July 2020 - 06:18:48

After reading the comments let me just point out that this kind corruption is not exclusive to Thailand and every country in the world is guilty of the same. Take the USA as a prime example...please, take the USA.

Island Man | 26 July 2020 - 06:13:20

Another honorable AG. I expect Shinawatra and his family to be pardoned next and be able to return to Thailand and become PM again. What a world we live in. 

Kurt | 25 July 2020 - 14:10:52

@ Little Tommy Tucker, to answer your question: Guess at first commentators didn't believe their eyes reading about this open super corruption dropped case. I was thinking first that article was a misunderstanding, until I red it international all over the world. So, 1 dead police officer, a few high ranking police officers punished. And now this case is closed in LOS.

maverick | 25 July 2020 - 13:35:22

It’s called Thai justice - massive pay off to victims family and charges dropped 

Pu Li | 25 July 2020 - 13:15:32

Lucky boy. 

Kurt | 25 July 2020 - 12:11:34

"Please, move on, don't stand still, walk on-walk on, nothing to see here".  Everything happens according the Thai laws.  The laws for the very rich upper class Thai people.

CaptainJack69 | 25 July 2020 - 11:39:45

No one expected the slime-ball to ever see justice, that much was already long since obvious by the complete failure of police and prosecutors to do their jobs in the first place. But to actually make the move to cancel the charges...! It would literally be easier to do nothing and let the time run out. This is pro-active dereliction of duty and everyone involved should be sacked.

Shwe | 25 July 2020 - 11:31:24

Public trust and confidence in public prosecutors and police have been shaken after all charges against Red Bull scion Vorayuth “Boss” Yoovidhya in his fatal hit-and-run case were dropped.
Did the Thai public every have any confidence in these organization.
once pinochio asked is dad for help it was only a matter of time before the little s**t was exonerated

Little Tommy Tucker | 25 July 2020 - 10:33:33

Interesting that no one has commented on this. Do people live in such fear here in Thailand. Looks like they do.

 

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