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Thailand : Red Bull hit and run case drifts, two years on

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  • #76
    Thailand drops charges against Red Bull heir in deadly hit-and-run

    "Yes, they had informed us of their opinion to drop all charges. They are citing the fact the family members are compensated already," Thanawuth said.


    • #77
      Red Bull scion free to return to Thailand

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

      He said that Mr Vorayuth could now return to Thailand without any problem.


      • #78
        Thought I read that they where going to reopen the case due to him lying about the speed. Guess he may have to wait to watch the sunset on the Bangkok beach and drink coconut water.


        • #79
          Protection offered to key witness in Boss case

          A witness protection programme is ready to provide protection to the key witness in Vorayuth "Boss" Yoovidhya's hit-and-run case, says Justice Minister Somsak Thepsutin.

          The Justice Ministry would protect all witnesses in the case, whether government officers or the public, he pledged.

          The witness, Pol Col Thanasit Taengchan, from the Office of Police Forensic Science, examined the scene of the accident in 2012 and later changed his statement to revise down the speed of Vorayuth's Ferrari from 177kph to 79kph.

          The greatly reduced speed was an important factor in prosecutors deciding to drop charges against Mr Vorayuth.

          Earlier this month, however, Pol Col Thanasit said he had faced pressure from senior officers and later tried in vain to change his statement back to 177kph.

          Sources in the Rights and Liberties Protection Department said it had periodically advised Pol Col Thanasit about the conditions for witness protection.

          Pol Col Thanasit told the department he had some concerns about who would be protecting him and also that he only wanted to be protected at certain times.

          Concerns over his safety mounted after another key witness in the case, Jaruchart Mardthong, died in a motorbike accident in Chiang Mai province shortly after his evidence in favour of Mr Vorayuth was publicised.

          Vicha Mahakun, chairman of an inquiry committee appointed by the prime minister, on Wednesday expressed concern for Pol Col Thanasit.

          Move Forward Party MP Rangsiman Rome earlier said that, according to a House committee report, former national police chief Pol Gen Somyot Poompanmoung had introduced university lecturer Saiprasit Koetniyom, who estimated Mr Vorayuth's speed to have been below 80kph, to Pol Col Thanasit in February 2016.

          Pol Gen Somyot yesterday said he had nothing to do with the case, didn't know the lecturer and had been in Switzerland on the day in question.

          The police panel probing the alleged mishandling of the 2012 hit-and-run case wrapped up its investigation on Wednesday -- 20 police were found to be negligent, some of whom had since retired.

          The Public Prosecutor Commission earlier this week decided not to set up a panel to investigate Deputy Attorney-General Nate Naksuk over his decision to drop Mr Vorayuth's reckless driving causing death charge. It said the proposed panel would only be duplicating another panel's work.:

          Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


          • #80
            • Corruption, conspiracy in ‘Boss’ case: Inquiry report

            An independent inquiry ordered by PM Prayut Chan-o-cha has concluded that corruption and conspiracy by investigators likely helped Vorayuth "Boss" Yoovidhya escape charges over a fatal hit-and-run crash in 2012.

            Prayut today vowed to take action against at least 10 individuals implicated in the report handed to him by the Vicha Mahakun-led inquiry. The 10 are said to include both police officers and prosecutors. The PM also told press that a fact-finding panel would be set up to investigate five points highlighted by Vicha’s panel.

            Announcing the report, Vicha confirmed widespread suspicion that the case had been tainted by corruption and a conspiracy to get Red Bull scion Vorayuth off the hook.

            "Evidence clearly indicates that investigators did not work professionally since some allegations were left out of the case report,” said Vicha.

            The inquiry discovered that police took about six months to investigate the case but did not send the accused to court, as ordered by the prosecution.

            It found evidence of corruption and conspiracy among officials ranging from the raising of false evidence to cooperation between prosecutors, government officials and lawyers to damage the justice process. Vicha likened the corruption to a poisonous tree that produces poisonous fruits.

            “We proposed a new investigation, starting from zero,” he said.

            He also suggested that the statute of limitations on charges should be suspended for suspects who flee justice.

            High-level government officials involved in the case should also be investigated, he said.

            Vicha said he would now coordinate with the Public Sector Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) and National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) on further investigation of the case.

            Vorayuth was originally charged with crashing his Ferrari into motorcycle policeman Sgt Maj Wichian Klanprasert in Bangkok’s Thong Lor district and killing him. However, he fled the country in the 2017 and the case was dropped in June this year without ever coming to court.: -
            Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


            • #81
              Prosecutors to indict 'Boss' on cocaine, reckless driving charges

              New charges based on new evidence come two months after all other charges were dropped

              Prosecutors have decided to indict Red Bull scion Vorayuth "Boss" Yoovidhya on charges of cocaine use and reckless driving causing death, stemming from his fatal hit-and-run case in Bangkok in 2012.

              A working group at the Office of the Attorney-General (OAG) announced the prosecutors' decision on Friday.

              It comes two months after authorities unexpectedly dropped the case, sparking public outrage and a series of investigations that point to widespread flaws in a justice system that seems tilted in favour of the rich and connected.

              Itthiphon Kaewthip, deputy director-general of the Department of Criminal Ligitation, said the working group, headed by deputy attorney-general Somsak Tiyavanich, had made its recommendations to the attorney-general, and they were accepted.

              Although the charge of reckless driving causing death against Vorayuth was earlier dropped, a new investigation of the case found that the suspect had taken cocaine. No legal action had been taken against him previously on the drug charge.

              Earlier a deputy attorney-general and an acting police chief decided not to arraign him on the charge of reckless driving causing death.

              Mr Ittiporn said there was also fresh evidence and key witnesses who could prove the reckless driving charge to the court.

              Sathon Wicharnwannarak, a physics lecturer at Chulalongkorn University, had calculated the speed of the accused's Ferrari at the time of the crash at 110-145 kilometres per hour, and public transport expert Samart Ratchapolsitte calculated the speed at 160-190kph.

              The two witnesses were not in the previous investigation report and this was considered new evidence, Mr Itthiporn said.

              The statute of limitations on the reckless driving causing death charge is 15 years and will expire on Sept 3, 2027. The cocaine use charge will expire on Sept 3, 2022.

              OAG spokesman Prayut Petcharakhun said the prosecutors’ latest decision was not a revesal of the widely criticised decision made by Nate Naksuk, a deputy attorney-general, who decided not to prosecute Mr Vorayuth.

              Mr Nate’s decision was lawful as he made the decision based on evidence in the investigation report at the time, the spokesman said.

              The decision by the working group was based on fresh evidence, particularly the speed, he said.

              "The OAG will ask police investigators to bring Mr Vorayuth in for arraignment. If evidence shows that Vorayuth is not in Thailand, or he is staying abroad, there must be clear details about this," Mr Prayut said.

              "Police must inform the prosecutors so they can seek his extradition, as well as coordinate with Interpol to arrest him.

              "The previous arrest warrant cannot be used. The investigators must resubmit a request to the prosecution," Mr Prayut said.

              "The latest information, last year, showed a person who looked like Mr Vorayuth was spotted in Montreal, Canada. Thai authorities contacted Canadian police, but were told there was no travel record of Mr Vorayuth entering there."

              Mr Vorayuth, 35, also known as Boss, drove the Ferrari that killed Pol Snr Sgt Maj Wichian Klanprasert, 47, in the early morning of Sept 3, 2012.

              He crashed into the rear of the police motorcycle on Sukhumvit Road. He then fled the scene to his home nearby.

              He delayed hearing the charges against him 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.

              Mr Vorayuth is the son of Chalerm Yoovidhya, whose family co-owns the energy drink megabrand Red Bull and ranks second on Thailand's richest list, with a net worth estimated at US$20 billion.:

              Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


              • #82
                PM orders Thai authorities to seek Interpol’s help to apprehend Red Bull scion

                Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has instructed authorities to coordinate with Interpol to issue a Red Notice for Red Bull heir Vorayuth Yoovidhya to have him provisionally arrested and held, pending extradition back to Thailand to stand trial on charges related to an eight year old fatal hit-and-run case.

                The Prime Minister said today that, since the prosecutors in charge of the case have decided to indict the fugitive on charges of reckless driving causing the death of another person and illicit drug use, the next step is for them to instruct the police to bring him to court to stand trial.

                Interpol will alert its member countries of the Red Notice, adding that he expects an update from the Thai police within a week.

                The Office of the Attorney-General (OAG) had previously decided to drop all charges, after it received “new evidence” from the police claiming that Vorayuth was not driving his Ferrari at 177kph at the time of the accident, as claimed by a police forensic expert, but was under the 80kph speed limit. They accused the victim of being careless and of having caused the accident. The Royal Thai Police did not challenge the OAG’s decision at the time, resulting in public uproar when the decisions became public.

                Responding to the outrage against alleged mishandling of the case by the OAG and the Royal Thai Police, the Prime Minister set up a special panel, headed by former election commissioner Vicha Mahahakhun, to investigate the case.

                The panel found the two law enforcement agencies had mishandled the case and ordered it to be reopened.:

                Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


                • #83
                  Interpol issues 'red notice' for Red Bull scion over hit-and-run

                  Interpol has issued a "red notice" to arrest the fugitive Thai inheritor of the Red Bull billions for his role in a fatal hit-and-run, police said Sunday.

                  The move by the international police organisation is the latest in the years-long saga surrounding Vorayuth "Boss" Yoovidhya who crashed his Ferrari in 2012, killing Pol Snr Sgt Maj Wichian Klanprasert.

                  The charges against Mr Vorayuth, who is the grandson of Red Bull's co-founder, were dropped in July -- sparking public outrage from Thais who saw it as an example of impunity enjoyed by the kingdom's elite.

                  It spurred probes by various government agencies, including the Attorney General's Office which last month announced fresh charges against Mr Vorayuth of reckless driving causing death and cocaine use.

                  National police deputy spokesman Pol Col Krissana Pattanacharoen confirmed Sunday a red notice -- Interpol's most urgent alert -- was issued earlier this week.

                  "After we received the confirmation, we then passed our request to 194 member countries asking for assistance from them," he told AFP.

                  "We have to do whatever it takes to... ultimately bring him back to the country because it is a serious crime."

                  A red notice for Mr Vorayuth had not been published on the Interpol website as of Sunday afternoon.

                  The fugitive scion fled the country back in 2017 on a private jet.

                  After charges against him were dropped in July, a probe conducted by Premier Prayut Chan-o-cha's office concluded the entire investigation had been "compromised".

                  The public outcry over Mr Vorayuth came at a particularly tense period for the government, coinciding with near-daily protests across Thailand led by pro-democracy student leaders calling for Gen Prayut's resignation.

                  Protesters have carried cardboard cut-outs of Red Bull's logo to symbolise their anger at the military-aligned government, which enjoys close alliances with the kingdom's billionaire families.

                  The clan of Red Bull co-founder Chaleo Yoovidhya is Thailand's second richest, boasting a fortune estimated at $20.2 billion according to Forbes.:

                  Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


                  • #84
                    NACC to re-examine 'Boss' case

                    The National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) plans to re-investigate the police mishandling of the 2012 hit-and-run case involving Vorayuth "Boss" Yoovidhya after receiving a copy of an independent committee's report.

                    The public prosecutors' decision to drop criminal charges against Mr Vorayuth was blamed mainly on a botched police investigation and the report submitted to them by officers.

                    Niwatchai Kasemmongkol, deputy secretary-general of the NACC, confirmed on Wednesday that he had received a copy of the Public Sector Anti-Corruption Commission's report and the NACC would compare the new report's findings with its own plus the accounts of several police officers involved in the high-profile case.

                    Led by former NACC commissioner Vicha Mahakun, the independent committee previously submitted its report to Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha who approved and forwarded it to the PACC to take action against those who were allegedly at fault in their handling of the inquiry.

                    By comparing findings from these two investigations, the NACC will learn what new evidence, if any, has since been unearthed by the Vicha-led committee about the police's mishandling of the hit-and-run case and who else should be prosecuted.

                    The NACC now aims to re-examine everything that happened from the time the original investigation was launched until the public prosecutors' decision to drop all charges, said Mr Niwatchai.

                    The anti-corruption body previously implicated seven police officers for disciplinary misconduct, saying they had mishandled their responsibilities.

                    The seven were Pol Maj Gen Krit Piakeao, former commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Division 5; Pol Col Sukhun Phrommayon, former deputy commissioner of the same police division; Pol Col Traimet U-thai, another former deputy commissioner of the same police division, Pol Col Chumphon Phumphuang, former chief of Thong Lor police station; and three other police officials, namely Pol Col Samrit Ketyaem, Pol Lt Col Wubun Thinwatthana and Pol Lt Col Wiradon Thapthimdi.

                    These police officials were accused of colluding to help Mr Vorayuth avoid drink-driving and speeding charges and intentionally failing to seek an arrest warrant against him or efficiently track him. It was these offences which allowed him to flee Thailand, said an informed source.

                    Pol Maj Gen Charuwat Waisaya, an assistant national police chief, admitted that the police were now worried about the prospects of tracking down Mr Vorayuth and managing to bring him back to face charges in Thailand.

                    Interpol's red notice issued on Oct 1 for Mr Vorayuth isn't actually an arrest warrant, said Pol Maj Gen Charuwat.

                    Therefore, the only thing Thai police can do now is work with the Foreign Ministry and police connections overseas to try to locate Mr Vorayuth, whose exact whereabouts must be known before an extradition bid can begin.

                    Pol Maj Gen Charuwat said the Vicha-led committee's findings so far largely tallied with those of the police's own investigation.:

                    Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


                    • #85
                      Police to contact UAE embassy after reports fugitive Vorayuth lives in Dubai

                      The Thai police will send a letter to the embassy of the United Arab Emirates inquiring about the whereabouts of Vorayuth “Boss” Yoovidhya, a fugitive in a 2012 hit-and-run case, assistant National Police chief Pol General Jaruwat Waisaya said on Sunday.

                      The letter will be sent by the Foreign Affairs Division of the Royal Thai Police.

                      There were reports recently that Vorayuth was residing in Dubai in the UAE after global travel was restricted by the Covid-19 outbreak.

                      “We want to confirm with the local authorities whether he is in the UAE or not. If he is, we will coordinate with them to extradite him to Thailand so he can face trial,” he added.

                      The International Criminal Police Organisation (Interpol) on October 2 issued a red notice to member countries to track down Vorayuth, after the Office of the Attorney-General announced in September that prosecutors had decided to indict Vorayuth on charges of using cocaine and reckless driving causing death.

                      Vorayuth, the scion of a billionaire family, hit the headlines earlier when CNN reported in August that prosecutors had dropped the last charge against him in the hit-and-run case that killed a policeman riding a bike eight years ago.

                      An Interpol red notice means if Vorayuth enters countries that are members of Interpol, they will alert the Royal Thai Police of his location. However, the notice has no mandatory condition, as the decision to notify Thai authorities depends on the country’s discretion.

                      United Arab Emirates is one of 194 Interpol member countries.:

                      Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


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