The National Anti-Corruption Commission has found the police guilty of mild dereliction of duty in their lenient handling of the fatal hit-and-run case against fugitive Red Bull heir Vorayuth Yoovidhya.
Vorayuth Yoovidhya, who has been seen at public sporting events and elsewhere overseas, was accused of being behind the wheel of his Ferrari when it hit and killed a motorcycle policeman in the early morning of 3rd Sept 2012 on Sukhumvit Road in Bangkok.
The NACC investigation found intention to exempt Mr Vorayuth, now aged 35, from prosecution on charges of drug abuse and speeding. Forensic police concluded he was driving at 177 kilometres per hour.
The commission found negligence on the part of Pol Lt Col Wiradol Thabthimdee, the chief interrogator at Thong Lor police station, and held him accountable for mild malfeasance, a light disciplinary offence.
For the failure to seek a warrant for the arrest of Mr Vorayuth, the NACC ruled it was a light disciplinary violation on the part of Pol Lt Col Wiradol, Pol Col Chumphol Phumphuang, former chief of the Thong Lor police station, and the station’s interrogators, Pol Col Samrit Ketyam and Pol Lt Col Wibul Thinwatanakul.
NACC also found light disciplinary violations by Pol Maj Gen Krit Piakaew, former commander of the Metropolitan Police Division 5, and former deputy commanders of the division Pol Col Sukhun Phrommai and Pol Col Tramet Uthai, for failing to guarantee a thorough investigation and interrogation in the case.
NACC will send its findings to the officers’ supervisors, who will decide on disciplinary action.
Mr Vorayuth, then 27, is accused of driving his black Ferrari when it hit the rear of a policeman’s motorcycle at high speed and dragged his body along Sukhumvit Road before speeding away. The victim was Pol Sgt Maj Wichian Klanprasert, 47, who was based at Thong Lor police station.
Mr Vorayuth delayed hearing the 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 was later dropped when the one-year statute of limitation expired. A second charge, failing to stop and help a crash victim expired on 3rd Sept 2017.
The third and most serious charge, reckless driving causing death, remains on the books until 2027.
Mr Vorayuth, whose nickname is Boss, 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 20 billion USD (about 617 billion baht).