11 July 2024

National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) has found 15 individuals, including former national police chief Somyot Poompanmuang and former deputy attorney-general Nate Naksuk, guilty of involvement in changing the speed of the car driven by Red Bull heir Vorayuth Yoovidhya, to help him avoid speeding charges in the infamous hit-and-run incident in 2012.

NACC Secretary-General Niwatchai Kasemmongkol told the media on Wednesday that they had reached a ruling, adding that the anti-graft watchdog’s ruling is not final and all the accused have the right to prove their innocence in court.

Vorayuth was originally accused of driving his Ferrari at over 100kph when he crashed into a motorcycle, being ridden by a police officer, Pol Snr Sgt Maj Wichian Klanprasert, on Sukhumvit Road in September 2012, killing him at the scene. Vorayuth was initially charged with speeding, but the car’s speed was eventually altered to under 80kph, so the speeding charge, which carries a higher penalty, was dropped.

In 2020, all the charges against Vorayuth were dropped, mostly due to the expiration of the statute of limitations. Fresh charges were, however, brought against him by the Office of the Attorney-General, but Vorayuth has been living abroad since shortly after the fatal incident.

The other individual implicated by the NACC, Education Minister Pol Gen Permpoon Chidchob, was found to have committed an offence which is not serious and the case will have to be sent to the government for consideration of an appropriate penalty.