11 July 2024

Thailand’s Institute for Judicial Reform has urged Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha temporarily to relieve from active service all police officers involved in helping Red Bull heir Vorayuth Yoovidhya escape prosecution over a fatal hit-and-run case eight years ago.

Pol Senior Sergeant Major Wichian Klanprasert was killed in the accident and his body was dragged about 100 metres along the Sukhumvit Road in Bangkok by Vorayuth’s Ferrari.

The institute also called on the Attorney General to suspend from active duty a prosecutor, who was heard speaking in an audio clip with a group of police officers, allegedly pressuring a forensics expert, Pol Lt-Col Thanasith Taengchan, to change the estimate of the Ferrari’s speed, from 177kph to under 80kph, in order to avoid a charge of reckless driving causing death to another person.

Since all of these officers have been found to be at fault by a probe panel, headed by former election commissioner Vicha Mahakhun, and are still in active service, the institute said that suspending, pending a disciplinary probe, would help restore public confidence that the Prime Minister is sincere in his efforts to get rid of corruption, especially in the justice system.

In a statement issued today (Monday) the institute suggested that Prime Minister should form a disciplinary panel to recommend action against the police officers, public prosecutors, a former member of the now defunct National Legislative Assembly, a lawyer and a university professor, who collaborated in the attempt to help Vorayuth evade prosecution.

The Prime Minister was also urged by the institute to instruct Justice Minister Somsak Thepsuthin to order the Department of Special Investigations to speed up the questioning of Pol Lt-Col Thanasith, regarding the audio clip, so that the DSI could seek warrants for the arrests of all those involved.