Police chief to take over reinvestigation of Red Bull heir’s hit-and-run case

File photo of former police chief Chakthip Chaijinda

Thailand’s national police chief, Pol Gen Chakthip Chaijinda, has decided to take personal command of the reinvestigation of the Red Bull heir’s hit-and-run case, after a senior police officer decided not to challenge the prosecutors’ decision not to indict the alleged offender.

Pol Lt-Gen Piya Uthayo, spokesman for the Royal Thai Police, said today that Pol Gen Chakthip felt that he could not escape responsibility for alleged police mishandling of the case.

The police panel probing the handling of the case spent about an hour today briefing the media about its findings, which have cleared Pol Lt-Gen Pompon Chidchob, the assistant police chief, of any wrongdoing by not challenging the prosecutors’ decision to drop the only outstanding charge, of reckless driving causing death to other people, against Vorayuth “Boss” Yoovidhya.

Pol Lt-Gen Charuwat Waisaya explained that the police could challenge the prosecutors’ decision only on matters of legality and could not submit additional evidence to prosecutors after the case had been filed, unless the additional evidence is strong enough to challenge their decision.

Besides Pol Lt-Gen Pompon, four other officers vetting the police case file also agreed not to challenge the prosecutors’ decision not to arraign Vorayuth, he said.

The investigative panel found deficiency in the police handling of the drug abuse issue, which was dropped from the police case file, and recommended that the matter be revived to substantiate the drug abuse charge against Vorayuth.

Regarding the speed of the Ferrari, being driven by Vorayuth when the fatal accident took place, the panel found new evidence which could be used to revive the reckless driving charge.

Pol Lt-Gen Charuwat said that the panel also found that 14 police enquiry officers, including a deputy commissioner, who were involved in handling the case, were at fault for malfeasance in office in their alleged mishandling of the case.


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