FOLLOWING public outcry over high-profile incidences of reckless driving by wealthy individuals, authorities in Thailand have set up a committee to probe the police officers who handled a 2012 case involving the heir of a multi-billion dollar energy drink empire which left a traffic policeman dead.
Acting commissioner of metropolitan police, Pol Lt-Gen Sanit Mahathavorn, said the panel was investigating the officers from the Thong Lor station for not charging the Red Bull energy drink heir Vorayudh ‘Boss’ Yoovidhya with drunk driving in the hit-and-run case.
According to the Bangkok Post, the inquiry will also look into the reasons why Vorayudh could not be indicted on the speeding charge before the statute of limitations expired in 2013.
Vorayudh allegedly drove his Ferrari into a policeman’s motorbike in the early hours in Bangkok in 2012. The policeman died. According to reports, Vorayudh dragged the body down the street and drove home.
Initially, police pressed drunken driving and speeding charges against the grandson of the Red Bull creator and added death by reckless driving and escaping an arrest after the hit-and-run wreck, but did not charge him with drug abuse even though blood tests found traces of cocaine usage.
The suspect was in Singapore when he didn’t even turn up to hear the indictments against him in 2013. The Red Bull fortune was reported to be around 2.1 per cent of Thailand’s GDP in 2012.
Sanit said Vorayudh would not have been allowed to leave the country during the indictment if police had followed procedures.
Vorayudh’s case is one of a string of similar cases which have angered the Thai public. Other examples include a wealthy female driver who killed nine people five years ago and was recently accused by Thai authorities of breaching the conditions of her probation.
Orachorn “Praewa” Thephasadin na Ayudhya, the driver in question, was the central figure of what was widely seen as an archetypal case that demonstrated the power of wealth and influence in Thailand.
Five years ago, while underage and unlicensed, Orachorn crashed her Honda Civic into a van transporting students and staff from Thammasat University’s Rangsit campus. Nine were killed and four others were injured.
The latest case took place earlier this month when 37-year-old car importer heir Jenphop Weeraporn had crashed his Mercedes CSL into another vehicle, killing two students in a Ford Fiesta after breaking through a highway toll gate two hours before.
As footage of the crash, captured on a dashboard camera, was shared across social media. The Thai public quickly turned on Jenphop in anger as he was estimated to have been driving over 250km/h.