“Boss” commission chief says Thai justice system in need of reform

PHOTO: Southeast Asia Globe

Former National Anti-Corruption Commissioner, Vicha Mahakun, who led the recent inquiry into the handling of the case against Vorayuth “Boss” Yoovidhya, says Thailand’s justice system is in need of reform. Red Bull heir and grandson of co-founder Chaleo Yoovidhya, “Boss” stood accused in a 2012 hit-and-run case that caused the death of a 47 year old Bangkok police officer who was hit by Boss’s Ferrari and dragged over 100 metres, before the car fled the scene.

Boss was never brought to justice and is believed to be living outside Thailand, having managed to flee the Kingdom in 2017. Despite various media outlets being able to photograph him living a jet-set lifestyle in London, Singapore, and Japan, Thai officials appeared unable to track him down. A “red notice” for his arrest mysteriously disappeared from the Interpol website. Finally, in July of this year, all charges against him were dropped by the then-deputy director of the Office of the Attorney General.

The resulting uproar from outraged Thais resulted in the PM ordering an independent investigation, led by Vicha. Having presented his findings to the PM earlier this month, the chairman of the investigating panel says the whole Boss fiasco proves that Thailand’s legal system needs to be reformed. He says the decision to drop all charges in the case clearly came about as a result of systemic corruption.

“Why was the case that should have been closed within a year delayed for 8 years? There’s a legal proverb ‘justice delayed is justice denied’. An attempt to delay it gives a clue.”

In addition to pointing the finger at prosecutors involved in the case, Vicha takes aim at the Royal Thai Police, saying reform there is long overdue. He adds that the Thai justice system is robust, claiming it is those working within it who are the problem. Vicha says Thailand’s ingrained culture of nepotism has affected not only the justice system, but has resulted in economic disparity, and says changes will be brought about by the young people now rebelling against the system.

“When 12 and 13 year olds march on the streets raising 3-finger salutes, and adorn themselves with white ribbons all over Thailand, it shows how corrupt people with power are.”

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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