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New oversight committee chair vows to review Red Bull heir case

Neill Fronde



FILE PHOTO: Red Bull heir "Boss" may face new prosecution under new committee chief.

Phachorn Yutthithamdamrong is the new chairman of a committee that oversees Thailand’s public prosecutors and he has set his sights on an infamous 2012 case involving the grandson of the co-founder of the Red Bull empire. Vorayuth “Boss” Yoovidhya fled Thailand years ago but has never been prosecuted after allegedly killing a police officer while drunk and speeding in the incident.

Boss has been accused of running over the police sergeant with his Ferrari and dragging the body along Sukhumvit road in Thong Lor, the hi-so playground of Bangkok, in September of 2012. He disappeared from Thailand 5 years later in 2017 and his location is officially unknown, though he has cropped up at Formula One races around the world over the years, and has been spotted in London by the Thai media.

Interpol has issued a Red Notice for Boss, but his lack of prosecution has often been seen as a black eye for justice in Thailand, with many in the country still looking back on the case as another example of the rich living by their own rules above the law, when corruption allows them to buy their way out of accountability. The committee intends to look into the Red Bull case to try to build some confidence in the Thai justice system.

Phachorn will preside over his first meeting of the oversight committee as the chief on June 9 and vows to reopen the infamous Red Bull investigation along with other suspect cases, promising a “new broom” to sweep out evidence and justice. The chairman plans to rehash all previous evidence with a careful eye.

The Thai public meet these vows with cynicism after years of panels on the case have only kicked the can down the road, delaying any formal action again and again. The former deputy chief prosecutor in the case was met with harsh backlash after dropping all charges against the Red Bull heir, freeing him from possible prosecution for the police officer’s death. The outcry was so intense that PM Prayut Chan-o-cha had to step in and reinstate the charges, though the prosecution, again, never moved forward.

Phachorn intends to use the committee to reexamine that former deputy chief prosecutor’s role in the bugling of the Red Bull heir’s case. Meanwhile, the jaded public is not holding its breath for justice against the ultra-rich.

SOURCE: Thaivisa


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Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10 years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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