It is now clear from several panels and committees of investigation that the mishandling of the criminal case against Red Bull heir Vorayuth Yoovidhya or ‘Boss’ was not an unfortunate array of errors, failures and accidental circumstances but a vast intertwined conspiracy to defy and thwart the course of justice in Thailand. A report is now being sent to the Thai Prime Minister, Prayut Chan ocha, which according to the Chairman of the panel that wrote it, will raise serious concerns to him including the possibility of corruption and misconduct within the Royal Thai Police that perhaps even extends to the wider system for the administration of Justice.
An investigating panel led by former Anti-Corruption Commission Chairman, Vicha Mahakun, is about to deliver an explosive report to the Prime Minister’s office detailing a widespread conspiracy within the Royal Thai Police involving the Office of the Attorney General, to shield the Red Bull heir and suspect in the killing of a Thai police officer on September 3rd 2012. Mr Vicha has opined that the PM may be taken aback by some of his committee’s findings, all of which can be substantiated. He has described the story as one of ‘injustice’ and spoken of the ‘shadow of corruption’ in the matter. The report also details the transfer of a serving Thai police officer with the foreign affairs section who repeatedly asked about the issuance of an Interpol arrest notice for the fugitive from justice who is now facing two new criminal charges raised just this week.
The Chairman of a committee which has spent the last month questioning witnesses and probing the case of Red Bull heir Vorayuth Yoovidhya or ‘Boss’ has emphatically declared the there is shocking evidence not only of flaws in Thailand’s system for the administration of justice but also that there is the ‘shadow of corruption’ and ‘injustice’ in the affair.
On Friday, Mr Vicha Mahakun said that he expects the findings of a final report to be delivered to the Prime Minister, Prayut Chan ocha, will catch him unawares such is the scale of what went wrong.
All shocking conclusions can be supported by ‘detailed information’ says committee chairman
He told reporters that the shocking findings that the committee’s report contains can be fully supported.
‘Every point I made in a report to be submitted to General Prayut is backed by very detailed information and will take everyone who reads it by surprise,’ Mr Vicha said.
He was referring to the handling of the criminal investigation by the Royal Thai police and the subsequent prosecution of the case by the public prosecutor’s office within the Office of the Attorney General.
Failure, misconduct and mismanagement on a wide scale and in an ‘organised manner’
The Chairman told reporters that it is clear that failures and mismanagement of the case were on a wide scale and could not have been simply down to one person here or there.
‘The report will clearly show that the misconduct in the mishandling of this case was committed in an organised manner and that no single person could ever have achieved it,’ he said.
In essence, what the committee chairman is suggesting is a vast conspiracy to assist the suspect in the case from the beginning of the investigation at Thonglor police station on the 3rd September 2012 to the handling of the investigation within the Royal Thai Police followed by the deliberations and actions of the Office of the Attorney General which was subjected to repeated legal pleas from lawyers, on behalf of Mr Vorayuth, to have the case against him dropped.
Concern expressed by Mr Vicha for the personal safety of expert witness and senior police officer
Mr Vicha, last week, expressed concern for the personal safety of one police officer, an expert witness in the case, Police Colonel Thanasit Taengchan, whose change of heart about the evidence relating to the speed of the Ferrari car allowed a file to be put before the prosecutor at the Office of Criminal Litigation in Southern Bangkok at the end of June where Mr Nate Natsuk, an assistant attorney general, was able to, with justification, decline to pursue the final charge remaining against Mr Vorayuth which was dropped.
It was reported, last week, that Police Colonel Thanasit Taengchan had entered into discussions with the Ministry of Justice about joining a witness protection programme due to his role in the case.
Disciplinary action may follow against the senior prosecutor who dropped the final charge
It has now emerged that new regulations from the Public Prosecutor Commission are to be shortly published in the Royal Gazette.
This may lead to a disciplinary probe into the prosecutor who has appeared before a number of committees and has already submitted his letter of resignation.
Mr Nate categorically denies any wrongdoing in the case and one committee, within the Office of the Attorney General, has already endorsed this view.
Panel chairman strictly criticised the delay in charging the suspect by police and prosecutors
The Chairman of the prime minister’s investigating panel, also a former head of the National Anti Corruption Commission, has strongly criticised the delay in bringing charges and filing for an arrest warrant against the suspect Mr Vorayuth some four and half years after the incident.
This was caused by a range of petitions to the prosecutor’s office requesting that the charges against him be dropped.
Even though the death of 47-year-old Police Sergeant Wichian Klanprasert occurred in the early hours of September 3rd 2012, arrest warrants and charges against the suspect were not issued until April 27th 2017.
The son of the billionaire boss of the Red Bull empire had, by then, already fled by private jet two days earlier on April 25th, first to Singapore and then on to London.
Mysterious disappearance of Interpol Red Notice
During media interviews this week, Mr Vicha also revealed some information on what happened to a Red Notice Interpol arrest warrant issued for Mr Vorayuth which was mysteriously removed from the international police agency’s website in March 2018.
Mr Vicha’s report is expected to note that a police officer with the Royal Thai Police who worked with its foreign affairs section had repeatedly asked to have a Red Notice issued and was later transferred from his post.
PM may order a further investigation after reading the report’s findings to be delivered to him
Mr Vicha’s report will, it is understood, provide an option for the Prime Minister to order further inquiries into what the committee has unearthed which, according to the chairman, raises serious questions. He suggested, this week, that he may be willing to undertake such work.
However, he stressed that the report delivered to the PM will be confidential and it will be up to him to make its findings public.
In recent weeks, the Royal Thai Police Chief, General Chakthip Chaijinda, has published a scathing report from the fact-finding panel set up by him detailing shortfalls and glaring errors by police in the investigation of the case.
That report has called for further probes and disciplinary action against certain officers involved.
New charges issued against ‘Boss’ Vorayuth this week but one has already expired admit police
This week, the Bangkok South Criminal Court issued three new arrest warrants for Mr Vorayuth concerning the case following the ongoing investigations which have raised questions about the prosecution finding, at the end of June, in which he was found not to be at fault.
The charges are for reckless driving causing death, failing to stop at the scene of an accident and for cocaine abuse.
However, in the last few days, police have conceded that the statute of limitations on the second charge has already expired.
The main charge will expire in September 2027 unless Mr Vorayuth or ‘Boss’ is arrested and brought before a Thai court by then. The third charge for cocaine abuse will expire on the same date in 2022.
Massive conspiracy to thwart the course of justice
It appears from the tenor of evidence that has been unearthed by a series of panels particularly Mr Vicha’s committee on behalf of the prime minister and the Justice Committee of the House of Representatives led by MP Sira Jenjaka, that a massive effort by people unknown took place to thwart the course of justice.
The report of Mr Vicha’s committee will hand the prime minister a grenade to lob at those, who for nearly seven years, have befouled Thailand’s legal system with their actions and seriously damaged public confidence.
Whether he chooses to throw it at them or calls for a quiet bomb disposal effort will be in his hands.
Panels have investigated vigorously as case raised serious questions both at home among the public and abroad among potential investors or tourists
It is also clear that the committees set up to investigate this matter so far have pursued the case diligently.
The issuing of charges last week is encouraging as was confirmed by the Head of the Immigration Bureau, Lieutenant General Sompong Chingduang, that the arrest warrants issued for Mr Vorayuth Yoovidhya have been entered on the police division’s database system.
What most people are looking for now is a new Red Notice being requested and issued by Interpol to have the fugitive from justice arrested outside Thailand followed by extradition proceedings.
The case has not only damaged confidence among the public in the rule of law within Thailand but the international interest in it has also served to undermine confidence in Thailand both with existing and potential investors in the kingdom as well as foreign tourists into the future.