A Thong Lor police inspector accused of trying to protect the grandson of the Red Bull founder Chaleo Yoovidhya from hit-and-run charges could be fired, Bangkok police chief Pol Lt Gen Khamronwit Thoopkrachang says.
Pannapon: Arrested Yoovidhya clan driver
Pol Lt Col Pannapon Nammuang, a Thong Lor police station inspector, reportedly first arrested Suwes Hom-ubon for driving the Ferrari that killed Pol Snr Sgt Maj Wichian Klanprasert on Monday, even though the driver was actually Red Bull heir Vorayuth Yoovidhya.
The Bangkok police chief said he wanted to dismiss the inspector right away but had to wait for legal procedures.
Pol Lt Gen Khamronwit said yesterday some senior figures asked him to help Pol Lt Col Pannapon, but he refused.
He said he was waiting for an investigation into the actions of Pol Lt Col Pannapon.
Pol Lt Gen Khamronwit said the investigation will be straightforward and Pol Lt Col Pannapon could be dismissed from the force.
The Bangkok police chief said if the investigation confirms the inspector acted illegally, he will face both disciplinary and criminal punishment.
Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubamrung, who oversees police affairs, said the police inspector would face serious penalties if he is guilty.
He said the inspector is believed to have a close relationship with the Yoovidhya family and so he allegedly tried to help the suspect.
Mr Chalerm said the hit-and-run case would be wrapped up soon as the suspect had confessed and there were sufficient evidence and witness accounts. He said police would not help Mr Vorayuth.
Mr Suwes, a 45-year-old driver for the Yoovidhya family, was charged with giving a false statement to police.
Deputy Bangkok police chief Pol Maj Gen Anuchai Lekbamrung, who is heading the investigation into the fatal collision, said investigators obtained recordings from three surveillance cameras which showed the Ferrari car driving at high speed. However, there was no video of its collision with Pol Snr Sgt Maj Wichian's motorcycle.
Investigators will gather more evidence, including Mr Vorayuth's blood alcohol content, before deciding whether he should face more charges. He currently faces charges of hit-and-run and reckless driving causing death.
The collision took place on Sukhumvit Soi 47 in Bangkok about 5.30am on Monday while Pol Snr Sgt Maj Wichian was on patrol. The black Ferrari reportedly dragged the policeman for hundreds of metres, resulting in the police officer suffering a broken neck and multiple broken bones. Pol Snr Sgt Maj Wichian died at the scene.
According to reports, Mr Vorayuth immediately drove the Ferrari back to his residence on Sukhumvit Soi 53, where the car was kept in an underground garage and attempts were made to block police from accessing it.