No end of surprises in Red Bull case

No end of surprises in Red Bull case

Vorayuth Yoovidhya, his brother (left), mother and sister have been photographed at their London home, and seem to show up claims by police and prosecutors that they treat every suspect equally. (AP photo)
Vorayuth Yoovidhya, his brother (left), mother and sister have been photographed at their London home, and seem to show up claims by police and prosecutors that they treat every suspect equally. (AP photo)

The metropolitan police seem to always have something up their sleeve that never fails to surprise.

Not long ago, after having sat on the extradition case of Red Bull scion Vorayuth "Boss" Yoovidhya following the Criminal Court's issuance of an arrest warrant against him in April, Pol Lt-Gen Sanit Mahathavorn, the metropolitan police commissioner, came up with a lame excuse to explain the delay in submitting the case file to the Office of the Attorney-General to proceed with the extradition of the suspect.

Pol Lt-Gen Sanit claimed the police didn't have a good translator to process the necessary documents and, hence, the delay.

Veera Prateepchaikul is a former editor, Bangkok Post.

It is indeed a big surprise that the entire metropolitan police could not solve this simple problem. Eventually the heat became too intense, and they were forced to see the light. They sought the help of a professional translator from one of the many translation service offices in Bangkok.

In less than two days, the English-version of the original Thai-language document was at the desk of the police, ready to be submitted to the OAG.

The OAG received the documents last week. But wait, because there is yet another surprise in store.

Amnat Chotchai, director-general of the OAG's International Affairs Department, told the media last Thursday his office could not proceed with the extradition process because the police documents did not mention the whereabouts of the Red Bull scion.

He explained it was the duty of the police to locate the whereabouts of the suspect and carry out the arrest after which his office would kickstart extradition proceedings.

If the host country in which Boss is staying or living has an extradition treaty with Thailand, he said his office can coordinate with its counterpart there to seek the extradition. But if that host country does not have an extradition treaty, his office would have to try other channels.

What is totally unbelievable about the extradition is how the police could have missed out on this vital piece of information -- that is the whereabouts of Boss -- so the extradition could be made possible.

Or they have never dealt with an extradition case before?

I have no idea what their excuse will be for having failed to find this vital information.

But the failure to mention the whereabouts of Boss in the extradition case -- whether it is deliberate or accidental -- only adds insult to injury to the police in their shoddy handling of this controversial hit-and-run case implicating the Red Bull scion from the very beginning.

The poor handling of the case or, to be more exact, the apparent unwillingness of the police to enforce the law against the suspect, who is a grandson of a billionaire, the way they do with ordinary people, resulted in two charges -- speeding and driving under the influence of alcohol -- being dropped due to the expiry of the statute of limitations.

There are now two charges pending against Boss -- reckless driving causing death, for which the statute of limitations will expire in the next 10 years, and not stopping to help the injured policeman, for which the statute of limitations is due to expire on Sept 3.

That the police are unable to find out where Boss is staying abroad is indeed unbelievable. Had they exerted a little more effort, they would have come up with the information.

This does not mean the prosecution itself should not be blamed for allowing the suspect to go free. The prosecutors in charge of the case have granted permission for the suspect to not report to them five times on flimsy grounds.

Many have wondered whether the prosecutors would be as generous if the suspect were not a billionaire's son.

The police, the prosecutors and even the government may insist they treat everyone equally under the law. But the undeniable truth is there are two sets of rules -- one for the elites and the other for ordinary people -- as many legal cases implicating the elites have clearly shown.

Veera Prateepchaikul

Former Editor

Former Bangkok Post Editor, political commentator and a regular columnist at Post Publishing.

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