Orachorn's victims 'just want apology'

Orachorn's victims 'just want apology'

The father of one of the nine victims killed by Orachorn "Praewa" Devahastin na Ayudhya in a crash on a tollway in 2010 has demanded that she come forward and offer an apology herself, rather than letting others do so on her behalf.

Sophon Jinanthuya, assistant dean of the Faculty of Architecture at Thammasat University and the father of victim Pinyo Jinanthuya, said he wanted Orachorn to apologise to all those affected by the crash.

Mr Sophon said that a lawyer for the Devahastin na Ayudhya clan had conveyed an apology to the families but it had not come from Orachorn herself.

"Actually, our family does not want any additional compensation ... We want only one thing. Come forward and apologise. We are all Thais. Forgiving is normal. But so far, you have done nothing yet, so we have to let the justice system take its course," Mr Sophon said.

Pressure is building on Orachorn, aka Rawinbhirom Arunvongse, who killed nine people and injured four others in the 2010 crash, to pay compensation to the victims, with members of her high-profile clan joining public calls that she act.

On May 8, the Supreme Court ordered Orachorn to pay 26 million baht to the surviving victims and families of the dead in a case involving 28 plaintiffs. With 7.5% interest, the compensation has grown to almost 50 million baht.

Justice Minister Somsak Thepsuthin yesterday said that there are no laws that would allow the ministry to pay compensation on behalf of a convict.

He was responding to a request by Nilubol Arunvongse, Orachorn's mother, to use money from the Justice Fund to pay the victims now, and her family will pay it back later.

She said her family didn't have enough cash to pay the compensation, but she was ready to sell two plots of land -- 21 rai in Prachuap Khiri Khan and a 300-square-wa plot in Nonthaburi -- to pay the court-ordered compensation.

Relatives of the victims killed in the crash said on Thairath TV on Monday that they had not received a single baht of compensation from Orachorn.

Tawatchai Thaikyo, deputy permanent secretary for justice and the ministry spokesman, said that the Department of Legal Execution has already sent a writ of execution to Col Rathachai Devahastin na Ayudhya, Orachorn's father.

On Dec 27, 2010, Orachorn crashed her car into the back of a passenger van carrying students and staff from Thammasat University's Rangsit campus on the Don Muang Tollway. She was 16 at the time.

In 2011, she was charged with driving without a licence, reckless driving causing death and injuries, property damage, and using a mobile phone while driving.

She was sentenced to three years in prison, which was later suspended, and ordered to perform 48 hours of community service annually for four years as a condition of her release.

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