Body of key witness in Red Bull scion case seized

Body of key witness in Red Bull scion case seized

Police take the motorcycle of Jaruchart Maadthong to Phuping Rajanivej police station after an accident on Thursday. Jaruchart, a key witness in the case involving Red Bull scion Vorayuth Yoovidhya, was killed in the crash. (Photo by Panumet Tanraksa)
Police take the motorcycle of Jaruchart Maadthong to Phuping Rajanivej police station after an accident on Thursday. Jaruchart, a key witness in the case involving Red Bull scion Vorayuth Yoovidhya, was killed in the crash. (Photo by Panumet Tanraksa)

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has directed authorities to seize the body of a new witness in the "Boss" hit-and-run case for a new autopsy to end public doubt about the circumstances of his death.

Deputy government spokeswoman Traisuree Taisaranakul said on Sunday Gen Prayut's decision to confiscate the body of Jaruchart Maadthong was to allow forensic officials to conduct a thorough autopsy as the public questioned the timing of his death.

Jaruchart was killed in a two-motorcycle crash on Huay Kaew Road in the Chiang Mai municipality on Thursday. The driver of the other motorcycle, Somchai Tawino, was injured.

Jaruchart and retired AM Jakkrit Thanomkulabutr were new witnesses brought into the case two years ago. They testified that Vorayuth Yoovidhya was not driving at high speed and saw the motorcycle of Pol Sgt Maj Wichian Klanprasert cut in front of his Ferrari just before the crash on Sept 3, 2012. Their testimony led to the closure of the high-profile case against the Red Bull scion after prosecutors in June dropped the last charge on fatal reckless driving.

The body of Jaruchart was due for cremation at his house in Phan district of Chiang Rai on Sunday. His parents agreed to release the body after conducting the last religious ceremony for him.

The new autopsy will be conducted either at Maharaj Nakhon Chiang Mai Hospital of Chiang Mai University or the Institute of Forensic Medicine of Police General Hospital in Bangkok.

Vicha Mahakhun, who was handpicked by the prime minister to chair an independent committee to examine the Vorayuth case, said he advised Gen Prayut to seize the body to find out whether the death was due to an accident or had a hidden motive.

Mr Somchai told Phuping Rajavinej police after the accident that he did not know Jaruchart. But he later said the two first met while drinking at separate tables in a restaurant on Wednesday night, and were on their way to find another drinking spot when the accident happened.

Jaruchart lost control of his bike and fell, hitting his head on the road. His motorcycle hit the rear of the bike driven by Mr Somchai, police said after watching CCTV footage of the accident.


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