Panel to call on cop over 'Boss' case

Panel to call on cop over 'Boss' case

2 to be grilled over speed estimation

Red Bull scion, Vorayuth Yoovidhya, is brought for a blood test during police investigation into the hit-and-run case in 2012. (Photo: Somchai Poomlard)
Red Bull scion, Vorayuth Yoovidhya, is brought for a blood test during police investigation into the hit-and-run case in 2012. (Photo: Somchai Poomlard)

A panel will summon a former police chief and lawyer of Red Bull scion Vorayuth "Boss" Yoovidhya over his 2012 hit-and-run case.

The panel will question the pair, who were among several people who attended a meeting to discuss adjustments to estimates of the speed at which Mr Vorayuth's car was travelling when the incident occurred, said Pol Gen Visanu Prasattongosoth, a police inspector general and head of the panel.

It will also set up a team to examine an audio clip of conversations between those at the meeting, including police, prosecutors and the suspect's lawyer, Pol Gen Visanu said.

Also present was Pol Col Thanasit Taengchan of the Office of Police Forensic Science who examined the scene in 2012 and later changed his statement to revise the speed of Mr Vorayuth's Ferrari from 177 kilometres per hour to 79 km/h. The greatly reduced speed estimation was an important factor in the decision by prosecutors to drop the charges against Mr Vorayuth, he said, adding the panel will identify the prosecutors who were present at the meeting.

Pol Gen Visanu has been appointed to lead the probe into the case, taking over the job of former chairman Pol Lt Gen Chettha Komolwatthana, who remains a panel member.

Under the former chairman, the panel investigated seven suspects over their roles in the alleged mishandling of Mr Vorayuth's case.

However, after the Royal Thai Police received a report from former graft buster Vicha Mahakun, who was appointed by the prime minister to head a panel to look into the crash, Pol Gen Visanu was made the new chairman after two more suspects -- a police general and a police lieutenant general -- were implicated.

The Vicha panel was formed in the wake of a public outcry over perceived attempts to drop the case by senior public prosecutors. The hit-and-run incident took place in August 2012 when Mr Vorayuth rammed his car into a motorcycle driven by Pol Snr Sg Maj Wichian Klanprasert of Thong Lor police station. Mr Vorayuth failed to appear in court five times before fleeing abroad later that same year.

A speeding charge against him was dropped after its one-year statute of limitations expired in 2013. A second charge -- failing to stop to help a crash victim -- expired on Sept 3, 2017. His drug and reckless driving charges remain active until Sept 3 next year and 2027, respectively.

The Office of the Attorney General initially dropped the last charge but later decided to reinstate it after a public outcry.

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