Ex-top cop indicted in 'Boss' saga
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Ex-top cop indicted in 'Boss' saga

Somyot, 7 others on hook in Vorayuth case

Somyot: Accused of helping 'Boss'
Somyot: Accused of helping 'Boss'

The Attorney-General has indicted former national police chief Somyot Poompanmoung and seven others for helping Vorayuth "Boss" Yoovidhya, the scion of the family behind the Red Bull empire, escape prosecution in connection with the 2012 hit-and-run case.

Prayut Phetcharakhun, a spokesman for the Office of the Attorney-General (OAG), said at a media briefing on Tuesday that the indictment was based on the recommendation of the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC).

In September last year, the NACC accused them of being involved in a 2020 decision by the prosecutors to drop charges against Mr Vorayuth, which included speeding and hit-and-run.

That decision sparked a public uproar, prompting the prime minister at the time to order fresh probes into how it had happened.

Mr Prayut said on Tuesday the attorney-general had instructed prosecutors at the OAG's crime suppression bureau to proceed with the indictment against the accused.

Pol Gen Somyot was indicted for malfeasance or dereliction of duty while serving as a member of the House committee on law, justice and police affairs, as well as for supporting officers to commit unlawful actions to help Mr Vorayuth evade or receive less punishment, among other charges, Mr Prayut said.

The others who face similar charges include Nate Naksuk, a former deputy attorney-general, Pol Maj Gen Thawatchai Mekprasertsuk, a former commander of the Royal Thai Police's Central Police Forensic Science Division, and Pol Col Viradol Tabtimdee, a former investigator at Thong Lor police station.

Nate: Faces similar charges

Education Minister Pol Gen Permpoon Chidchob, who served as an assistant national police chief at the time, was also found guilty but on a less serious disciplinary charge, according to the NACC.

The NACC has decided to ask the prime minister to consider launching disciplinary action against Pol Gen Permpoon as stipulated by the Anti-Corruption Act, Mr Prayut said.

Previously, the opposition Move Forward Party (MFP) called on the prime minister to reconsider the appointment of Education Minister Pol Gen Permpoon due to allegations he helped Mr Vorayuth evade prosecution.

MFP MP Teerajchai Phunthumas said Pol Gen Permpoon had altered the official speed estimate to below the safety threshold and had reassigned police officers who wanted to request a red notice for Mr Vorayuth, leading to the court dismissal and Mr Vorayuth's escape overseas.

Even though the punishment given to Pol Gen Permpoon is a disciplinary one, Mr Teerajchai noted that Srettha Thavisin is both the prime minister and president of the Police Commission.

"The prime minister should consider the suitability of Pol Gen Permpoon for the education portfolio," Mr Teerajchai said.

Mr Vorayuth is accused of killing a police officer with his Ferrari in September 2012, a charge he denies.

Mr Vorayuth crashed his Ferrari into a motorcycle driven by Pol Snr Sgt Maj Wichian Klanprasert in the early hours of Sept 3, 2012, in Bangkok's Thong Lor neighbourhood.

Instead of stopping to help the victim, Mr Vorayuth, then in his early 20s, allegedly drove off, dragging the victim's body around 200 metres from the scene of the accident, without informing the authorities.

Following a long investigation, he was hit with three charges, but he has not been brought to justice. After repeatedly failing to appear in court, he fled the country in 2017. The statute of limitations on some charges has already expired. The last charge against him, of reckless driving causing death, will expire in 2027.

Vorayuth: Not yet brought to justice

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