The former justice official who made sure there was no case against cop-killing Red Bull heir Vorayuth “Boss” Yoovidhya is preparing his wrist for a gentle slapping.
A committee was established yesterday to consider whether to discipline former Deputy Attorney-General Nate Naksuk, who last year threw out the last charge against Vorayuth “Boss” Yoovidhya for hitting and killing a police officer in 2017. Vorayuth’s family does not contest his role.
After years of the system stalling or failing to act when it came to holding the ultra-wealthy energy drink scion accountable, Nate’s June 2020 secret decision spelled the end of any pretense of justice. No one even knew about it until it was reported by CNN a month later.
Critics accused Nate of serious negligence, at best. A police spokesman denied that the family’s enormous wealth and influence played any part.
If the probe finds Nate acted inappropriately, the worst punishment he faces amounts to less than a slap on the wrist: dismissal from a post he already left. He might lose his benefits as a former civil servant.
Nate resigned two months after deciding to drop the final count against Vorayuth: reckless driving resulting in death. He defended the decision but gave little explanation for it. Two months later, he resigned to show “good spirit” and protect the Office of Attorney General’s reputation.
He was the last high-ranking law enforcement official in nearly a decade to punt, stall or delay action against Vorayuth. Several police commanders cycled in and out of power vowing to take action – up until the point media and public attention drifted elsewhere again.
The case has become the ultimate expression of the impunity enjoyed by Thailand’s elite. No matter how much the public seethed for years, Vorayuth was shielded from responsibility.
Now, even the probe of the probe’s probe seems flawed and problematic. It was meant to get underway earlier this month but was postponed after some commissioners complained they “did not receive the case file” and needed more time to study the file, said to contain more than 100 pages, according to Patchara Yutithamdamrong, chairman of the Public Prosecutor Commission.
The disciplinary team will be led by Tanapit Moonpruek, former director-general of the Department of Special Litigation. They were given 60 days to make initial findings, but, much like the case against Vorayuth, the deadline can be extended multiple times.
In 2012, Vorayuth hit Sgt. Maj. Wichian Klanprasert at high speed with his Ferrari and fled the scene, dragging the officer’s body under his car part of the way home. Cocaine and alcohol were found in his system. The wealthy son of a powerful family, Vorayuth refused summons to appear and eventually fled the country when charges were filed against him.
Vorayuth’s family never disputed his role in Wichian’s death.
Though he admitted to killing the Thonglor policeman, he fled the country and for awhile was jet-setting around the globe, sometimes attending Red Bull racing events.
Last year, details of the case were walked back to be less incriminating. Nate said Vorayuth had actually been driving a very reasonable 79kph rather than the 177kph originally determined. Investigators said they had come to believe the cocaine in his blood was a dental painkiller.