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Ex-Police Chief Somyot Accused in Red Bull Heir’s Escape: Thailand’s Justice Saga Unfolds

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In a plot thick with intrigue and twists that could easily rival a blockbuster movie, the saga of Vorayuth “Boss” Yoovidhya and the high-powered individuals accused of aiding his escape from justice reads like a modern-day thriller. At the heart of this real-life drama is none other than Somyot Poompanmoung, the former national police chief of Thailand, now facing serious allegations alongside seven co-accused. Their crime? Allegedly pulling the strings to help the Red Bull heir dodge prosecution for a hit-and-run dating back to 2012.

As the Office of the Attorney-General (OAG) unfurled the list of indictments, it became clear that this was not just any case. Prayut Phetcharakhun, a spokesman for the OAG, illuminated this twisted tale during a press conference, revealing the deep layers of corruption that the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) uncovered. The investigation laid bare a coordinated effort to dismiss charges against Mr. Vorayuth, charges that not only included speeding but also the more egregious offense of a hit-and-run.

Public outrage surged as the curtain was lifted on the decision to let Mr. Vorayuth off the hook — a decision so controversial it spurred the then-prime minister to initiate a thorough reexamination of the entire fiasco. And as Tuesday rolled around, the dangling threads of justice began to weave a more promising picture. The attorney-general directed OAG’s prosecutors to formally proceed with the indictment, drawing the battle lines in this fight for accountability.

Somyot’s indictment reads like a manual on how not to uphold the law, implicating him in a range of charges from malfeasance to openly supporting unethical maneuvers to let Mr. Vorayuth slip through the cracks of the legal system. A sordid affair, where former high-ranking officials such as Nate Naksuk, Pol Maj Gen Thawatchai Mekprasertsuk, and Pol Col Viradol Tabtimdee find their names marred by association.

The shadow of guilt extends further, even touching the halls of the Education Ministry. Pol Gen Permpoon Chidchob, once an assistant national police chief, now wears the badge of shame for less severe disciplinary charges linked to the case. The NACC’s advice? A stern push for the prime minister to invoke disciplinary actions under the Anti-Corruption Act against Pol Gen Permpoon — a move that draws a thick line between right and wrong.

The political echoes of the scandal reverberate, with the Move Forward Party (MFP) vocalizing sharp criticism against the appointment of Pol Gen Permpoon as Education Minister. Allegations swirl around him, accusing him of altering crucial evidence and reassigning diligent officers who sought to bring Mr. Vorayuth to book. With such actions, Pol Gen Permpoon’s suitability for his portfolio hangs in the balance, questioned not just by political opponents but by anyone with a vested interest in justice.

At the dark heart of this tale is the tragic night of September 2012, where young Vorayuth, in the flush of his early 20s and behind the wheel of his Ferrari, struck and killed Pol Snr Sgt Maj Wichian Klanprasert. What followed was not an act of repentance but a desperate flight, as the accused allegedly sped away, leaving behind a trail of tragedy and a family yearning for justice. Yet, as years passed and legal deadlines loomed closer, the prospect of accountability seemed to slip further away.

This labyrinthine tale of power, impunity, and the quest for justice still has chapters unwritten, as the countdown to 2027 — the expiration date of the last charge against Mr. Vorayuth — ticks on. But one thing remains clear: in the court of public opinion and perhaps soon in the hallowed halls of justice, the story of the Red Bull scion and those who shielded him is far from over.


  1. TruthSeeker101 February 27, 2024

    This case is a clear example of how money and power can manipulate the law. It’s utterly disgraceful that the Red Bull heir has been able to avoid justice for so long due to his connections.

    • Skeptical_J February 27, 2024

      While it does seem like a typical case of the rich getting away with anything, we should remember that everyone is innocent until proven guilty. The media often skews these stories.

      • TruthSeeker101 February 27, 2024

        Innocent until proven guilty is one thing, but using power to evade the law is another. The evidence and the maneuvers to dismiss charges are clear indicators of manipulation.

      • TheArbitrator February 27, 2024

        But aren’t you concerned that media portrayal and public opinion might interfere with a fair trial? There’s a reason the legal system is separate from the court of public opinion.

    • Justice4All February 27, 2024

      Money talks, and in this case, it’s shouting. The evidence and the actions of those involved show a clear pattern of evasion. It’s about time justice is served!

  2. BangkokBill February 27, 2024

    As shocking as these accusations are, let’s not forget about the victim and their family. They’ve been waiting for justice for over a decade. The focus should be on making things right for them.

    • EmpathyEnthusiast February 27, 2024

      Absolutely, the victim’s family often gets overshadowed by the drama surrounding the accused. They deserve closure and justice more than anything else. It’s tragic.

  3. CuriousCat February 27, 2024

    Does anyone think the international community should intervene in cases like this? It seems like local justice systems can be too easily swayed by national interests or corruption.

    • GlobalThinker February 27, 2024

      International intervention can be a double-edged sword. While it might ensure justice in some cases, it can also be seen as an infringement on national sovereignty.

      • CuriousCat February 27, 2024

        That’s a valid point. It’s a fine line between ensuring justice and respecting a country’s ability to govern its own legal proceedings.

  4. LawLover February 27, 2024

    The indictments against the former national police chief are a bold move. Hopefully, this signifies a real intent to cleanse the system of corruption, not just a performative action!

    • Cynic_2023 February 27, 2024

      I’ll believe it when I see real repercussions and reform. Too often, these ‘bold moves’ end up being nothing more than temporary distractions.

  5. HistoryBuff February 27, 2024

    It’s interesting how these high-profile cases bring to light the underlying issues in a society’s justice system. It’s a wake-up call for systemic change, not just in Thailand, but globally.

  6. OptimistPrime February 27, 2024

    Though the situation looks grim, it’s stirring public and international attention. Could this be the tipping point for real justice reform in Thailand? One can hope.

  7. FactFinder February 27, 2024

    Before jumping to conclusions, it’s important to watch how the trial and proceedings unfold. The legal system has its processes, and they need to be respected and followed through.

  8. EagleEye February 27, 2024

    In high-profile cases like this, it’s critical to keep a close eye on every development. Public pressure can help ensure that justice isn’t just served, but seen to be served.

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