Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Thai ex-deputy AG ‘careless’ in Red Bull heir’s hit-and-run case



Thai ex-deputy AG ‘careless’ in Red Bull heir’s hit-and-run case

Content image - Phnom Penh Post

Thai ex-deputy AG ‘careless’ in Red Bull heir’s hit-and-run case

The Public Prosecutors Commission on May 18 unanimously voted to indict a former deputy attorney-general of being careless in making the decision to drop the criminal hit-and-run charge against Red Bull scion Vorayuth “Boss” Yoovidhaya.

The commission, however, did not find Nate Naksuk of being corrupt or committing malfeasance in deciding to drop the charge of reckless driving causing death against Vorayuth in July 2020.

As a result, the commission decided to suspend the penalty for Nate’s “careless decision” by telling him to leave the public prosecutor’s service retroactively to the date he quit the service that year.

Nate’s decision to drop the charge against Vorayuth led to a public uproar, raising suspicions of public prosecutors trying to help a wealthy suspect escape punishment. Following the public uproar, Nate quit government service two months before he was due to retire at the end of October 2020.

The commission met at the Office of the Attorney-General on Chaeng Wattana Road. The meeting was chaired by Attorney-General Pachara Yuttithamdamrong in his capacity as the chairman of the commission.

The commission had been set up to conduct a serious disciplinary probe against Nate following the public furore. The committee submitted its findings to the attorney-general in the middle of April.

After the meeting, Pachara said 14 commissioners attended the meeting and one took leave of absence. Since six commissioners were on the disciplinary probe panel, they abstained during the vote.

Pachara said the eight remaining commissioners voted unanimously to endorse the findings that Nate had been careless in making the decision to drop the charge against Vorayuth by not comprehensively considering all facts and information in the case.

The commission found Nate of being careless in carrying out his responsibility, and thus causing severe damage to the image of public prosecutors.

Initially, the commission punished Nate by removing him as a public prosecutor but with pension, a level below the penalty of dismissal without pension.

However, the commission found that it was the first time that Nate had been disciplined and that he had not committed any wrongdoing during his 40 years of service. The commission found that Nate did more good than harm to the public prosecutors agency, so the penalty was reduced to just “being told to leave” government service and the resignation date was allowed to be effective from the date Nate quit.

Pachara said the decision of the commission marked the end of the disciplinary probe against Nate. If Nate disagreed with the decision, he can appeal to the Central Administrative Court.

Pachara added that the Office of the attorney-general would not pursue any criminal charge against Nate either.

Pachara said another former public prosecutor, Chainarong Saengthong-aram, is facing a disciplinary probe by another committee, headed by Prapwhichtpong Sukhon, director of the administration litigation department.

Chainarong has been accused of changing the speed of the car driven by Vorayuth in the investigative report, which had prompted Nate to decide to drop the charge against the Red Bull heir.

Vorayuth was accused of crashing his black Ferrari into a policeman riding a motorcycle in Bangkok and fleeing the scene, after dragging the officer’s body for several dozen metres in 2012.

He is now a fugitive although Thailand has sought help from Interpol for his extradition.

The dropping of the charge against Vorayuth raised questions about crime and punishment for the well-connected.

Vorayuth’s grandfather, Chaleo, was listed as the third richest person in Thailand at the time of his death in 2012, at the age of 88, with an estimated net worth of $5 billion, according to Forbes magazine.

THE NATION (THAILAND)/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

MOST VIEWED

  • ‘Education’ a priority traffic-law penalty

    A top National Police official on June 21 neither rejected nor confirmed the authenticity of a leaked audio message, which has gone viral on social media, on a waiver of fines for a number of road traffic-related offences. General Him Yan, deputy National Police chief in

  • Pursat Ford assembly plant opens

    The Kingdom’s first Ford assembly plant was inaugurated on June 16 in Pursat province amid rising demand for brand-new vehicles among Cambodians. The facility is seen as a game changer for the domestic automobile industry, which could bring a wave of investors seeking to cash

  • Siem Reap’s $18M zoo said to educate public, help wildlife

    Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium Co Ltd has invested $18 million in a zoo in Siem Reap province, which will be opened in October to educate and promote animal conservation as well as attract national and international tourists. Currently, the Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium is building the

  • Volunteer scheme to foster ‘virtuous’ humanitarian spirit

    A senior education official said volunteer work contributes to solidarity and promotes a virtuous humanitarian spirit among the youth and communities. Serei Chumneas, undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, made the comment during the opening of a training programme called “

  • $50B infrastructure plan en route

    The government’s upcoming $50 billion,10-year infrastructure master plan will provide tremendous investment opportunities for domestic and foreign entities, transport experts and economists say. Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol revealed the plan to Japanese ambassador to Cambodia Masahiro Mikami on June 15. At

  • Chinese firms unveil preliminary results on metro, monorail for capital

    Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol and representatives from China Road and Bridge Corp (CRBC) and its parent company, the state-owned China Communications Construction Co Ltd (CCCC), met on June 24 for talks on results of the firms’ preliminary study on a potential metro