Thailand’s prime minister ordered a second autopsy on the body of a crown witness on Sunday in a case against the heir to the Red Bull fortune, who was charged in 2012 with killing a police officer.
The 40-year-old witness, Jaruchart Mardthong, was killed in a motorcycle accident last Thursday, according to Thai police. That explanation is widely questioned in Thailand.
The results of an initial inspection of Mardthong’s remains have not yet been made public. According to local media, his family planned to cremate him on Sunday.
Mardthong was a key witness in the police investigation into Vorayuth ‘Boss’ Yoovidhya, a scion of the wealthy family behind the globally popular caffeinated drink Red Bull, government spokesman Traisulee Traisoranakul said on Sunday.
Yoovidhya was accused of hitting a policeman with his black Ferrari in 2012. The officer was dragged tens of meters and Yoovindhya, then 27 years old, drove on after the accident. Five years after the incident, an arrest warrant was issued against him, and he fled abroad. He ignored eight subpoenas. His current whereabouts are unknown.
‘Super-rich get away with everything’
In Thailand, anger arose last week after police announced that charges against Yoovindhya would be dropped. Critics say the decision shows that wealthy people with good connections can get away with any crime.
Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha wants to remove the suspicions cherished by the Thai public and to ensure correct justice, spokesman Traisoranakul said. “The prime minister reiterates that the government will help to create justice in this matter. Any wrongdoers will be punished.”
Prayuth had previously announced that a committee will look into the decision to end the prosecution of Yoovindyha, but also said it would not interfere with the work of the prosecutors, police and court.
According to the police, the investigation can only be reopened if the surviving relatives of the victim submit a request to this effect to a court or if new evidence emerges.