Chiang Mai police, at the direction of the Prime Minister of Thailand, have asked the family of a major witness in the case of Vorayuth Yoovidhya, who is a heir to the Red Bull (TCP Group), to delay the cremation of the witness, who was killed in a motorbike accident last week.
We have provided extensive coverage on this case previously. The full article regarding the witness who was killed can be found by clicking here.
40 year old Jaruchart Martthong, 40, from Chiang Rai, was killed in a motorbike accident on Thursday, July 30th involving one other driver. Mueang Chiang Mai Police said CCTV footage shows that Mr. Jaruchart tried to overtake a second motorbike but failed and then lost control, crashing. Alcohol was found in both driver’s systems according to a police statement.
Jaruchart’s witness testimony in the 2012 hit and run case involving Vorayuth, which has captivated Thailand, alleged that Vorayuth was not speeding during the incident, which contradicts scientific evidence according to forensic investigators at the scene of the accident.
The 2012 incident resulted in the death of a 47 year old on duty police officer. Vorayuth later fled the country and missed multiple court appearances. Last week, it came to light that the Office of the Attorney General decided to drop the charges in the case. One of the main reasons behind the charges being dropped was the alleged testimony of Jaruchart and a second major witness, who is still alive.
This morning, Chiang Mai police requested to Mr. Saman and Mrs. Ta Wang Moon, adoptive father and mother of Mr. Jaruchart, to perform a full and detailed autopsy. This request came on the day of the scheduled cremation and religious ceremony. This comes as a panel of prosecutors with the Office of the Attorney General are investigating if the dropping of charges against Vorayuth was legal and met normal regulations. Chiang Mai police had previously stated that no foul play or evidence of any cause other then the motorbike accident caused Jaruchart’s death.
However, as the case is prominent and with some on social media and in the public calling for more transparency and questioning the coincidence of a major witness dying while the case is under investigation, Chiang Mai police will once again examine Jaruchart’s body. The request was made due to the Prime Minister of Thailand, Prayut Chan O’Cha, asking for the action to be taken for transparency purposes.
The family of Mr. Jaruchart agreed to delay the actual cremation but were allowed to continue all other religious rituals this morning as the funeral rites had previously been scheduled for today. After the remaining religious rites are completed today at the Ban Rong Bon Crematorium police will take custody of the body of Mr. Jaruchart for a full and detailed autopsy.
A decision regarding if the dropping of charges was done per regulation and properly from the committee reviewing the circumstances behind the case is expected later this week.
Photo credit: Naew Na