SUNDAY, March 03, 2024

‘Time running out’ to prosecute Vorayuth in cocaine case

‘Time running out’ to prosecute Vorayuth in cocaine case

The Office of the Attorney-General has expressed concern over the cocaine use charge against fugitive Vorayuth "Boss" Yoovidhya nearing the end of its statute of limitations.

The office on Wednesday released a statement on the results of the year 2021 and the direction of proactive action in 2022.

Itthiporn Kaewthip, a spokesman for the office, reported on the progress into the case case against Vorayuth, heir to an energy drink giant, who allegedly killed a police officer in a hit-and-run case dating back to 2012.

Prosecutors have charged Vorayut on two counts: rash driving causing the death of another person, whose statute of limitations expires in 2027; and the charge of cocaine use, which expires on September 3, 2022.

Dr Jumpon Phansumrit, director-general of International Affairs Department, Office of the Attorney-General, revealed that last year the parliamentary committee had called to explain the case against Vorayut. He investigated and found that the matter had not yet been referred to the office for extradition.

“We are still waiting for the extradition process. Several laws and treaties state that we must provide a possible address as one of the three key conditions for extradition. We have all facts, legal and statutes, except possible addresses,” said Jumpon.

Prayut Petchkhun, the deputy spokesman for the office, said that finding out the residence of the accused abroad was not within the prosecutor's purview.

“We admit we are worried because the statue of limitations on the cocaine charge is about to expire on September 3, 2022. As long as the accused has not been identified, we will not be able to file a lawsuit against Vorayuth in the court,” said Prayut.

“We have only heard from the press that Vorayuth lives in England or Austria. What the police sent the prosecutor was a copy of the court's arrest warrant, but the extradition warrant had not yet been issued. If you know the address of the accused in a foreign country, our prosecutors are ready to take any action to request extradition,” he said.