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article imageImpunity for the rich and famous leaves Thais outraged

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By Layne Weiss     Sep 4, 2012 in World
The 27-year old grandson of the creator of Red Bull energy drink allegedly crashed his Ferrari into a police officer, killed him, and dragged his body for 200 meters Monday. The young man fled the scene, and a family driver was set to take blame.
Vorayuth Yoovidhya, 27, eventually confessed to hitting the police man, CNN reports.
He was arrested and released hours later on 500,000 baht ($16,000) bail, Reuters reports.
Despite his release, the mere fact that a member of one of Thailand's wealthiest families was arrested at all resulted in the suspension of a police officer who was accused of setting Yoovidhya up by having another person drive his Ferrari, CNN reports.
The news just added to the general belief that the wealthy and elite people of Thailand always get away with murder-this time, literally,Reuters reports.
The public has little faith that Yoovidhya will be punished at all for the crime.
"Jail is only for the poor. The rich never get punished," someone commented on the popular Thai website Pantip.com, The Guardian reports. "He will receive a suspended sentence and never do any jail time," a Bangkok Post reader commented. "This is the only country in the world where you can kill cops and get away with it."
According to Reuters suspended jail terms seem to be the "norm" for the powerful and well connected people in Thailand.
Just last week, popular Thai actress Cherman "Ploy" Boonyasak cried before the media trying to get sympathy for her tax problems. She blamed her accountant for an "honest mistake."
The actress, however, doesn't seem to be getting much sympathy. People on Thai social networks have been writing that this is just another case of a wealthy entertainer doing what she can to avoid paying her tax bill.
According to Reuters, Ploy posted a picture of herself with the son of former bureaucrat overseeing the revenue department with the message, "don't mess with us." The picture didn't help the actress' attempt at sympathy.
Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra also used the "honest mistake" argument in 2001 when he was acquitted of concealing 4.5 billion baht of his own money under the names of four domestic servants and a businessman, Reuters reports.
In 2006, Thaksin was ousted in a military coup for corruption and abuse of power.
He has been in self-imposed exile. He spends most of his time in London and Dubai.
If he returns to Thailand, Thaksin faces a two year jail sentence.
In another case of the way political power and connections can save a person from punishment, the son of Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yoobamarung, Duang Yumabarung, was not only acquitted in 2004 of killing a policeman at a nightclub, but he is now a police officer, The Bangkok Post reports.
In 2002, Duang was discharged from the army after fleeing to Malaysia to avoid being charged for the murder of the police officer. He was approved to rejoin in 2008.
Duang is now a shooting instructor for the Metropolitan Police, Reuters reports.
Not surprisingly, the news has shocked and angered that a man can shoot a police officer and then become a police officer. Many have voiced their opinions on message boards such as Thai360 and Teak Door.
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More about red bull heir arrested, Hit and run, family driver to take blame, duang yubamrung, chermarn boonyasak
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