Daughter of Thai elite who killed 9 again avoids jail
Daughter of aristocratic family, who killed 9 after crashing into van as teen, allowed to redo community service
The daughter of a wealthy Thai aristocratic family, whose case provoked international ridicule when she was sentenced to just two years in prison after killing nine people in 2010, has again avoided jail despite violating the terms of her probation.
The Bangkok Post reported Wednesday that Orachorn "Praewa" Thephasadin na Ayudhya, 22, had reached an agreement with the probation department after admitting to having "misunderstood" the terms of her probation by performing community service at a hospital not registered by the department.
Praewa was just 16 years old when her car rear-ended a passenger van carrying students and staff from Bangkok's Thammasat University on Dec. 27, 2010.
The impact caused eight people to be thrown from one of the Thai capital's main tollways, killing them immediately, while another person later succumbed to their injuries in hospital.
Praewa -- whose “na Ayudhya” honorific belongs to descendants of royalty or nobility -- sparked further public outrage when she was photographed texting on her phone shortly after the fatal accident.
In 2015, her family was ordered to pay 30 million baht (around $85,000) in compensation to the families of the victims -- one third of the amount the families had requested.
The Post quoted the probation department’s director-general, Pol. Col. Narat Sawetanant, as saying that during Tuesday’s hearing, Praewa exhibited "a willingness to compromise". He, however, refused to provide further details.
Under the agreement, Central Juvenile and Family Court judges are allowing her to redo 90 hours of community service she claimed to have already served at the Phramongkhutkhlao Hospital and complete a total of 139 remaining hours.
The department said her service at the hospital violated the terms of her probation and could not be counted.
According to Sawetanant, Praewa did not consult with the department -- as required -- prior to performing her community service hours. She simply sent a lawyer with documents signed by Phramongkhutkhlao Hospital to say she had completed the 90 hours.
Praewa’s case is not an exception in Thailand, where law enforcement and judicial officials have been criticized for the special treatment exhibited toward members of the elite.
In 2012, the heir of the ultra-wealthy Red Bull energy drink family crashed his Ferrari into a 47-year-old police officer, the car dragging his body for more than 100 yards before Vorayudh "Boss" Yoovidhaya fled the scene.
Yoovidhaya has still not been apprehended, and many Thais blame the police for the poor handling of the case.
Earlier this year, the son of a wealthy businessman, Janepob Verraporn, was caught on video crashing his Mercedes Benz into a car, killing two graduate students inside. Facing seven charges, Verraporn has yet to be apprehended and convicted.