Thai deputy minister’s son receives sentence for drunk driving

By Linh Le   April 20, 2024 | 03:37 pm PT
Panich Promphat, the son of Thailand’s Deputy Minister of Public Health, received a suspended jail sentence for a drunk driving offense.
A person drinking while driving. Illustration photo by Pexels

A person drinking while driving. Illustration photo by Pexels

According to the Bangkok Post, the spokesperson for the Office of the Attorney General of Thailand announced on Friday that Panich faced two charges, including driving under the influence of alcohol and obstructing police duty. The charges led to a suspended sentence, a fine of 4,000 baht (US$109), a requirement to perform a year of community service, and a six-month revocation of his driving license.

At 3:30 a.m. on Thursday, Panich was apprehended after he failed to heed police orders to halt for a breathalyzer test at a checkpoint. He also collided his BMW i8, worth 11.8 million baht, with the steel barrier of the checkpoint.

The Nation reported that a test conducted subsequently found his blood alcohol concentration to be 183 milligrams per 100 milliliters of blood, exceeding the legal threshold of 50 milligrams.

Upon being taken to the Pracha Chuen police station, he accused the arresting officers of not having the right to detain him and claimed they had committed theft. He reportedly exhibited drunken behavior and had to be forcefully moved to a detention room before being interrogated.

The incident has garnered notable attention since Panich is a progeny of Santi Promphat, the Deputy Minister of Public Health, an agency heavily involved in initiatives to combat drunk driving.

Before the verdict was announced, Santi told reporters he was unaware of the situation, explaining that he was not in Bangkok at the time. Speaking to Channel 3 news, he characterized his son as "a good kid" and highlighted the significance of obeying the law.

At 72, Santi also holds a position as the deputy leader of the Palang Pracharath Party and was previously a distinguished member of the Pheu Thai Party.

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