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Red Bull heir snubs hit-and-run case, again

BANGKOK: The heir to the Red Bull billions today (Mar 30) again snubbed Thai prosecutors over a five-year-old hit-and-run incident that killed a policeman, the latest delay to a case that has become a byword for impunity enjoyed by the country’s rich.

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By AFP

Thursday 30 March 2017, 03:49PM


Today a spokesman for Thailand’s Attorney-General said Vorayudh’s lawyer had requested to postpone the latest summons, claiming his client was on a business trip in Britain. Photo: Post Today

Today a spokesman for Thailand’s Attorney-General said Vorayudh’s lawyer had requested to postpone the latest summons, claiming his client was on a business trip in Britain. Photo: Post Today

Vorayudh Yoovidhya, whose nickname is “Boss”, was 27 when he allegedly smashed his Ferrari into a police officer in 2012 and sped away, dragging the body along a downtown Bangkok road for about 100 metres.

A trail of debris from the accident led officers to the mansion of his super-rich clan, who own half of the Red Bull energy drink empire.

The local police station, which covers Bangkok’s most exclusive district, initially accepted the family’s claim that the housekeeper was driving the car.

But the story fell apart and Vorayudh was eventually hit with a string of charges.

He has repeatedly failed to show up for formal indictment and has never been re-arrested, allowing some of the charges to expire and delaying legal action.

The allegations have not deterred him from appearing on Bangkok’s high society party circuit and he continues to freely dip in and out of the country.

Today a spokesman for Thailand’s Attorney-General said Vorayudh’s lawyer had requested to postpone the latest summons, claiming his client was on a business trip in Britain.

“We cannot indict him because the suspect is not present,” said spokesman Prayut Bejiraguna, adding that the appointment was rescheduled for April 27.

As with many high-profile criminal cases involving Bangkok’s elite, public anger over the lack of progress tends to bubble up periodically, putting brief pressure on police before slipping back off the radar.

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This week the Thai media was awash with photos of the Red Bull princeling, including shots of a black Porsche with the licence plate “B055 RBR” (Red Bull Racing).

Interest in Vorayudh’s case was revived last year after the son of another wealthy businessman killed two students when he allegedly slammed his Mercedes Benz into their car.

The Mercedes driver was hospitalised after the accident and later charged.

“Society might criticise the Attorney-General for using laws in different ways towards poor and rich people,” Chuwit Kamolvisit, a former massage-parlour tycoon turned anti-graft crusader, told prosecutors at a press conference.

Vorayudh’s father is Thailand’s fourth richest billionaire, according to Forbes.

“The speeding charge is not complicated, so why has it taken five years?” he added, referring to one of the charges whose statute of limitations has already passed.

The most serious charge – reckless driving that resulted in death – carries up to 10 years in prison and will not expire until 2027.

Vorayudh’s grandfather Chaleo Yoovidhya co-founded the Red Bull brand with Austrian Dietrich Mateschitz in the 1980s.  

 

 

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Jor12 | 03 April 2017 - 18:29:19

Kurt...what are you talking about. His legal advisors are using the law to its fullest extent.

Kurt | 31 March 2017 - 10:03:22

Is it not lovely amusing how the law enforcement- and Justice authorities do their very best to please the Red Bull Heir?
Perhaps some officials do also have 'advisory function' with Red Bull? Very legal, of course.
Same as that police general is advisor ( was?) with a thai beer brand a 50,000 thb per month. Very legal, as explained previously.

The best defends here is being rich, abl...

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