Thai court seeks Red Bull heir arrest after five years

Thai court seeks Red Bull heir arrest after five years

Vorayuth Yoovidhya grandson of the creator of Red Bull energy drink alleged hit-and-run is arrested at Thong Lor police station in Bangkok, Thailand, 3 September 2012Image copyright
EPA

Image caption

Mr Vorayuth was initially arrested after the incident but has since failed to turn up to face charges

A Thai court has issued an arrest warrant for Red Bull heir Vorayuth Yoovidhaya, in a move critics say is long overdue.

Mr Vorayuth is accused of knocking down and killing a policeman while speeding in Bangkok in 2012.

He has repeatedly failed to meet police to face charges, which include reckless driving causing death.

The closely watched case has fuelled criticism that Thailand’s elite enjoy special treatment by the authorities.

Mr Vorayuth is the grandson of Chaleo Yoovidhaya, who co-founded the Red Bull empire with Austrian Dietrich Mateschitz.

He was first arrested shortly after the incident and later let go.

He was subsequently summoned repeatedly to face charges, but each time his lawyers said he was unable to do so, citing overseas work commitments and illness. A charge for speeding has since expired.

Image copyright
Reuters

Image caption

Mr Vorayuth’s badly-dented Ferrari was found in the compound of his family’s home in 2012

Prosecutors asked police to request the arrest warrant after he failed to meet another deadline on Thursday.

“A court in Bangkok has approved the request and we’ve entered the arrest warrant into the system, meaning that police all over the country will be searching for him,” Police Col Kajohnpong Jitparkpoom, the superintendent of Thong Lor police district, told the BBC.

“But if he is found to be overseas, then the prosecutors will have to initiate the procedure to have him extradited, if possible.”

If found guilty of reckless driving causing death, a charge which expires in 2027, he could be jailed for up to 10 years.

Many Thais have questioned why the police have not tried to arrest Mr Vorayuth before now to face charges.

Before the arrest warrant was issued, the office of the attorney-general said it would explore applying for extradition of Mr Vorayuth, who it said was recently seen in London, if a warrant was issued.

Thai court seeks Red Bull heir arrest after five years}

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