UDON THANI NEWS – BANGKOK THAILAND –The authorities are starting to cave under international pressure to arrest the Red Bull heir Vorayuth.
NEWS FROM THE NATION:
Thai prosecutors vowed Thursday to seek the first arrest warrant for the heir to the Red Bull fortune after he dodged the latest summons to hear charges over a 2012 hit-and-run in his Ferrari that left a policeman dead.
The threat comes after years of public anger over the lack of progress in a case that critics say highlights the impunity enjoyed by Thailand’s wealthy and well-connected.
Vorayuth Yoovidhya, whose nickname is “Boss”, was 27 when he allegedly smashed his Ferrari into a police officer in the early hours of the morning, dragging the body for several hundred metres before fleeing the scene of the crash.
The scion, whose father is Thailand’s fourth-richest billionaire, has never showed up for a formal indictment, allowing some of the charges against him to expire.
After Vorayuth missed the latest summons Thursday, prosecutors promised to request an arrest warrant, which has never been issued for the princeling.
“If the suspect doesn’t show up by 4pm today, tomorrow we will send a letter to Thonglor police station to ask the court for an arrest warrant immediately,” Prayut Bejraguna, a spokesman for the the Attorney-General’s office, told reporters.
Prosecutors said they would also explore extraditing Vorayuth, who has paraded his flashy lifestyle on social media over the years with frequent trips overseas.
His lawyer has previously said Vorayuth was on business in the UK and unable to return to Bangkok.
“If our (extradition) request fails we can ask UK police to renew the case while we support them with details,” said Amnat Chotchai, the head of the Attorney-General’s foreign division.
BACKGROUND STORY FROM NY POST:
BANGKOK – The Ferrari driver who allegedly slammed into motorcycle cop, dragging him along the road and then sped away from the mangled body took just hours to find, as investigators followed a drip, drip, drip trail of brake fluid up a street, down an alley, and into the gated estate of one of the country’s richest families.
The prosecution of Red Bull heir Vorayuth “Boss” Yoovidhya, however, has been delayed for close to five years.
Within weeks of the accident, The Associated Press has found, Vorayuth, then 27, was back to enjoying his family’s jet-set life, largely associated with the Red Bull brand, an energy drink company co-founded by his grandfather. He flies around the world on private Red Bull jets, cheers its Formula One racing team from Red Bull’s VIP seats and keeps a black Porsche Carrera in London with custom license plates: B055 RBR (Boss Red Bull Racing).
Critics say the inertia in the Red Bull heir’s case is just another example of longstanding privilege for the wealthy class in Thailand, a politically tumultuous country that has long struggled with rule of law.
The Yoovidhya family lawyer did not respond to AP’s request to interview Vorayuth.
“There is most certainly a culture of impunity here that big people, which means roughly people with power and money, expect to be able to get away with a certain amount of wrongdoing,” said British historian Chris Baker, who with his Thai wife, Pasuk Phongpaichit, has written extensively about inequality, wealth and power in Thailand.
Vorayuth has been summoned by prosecutors for a meeting on Thursday. He has skipped out on several past appointments.
The cop, Sgt. Maj. Wichean Glanprasert, came from a rural area and didn’t have many opportunities. The youngest of five, he was the first in the family to leave its coconut and palm farm for the city, the first to get a government job and to graduate from college. He had no children, but planned to put his brother’s kids through college.