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Red Bull Heir Once Again Fails to Report to Prosecutors in Thailand

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Vorayuth “Boss” Yoovidhya, whose grandfather co-founded energy drink company Red Bull in London

BANGKOK – Vorayuth Yoovidhya the heir to the Red Bull fortune has once again failed to report to prosecutors in Thailand over the hit-and-run accident in which a policeman was killed five years ago.

It was the eighth time that Mr Vorayuth, alias “Boss”, has brushed off prosecutors’ orders to report to the Criminal Court since legal proceedings against him began in 2016.

On Thursday, prosecutors rejected his latest request for a further delay, and said he must show up by 4pm.

“He sent a letter requesting to move the appointment, but he can’t do this again,” Suthi Kittisuppaporn, director-general of the prosecution office of the South Bangkok Criminal Court, told reporters.

Vorayuth Yoovidhya at Thong Lor police station on Sept 3, 2012 before police granted him bail. He was found living the good life in London in March. (Photo by Somchai Poomlard)

Somnuek Siangkong, spokesman for the Office of the Attorney General, said that if Mr Vorayuth  failed to show up, prosecutors would apply for an arrest warrant on Friday morning.

“The suspect must meet prosecutors as scheduled. If he does not, it  means he has the intention of delaying and evading the case and we will proceed with a request to the court for an arrest warrant,” he said at a news conference.

Mr Vorayuth was charged with speeding, hit-and-run and reckless driving causing death in the 2012 collision, in which his Ferrari ran into the back of a police motorcycle, killing the rider.

Mr Vorayuth is a grandson of the late Chaleo Yoovidhya, creator of the Krating Daeng, or “Red Bull”, energy drink.

Chaleo, 88, was listed as the third richest person at the time of his death in 2012, with an estimated net worth of US$5 billion, according to Forbes magazine.

His grandson Vorayuth, who has spent much of the past five years abroad, having been seen at sports events in London and Singapore. He has previously cited work commitments abroad as reasons for not responding to prosecutors’ summonses.

Mr Vorayuth’s Ferrari ran into a motorcycle ridden by Pol Sen Sgt Maj Wichean Glanprasert, chief of a patrol unit at Thong Lor police station, in the early hours of Sept 3, 2012. The officer’s body was dragged under the car for several dozen metres. He is accused of fleeing the scene.

An additional charge of speeding expired a year after the accident. The hit-and-run charge carries a penalty of up to six months in jail and expires in September, while the reckless driving charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in jail and expires in 10 years’ time if left unchallenged.

Source: Associated Press, Reuters, Bangkok Post