Crime & Justice

Thai prime minister calls for Interpol red notice for Red Bull heir

Bangkok, Sep 22 (efe-epa).- Thailand’s prime minister urged the police on Tuesday to coordinate with the international police organization, Interpol, to issue a red notice for the arrest of the heir of the multi-billion dollar Red Bull franchise.

Prayuth Chan-ocha sought the arrest of Vorayuth Yoovidhya, 35, for a hit-and-run that killed a police official in Bangkok in 2012, and wants his extradition to Thailand, where he faces charges of drug use and reckless driving.

Prayuth said he hoped to receive news about Interpol’s red notice – a request to law enforcement worldwide to locate and provisionally arrest a person pending extradition, surrender, or similar legal action – in less than a week.

In late August, a Thai court issued a fresh arrest warrant against Vorayuth following an outpouring of criticism after it was revealed at the end of July that the prosecutors had closed the case a month earlier at the request of the police.

The public outcry forced the authorities to reopen the investigation.

Vorayuth is the grandson of Chaleo Yoovidhya, founder of Krating Daeng (Red Bull) in Thailand, who partnered with Austrian entrepreneur Dietrich Mateschitz to launch the brand internationally in 1987.

On Sep.3, 2012, Vorayuth, driving a black Ferrari, hit the motorcycle of 47-year-old officer Wichean Klinprasert, dragging him for up to 100 metres before fleeing.

According to the report by Professor Sathon Wicharnwannarak of Chulalongkorn University, the speed of the car at the time was 177 kilometers per hour (110 miles per hour), much above the driving limit in the central area of the city.

Wichean was killed on the spot and a trail of oil led the police to the luxurious residence of the Yoovidhyas, who at first declared that the car had been driven by Vorayuth’s assistant and chauffeur.

The 35-year-old heir eventually admitted that he was driving the sports car and tested positive for both alcohol and cocaine.

The authorities vowed to bring Vorayuth to justice but he missed up to eight legal summons until an arrest warrant was finally issued against him in April 2017, while he was abroad leading a lavish lifestyle.

The withdrawal of charges against the heir in June sparked a wave of outrage in the country and the government decided to launch an inquiry that led to the reopening of the case.

Moreover, the then-deputy attorney general responsible for the decision to drop the deadly hit-and-run charges against Vorayuth resigned on Aug. 11, and around 20 police officials face suspension or disqualification. EFE-EPA


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