Crime & Justice

Thailand prosecutors recommend case against Red Bull heir be reopened

Bangkok, Aug 4 (efe-epa).- Thailand’s public prosecutor’s office changed its mind following an outpouring of criticism and recommended on Tuesday the reopening of a case on charges of drug use and reckless driving against the heir of the multi-billion dollar Red Bull franchise for a hit-and-run that killed a police official in Bangkok in 2012.

Following the controversy sparked by the dismissal of all charges against Vorayuth Yoovidhya in June, a working group of the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) asked the police on Tuesday to re-examine the case as two key pieces of evidence were not included in the earlier police investigative report pertaining to the case.

At a press conference, OAG spokesperson Prayut Petcharakhun said that although the attorney general had previously decided to drop the case against “Boss” Yuwittaya, they would now send the report to the police officials in order to press the charge of cocaine abuse against (him) after finding the substance in his body and also re-investigate the charges of exceeding the speed limit.

It is not known for the time being when the authorities will pass a judgement on these charges, which carry prison sentences, against the rich heir.

On Sep. 3, 2012, Vorayuth, driving a black Ferrari, crashed at 5 am into the motorcycle of Wichean Klinprasert, a 47-year-old police officer who he dragged 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 of the crash in a central area of the city was 177 kilometers per hour (110 miles per hour), much above the driving limit.

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 alcohol, although his lawyers claimed he drank after the accident due to stress.

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, although he was outside Thailand leading a lavish lifestyle.

At the end of July, it was revealed that the prosecutors had closed the case a month earlier at the request of the police after the statute of limitation of several offences expired and after the authorities said that the Ferrari’s speed was no more than 80 kph at the time of the crash.

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


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