Attorney General Vows to Prosecute Stalled Case Against Red Bull Heir

Vorayuth Yoovidhya was arrested at his family home in Bangkok on Sept. 3, 2012. He would later flee to Singapore.

BANGKOK — Four years after he killed a Bangkok motorcycle cop, fugitive Red Bull heir Vorayuth “Boss” Yoovidhya still faces prosecution, the Attorney General’s office announced today.

After nearly two years of inactivity, the case against Vorayuth is moving forward again, an attorney general spokesman said Tuesday, and he will still be prosecuted for reckless driving resulting in death, one of two charges for which the statute of limitations has yet to expire.

With public attention again focused on high-profile cases of wealthy children escaping justice, Lt. Somnuek Siangkong vowed that Vorayuth, now 31, will one day be tried for the 2012 death of Bangkok police officer Wichian Klanprasert.

Wichian, a sergeant major at the Thonglor police station, was killed when Vorayuth crashed his Ferrari into Wichian’s motorcycle then dragged his body behind as he sped away.

Somnuek said two previously filed misdemeanors speeding and property damage had already expired.

No announcement was made as when to expect a trial or Vorayuth’s arrest.

Somnuek blamed the lapsed charges on Vorayuth’s failure to appear. Vorayuth, the grandson of deceased billionaire Chaleo Yoovidhya, didn’t respond to police summons and failed to appear a number of times in 2013 before absconding to Singapore. He claimed to be ill.

Vorayuth still faces a lesser charge of not reporting the incident to police, a charge which will expire next year. Somnuek said if he fails to respond to a new summons, authorities are authorized to seek a warrant for his arrest. No mention was made of whether his extradition would be sought from Singapore.

A charge of drunk driving was dropped by prosecutors due to a lack of evidence, according to the Attorney General’s office.

The 2012 case, long a simmering example of Thailand’s two-tier justice system, won fresh interest after wealthy businessman Jenphop Veeraporn killed two students earlier this month in his speeding Mercedes-Benz.

There were further similarities in the two cases, such as a failure to immediately test the suspect’s sobriety. Authorities only took the case seriously after an eruption of outrage on social media, where the accident served as a reminder of other cases of “hit-and-run rich kids” never properly prosecuted.

Police chief Chakthip Chaijinda last week urged authorities to move the case against Vorayuth forward as it had again become a matter of public interest.

Somnuek said Vorayuth asked two years ago to postpone his arrest and proposed five more witnesses for authorities to interview.

It wasn’t until last week that investigators sent prosecutors the results of those interviews, which they are now reviewing.


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