Court Approves Warrant to Arrest Red Bull Heir

Vorayuth "Boss" Yoovidhya, whose grandfather co-founded energy drink company Red Bull, walks to get in a car as he leaves a house in London, Wednesday, April 5, 2017. Photo: Matt Dunham / Associated Press

BANGKOK — For the first time since millionaire Vorayuth “Boss” Yoovidhya killed a policeman with his Ferrari nearly five years ago, a warrant for his arrest was approved by a court Friday.

Prodded by public attention, the authorities won court approval for a warrant for his arrest, a necessary step to eventually moved seeking extradition of the 32-year-old grandson of the man who started the Red Bull energy drink empire.

“We have already applied for a warrant from the court,” Achawin Boonthamcharoen, chief investigator of Thonglor Police Station, which oversees the investigation, said by telephone prior to the court’s swift action.

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The move comes one day after Vorayuth failed to appear yet again before authorities in Bangkok.

If a warrant is issued, officers will notify the immigration bureau to apprehend Vorayuth if he ever returns to Thailand, Lt. Col. Achawin said. He said police will also instruct prosecutors to start the process of extradition.

“Based on preliminary reports, it appears he is outside Thailand,” Achawin said of Vorayuth, who recently moved out from an address in London.

Vorayuth left the country soon after the September 2012 car crash that killed Sgt. Maj. Wichian Klanprasert, ostensibly to seek medical treatment in Singapore. He has lived in Bangkok and abroad for the past four years, during which time he has repeatedly ignored summonses from prosecutors, citing claims of unfair treatment.

Asked whether an arrest warrant would prompt police to raid Vorayuth’s home in Bangkok to search for him, Achawin ruled it out.

“I don’t think we will go that far,” he said.

For the deadly crash, Vorayuth was charged with fatal reckless driving, failure to report an accident to the police, speeding and damaging property. The two latter charges have already expired, while the count of hit-and-run is due to expire in September. The statute of limitations for the most serious charge – fatal reckless driving – is valid until 2027.

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