Prosecutors Say ‘Boss Red Bull’ Case Can Be Revived

In this April 5, 2017, file photo, Vorayuth
In this April 5, 2017, file photo, 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. Photo: Matt Dunham, File / AP

BANGKOK — Public prosecutors on Tuesday said there is enough evidence to press new charges against a billionaire scion who allegedly killed a policeman with his Ferrari in 2012.

The charges against Vorayuth “Boss” Yoovidhya were dropped by the prosecutors in June, but the inquiry committee set up by the Office of the Attorney General now said police can still forward new accusations against Vorayuth after new evidence emerged.

“Although the prosecutors have decided not to indict Vorayuth over his reckless driving that resulted in death, it doesn’t mean that nothing else can be done about it,” deputy attorney general Somsak Tiyawanich said. “There is new evidence to the case that might be able to put him to trial.”

Vorayuth never answered summonses from prosecutors since he plowed his Ferrari into a patrol motorcycle in Bangkok in 2012, killing Sgt. Maj. Wichian Klanprasert, and then fled the scene. He has since spent a jet-setting life abroad without any apparent attempts by Thai authorities to arrest him.


Somsak said the committee suggested investigators should charge Vorayuth for his alleged cocaine use since police had not raised the matter in their past reports.

Police commanders had previously said that they did not press drug charges against the heir to the Red Bull fortune because they believed the residue of cocaine found in Vorayuth’s bloodstream was for medical purposes.

A dentist guild soon disputed the claim, saying that the use of cocaine in dental treatments was abolished a century ago.

Somsak also said the prosecutor responsible for the case, Nate Naksuk, had made a sound decision to drop the charges based on the available evidence and eyewitness testimonies put forward by the investigators at the time.

“His decision to go against the arraignment was based on the available evidence. He did not use his discretion to make the decision,” Prayut Pethkun, deputy spokesman of the attorney general office said. “It’s according to the law and relevant regulations.”

According to police reports, investigators estimated that Vorayuth was driving under 80 kmph when his supercar crashed into Sgt. Maj. Wichian’s motorcycle. The claim was based on eyewitness testimonies given by a witness called Jaruchart Mardthong, as well as a retired air force general who was driving behind Vorayuth at the time.


Their accounts are widely believed to have contributed to prosecutors’ decision to drop the charges against Vorayuth. Jaruchart died in what police identified as an accident in Chiang Mai last week.

Experts believed that Vorayuth was driving at a speed no less than 126 kmph at the time.

The statute of limitations on the charge will not expire for another seven years.