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Vorayuth Yoovidhya


Red Bull empire heir Vorayuth Yoovidhya, who is wanted in Thailand over the death of a police officer, has fled to Singapore, Thai police say.

Thai authorities have said Vorayuth Yoovidhya left on April 25, days before an arrest warrant was issued for him after he failed to show up to face charges.

Vorayuth Yoovidhya allegedly knocked down the officer while speeding in 2012.

The high-profile case has attracted criticism that the elite enjoy special treatment from Thai authorities.

Singapore airport authorities had confirmed with them that Vorayuth Yoovidhya’s private plane was in the country as of April 25, the AP reports.

Singapore does not have an extradition agreement with Thailand, but the two countries frequently co-operate in transnational cases.

Image source EPA

Vorayuth Yoovidhya has repeatedly failed to meet Thai police to face charges of speeding, reckless driving causing death, and fleeing the scene of an accident. Some charges have since expired.

Red Bull heir’s representatives have said each time that he was either away for business or too ill to meet police.

Thai news outlets quoted police as saying that Vorayuth Yoovidhya traveled to Singapore on April 25, and that they were unable to stop him as this was before the warrant was issued on April 28.

A police spokesman also told The Nation newspaper that they did not put in place a travel ban as the case was about recklessness rather than one of criminal intent.

Thai investigators are now seeking to cancel Vorayuth Yoovidhya’s passport.

An arrest warrant has been issued in Thailand for Red Bull heir Vorayuth Yoovidhya, in a move critics say is long overdue.

Vorayuth Yoovidhya is accused of knocking down and killing a policeman while speeding in Bangkok in 2012.

He has repeatedly failed to meet police to face charges, which include reckless driving causing death.

The closely watched case has fuelled criticism that Thailand‘s elite enjoy special treatment by the authorities.

Vorayuth Yoovidhya is the grandson of Chaleo Yoovidhya, who co-founded the Red Bull empire with Austrian Dietrich Mateschitz.

Image source EPA

He was first arrested shortly after the incident and later let go.

Vorayuth Yoovidhya was subsequently summoned repeatedly to face charges, but each time his lawyers said he was unable to do so, citing overseas work commitments and illness. A charge for speeding has since expired.

Thai prosecutors asked police to request the arrest warrant after Vorayuth Yoovidhya failed to meet another deadline on April 27.

If found guilty of reckless driving causing death – a charge which expires in 2027 – Vorayuth Yoovidhya could be jailed for up to 10 years.

Many Thais have questioned why the police have not tried to arrest Vorayuth Yoovidhya before now to face charges.

Before the arrest warrant was issued, the office of the attorney-general said it would explore applying for extradition of Vorayuth Yoovidhya, who it said was recently seen in London, if a warrant was issued.