Interpol issues ‘red notice’ to arrest fugitive Thai Red Bull heir over his role in a fatal hit and run
- Vorayuth Yoovidhya allegedly smashed his Ferrari into a police motorbike
- The officer was flung from the bike and pronounced dead at the scene in 2012
- Red Bull heir was later arrested at home where medical tests were conducted
- He avoided further legal action by consistently failing to meet with prosecutors
Interpol have issued a ‘red notice’ to arrest the Thai heir to the Red Bull fortune involved in a 2012 hit and run that killed a police officer, police said today.
Vorayuth Yoovidhya, 38, smashed his Ferrari into the back of a police officer’s motorbike around dawn on a major Bangkok road in September 2012.
The officer was flung from the bike and died at the scene. Police say the Red Bull heir drove home and was later arrested.
Medical tests showed traces of alcohol and cocaine in his bloodstream, according to police. But Vorayuth avoided further legal action by consistently failing to meet with prosecutors, while continuing to live a jet-set life.
Thai police spokesman Kissana Phathanacharoen today said Interpol issued the ‘red notice’ last Wednesday.
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
He said Thai police are requesting information about the whereabouts of the heir better known by the nickname ‘Boss’.
A red notice is a request to police forces around the world ‘to locate and provisionally arrest an individual, pending extradition’.
Some are made public but others are not in some circumstances. Interpol routinely declines to comment on individual cases on privacy grounds.
Vorayuth avoided further legal action by consistently failing to meet with prosecutors, while continuing to live a jet-set life
It comes after a panel appointed to review the case found Thai authorities conspired to protect Yoovidhya last month.
Vicha Mahakhun, a former Supreme Court judge who chaired the Factual and Legal Inquiry Committee, said at a news conference Tuesday that the conspiracy involved government officials, lawyers and a prosecutor.
A summary of their report went further, saying the deputy attorney general had acted illegally with the intention of protecting Yoovidhya.
Prosecutors finally issued an arrest warrant for him in April 2017, but by then he had fled abroad, where he remains.
The warrant was withdrawn this year after the last charge was dropped, but police issued a new one after the public furor caused them to reopen the case.
The summary report also said the attorney general and the police commissioner could not deny responsibility as the heads of their organisations, and that the performance of the assistant police commissioner had been inadequate.
‘We found that there was an organised effort to create a dishonest case,’ said Vicha, who also has served with the National Anti-Corruption Commission.
This frame grab from video footage taken on September 3, 2012 and received from Thai PBS via AFPTV on September 1, 2020 shows police inspecting the Ferrari car belonging to Red Bull heir ‘Boss’ Yoovidhya in Bangkok, after a hit-and-run case which resulted in the death of a police officer
‘You can describe the coordinated effort as a conspiracy to damage the case from the start. We have a saying: “A toxic tree yields a toxic fruit.” It is inedible.’
Vicha said the effort included false evidence, delays and insincere attempts to determine Boss’ whereabouts, adding that disciplinary and criminal actions should follow.
The panel was one of several hurriedly set up after news leaked out that the last outstanding charge against Vorayuth had quietly been dropped in June by the deputy attorney general, Nate Naksuk.
It ignited a storm of public outrage. Nate has since resigned.
Jaruwat Vaisaya (left), Assistant Commissioner of the Royal Thai Police and vice chairperson of the police investigation committee of Vorayuth Yoovidhya, talks to media next to the deputy spokesman Kritsana Pattanacharoen (right) during a press conference about the progress of the case, at the Royal Thai Police headquarters in Bangkok, Thailand on September 2
The panel also recommended that the charges against Vorayuth be reinstated. In practical terms, that means just one charge – causing death by negligence – as all others have expired under the statute of limitations.
However, police recently said they will add a drug charge that was not initially lodged against Vorayuth.
As a result of the case, the panel has engaged in detailed deliberations about reforming the Thai justice system.
Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said on September 1that this step was crucial.
‘We cannot live without law,’ he said.
Yoravurth (pictured second from right) has failed to answer numerous court summons and his current whereabouts are unknown
‘There will be anarchy, not democracy, in our country. We can’t live that way. This will damage the country.
‘We will lose the confidence of foreign nations. The economy won’t be stable. We’ll lose investment. What do we gain from that?’
The case has been taken up by anti-government protesters seeking to force the Prayuth administration from office as a prime example of the corruption bedeviling Thai society.
The Yoovidhya family owns about half of the Red Bull empire, and is listed by Forbes magazine as the second richest in Thailand with an estimated wealth of $20.2 billion.
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