By Sasiwan Mokkhasen
BANGKOK — A deadline passed at 4pm today for Red Bull heir Vorayuth “Boss” Yoovidhya to meet with prosecutors four years after he killed a Thonglor cop, but the 31-year-old fugitive will be given yet another chance before a warrant is sought for his arrest.
Prosecutor Suthi Kittisupaporn said Vorayuth’s failure to appear Wednesday afternoon without providing a reason will be met with a second request for Thonglor police, who are responsible for the case, to summon him.
He was ordered to appear Wednesday in regard to a charge of reckless driving from when Vorayuth killed Sgt. Maj. Wichian Klanprasert with his Ferrari at high speed before fleeing the scene to hide at his nearby family home in 2012.
After an initial surge of public interest and vows Vorayuth would be prosecuted, the case petered out in 2014 and was effectively dropped for nearly two years. It returned to public and media interest again in March when wealthy businessmanJenphop Veeraporn killed two students, providing yet another example of a dual-track justice system in which the wealthy and well-connected avoid punishment.
Should Vorayuth fail to report in person in the next 30 days without a valid excuse, then authorities said they will seek a warrant for his arrest. Authorities made no mention of his whereabouts. Although Vorayuth has kept a low profile, a number of sightings in Bangkok have been reported over the years. There has been no warrant for his arrest.
It’s not the first time the grandson of billionaire Red Bull founder Chaleo Yoovidhya failed to appear. He didn’t show up a number of times in 2013 before eventually absconding to Singapore. His family said he was ill.
Two previous misdemeanor charges filed against him – speeding and property damage – already expired. A charge of not reporting the incident to police will expire next year.
The most serious charge – reckless driving resulting in death – won’t expire until 2027.
Suthi said the Vorayuth’s lawyer could ask prosecutors to postpone the legal process but only by citing a demonstrably serious reason such as an imminent, emergency medical procedure.
Meanwhile Sgt. Maj. Wichian’s family, who privately settled with the Yoovidhyas for 3 million baht, recently filed a letter asking prosecutors to consider further charges against Vorayuth, Suthi said.