Death of Wichian Klanprasert

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Wichian Klanprasert, a Thai police officer, allegedly was killed by Vorayuth Yoovidhya, grandson of billionaire Red Bull co-founder Chaleo Yoovidhya, in a hit-and-run incident in Bangkok, Thailand, on 3 September 2012.

Vorayuth was charged with speeding, fleeing the scene of an accident, and reckless driving causing death, but has never been arrested. The statute of limitations on the speeding charge expired in September 2013, and on the fleeing the scene of an accident charge in September 2017.

The case is widely seen as an example of how the affluent in Thai society are able to escape the criminal justice system.[1][2][3][4]

2012 hit-and-run[edit]

Wichian, a Thai police senior sergeant-major, was riding a motorcycle when he was hit by a speeding Ferrari which dragged his body along the road for over 100 metres before it fled the scene. The Ferrari was later found to have been driven by Vorayuth, a grandson of billionaire Red Bull co-founder Chaleo Yoovidhya. Vorauth's lawyer later claimed that Vorayuth's high blood alcohol levels were due to his drinking at home due to stress following the accident and that he had left the scene to inform his family of what had happened.[5] Vorayuth initially claimed that Suwet Hom-ubol, Vorayuth's aide and chauffeur, had been behind the wheel during the incident, but later admitted to driving the car himself. Suwet would later be charged with making false statements to the police. An investigating police officer, Pol Lt Colonel Pannaphol Nammueng, allegedly urged Suwet to pretend to be the Ferrari driver in the fatal hit-and-run.[6] The case has caused continuing outrage in Thailand.[4]

Subsequent events[edit]

Despite assurances by then-Police Commissioner Comronwit Toopgrajank that the case would be taken seriously, as of April 2017 Vorayuth had yet to be indicted, as his lawyers had repeatedly postponed summons by the attorney-general, claiming illness, overseas business and unfair treatment, and the statute of limitations expired for several charges.

In April 2017, Vorayuth failed for the eighth time to appear in court to answer the charges against him, citing work commitments.[7]

On 28 April 2017 the criminal court approved an arrest warrant for Vorayuth, however he had already fled to Singapore, where he abandoned his private jet. Interpol confirmed that Vorayuth left Singapore on 27 April.[8] Thai police requested that his Thai passport be cancelled and this was done in early-May 2017.[9][10][11][12]

On 28 August 2017 Interpol, at the request of the Thai police, issued a Red Notice for the arrest of Vorayuth.[13][14]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Red Bull heir enjoys jet-set life 4 years after hit-and-run". Associated Press. 28 March 2017. Retrieved 3 April 2017. 
  2. ^ Head, Jonathan (2 April 2017). "The untouchable Red Bull heir in Thailand". BBC News. Retrieved 3 April 2017. 
  3. ^ Hunter, Brad (2017-03-30). "Spoiled brat Red Bull heir wins new delay". Toronto Sun. Retrieved 6 May 2017. 
  4. ^ a b Rithdee, Kong (2017-04-01). "'Boss' Strides Atop Pyramid of Justice". Bangkok Post. Retrieved 6 January 2018 – via Pressreader. 
  5. ^ Murdoch, Lindsay (1 April 2017). "Red Bull heir Vorayuth Yoovidhya stonewalls prosecutors years after alleged hit-and-run". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 6 January 2018. 
  6. ^ "Red Bull heir may face manslaughter charge". The Nation. 2012-09-05. Retrieved 6 January 2018. 
  7. ^ "As latest deadline passes today, Red Bull heir a no-show...again". Coconuts Bangkok. Reuters. 2017-04-27. Retrieved 27 April 2017. 
  8. ^ "'Boss' leaves private jet in Singapore". Bangkok Post. 5 May 2017. Retrieved 9 May 2017. (Subscription required (help)). 
  9. ^ "Wanted Thai Red Bull heir Vorayuth 'not in Singapore'". BBC. 4 May 2017. Retrieved 6 May 2017. 
  10. ^ "Thailand police get arrest warrant for Red Bull heir". Al Jazeera. 28 April 2017. Retrieved 1 May 2017. 
  11. ^ "Fugitive Red Bull heir abandons private jet, disappears". CBC News. Reuters. 4 May 2017. Retrieved 4 May 2017. 
  12. ^ "Thailand revokes fugitive Red Bull heir's passport". ABC. 6 May 2017. Retrieved 9 May 2017. 
  13. ^ Harmer, Jerry. "Interpol Arrest Notice Issued for Fugitive Red Bull Heir". Time. AP. Retrieved 30 August 2017. [dead link]
  14. ^ "Vorayuth's passport revoked, but location unknown". Bangkok Post. 5 May 2017. Retrieved 5 May 2017. (Subscription required (help)).