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Thailand : Red Bull hit and run case drifts, two years on

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  • Thailand : Red Bull hit and run case drifts, two years on

    Red Bull hit and run case drifts, two years on
    King-oua Laohong, Mongkol Bangprapa & Anucha Charoenpo

    Heir to drink empire waits for day in court

  • #2

    Red Bull founder's grandson arrested | Bangkok Post: breakingnews

    Red Bull founder's grandson arrested
    The son of Chalerm Yoovidhya, of Red Bull fame and owner of Siam Winery, was on Monday morning arrested on a hit-and-run charge, and the Thong Lor police superintendent was transferred to an inactive post for allegedly arresting a false driver.

    Police said Mr Chalerm's son, Vorayuth Yoovidhya, known as Boss, had confessed to the charge. Boss is the third son of Mr Chalerm, son of the deceased Red Bull tycoon Chaleo Yoovidhya.

    Boss told investigators that he was driving a black Ferrari and ran into the motorcycle ridden by Pol Sen Sgt Maj Wichian Klanprasert of Thong Lor station, according to police.

    The policman was dragged about 200 metres along Sukhumvit road and died of a broken neck and multiple broken bones.

    Pol Lt Col Chotewat Luangwilai, the deputy chief of Thong Lor station, said Pol Lt Col Pannapon Nammuang, the Thong Lor superintendent, was transferred to an inactive post for allegedly arresting a false driver earlier today.


    • #3
      Mid, some formatting would sure make it easier to read.

      I rather liked the BKK post about the rich kids who kill people while driving that somehow never make it to jail.


      • #4
        Flawed police work exposed in Red Bull crash investigation

        Acting city police chief Sanit Mahathaworn updates the progress in the probe aimed to determine what and who cause the Red Bull heir's hit-and-run case to drag on for four years.
        (Bangkok Post photos)Matichon newspaperthat he had expected legal proceedings in the case to be "extremely slow".

        "In big cases in our country, those with money can be exonerated or have penalties relieved. If the poor commit an offence they are probably indicted quickly," Mr Pornanand noted.

        Arrest warrants on charges of reckless driving causing death and failing to stop his vehicle to help Pol Snr Sgt Maj Wichian were issued after Mr Vorayudh had failed to report to police to answer the charges.


        • #5
          Attorney General Vows to Prosecute Stalled Case Against Red Bull Heir
          Sasiwan Mokkhasen
          29 March 2016

          Vorayuth Yoovidhya was arrested at his family home in Bangkok on Sept. 3, 2012. He would later flee to Singapore.



          • #6
            Thailand: Panel to probe police officers in Red Bull heir hit-and-run case
            A. Azim Idris
            29th March 2016

            Vorayudh Yoovidhya, a grandson of late Red Bull founder Chaleo Yoovidhaya, is accused of killing a policeman with his Ferrari in a 2012 hit-and-run incident.
            Pic: AP.the Bangkok Post


            • #7
              Red Bull heir ordered to meet prosecutors

              Police have been ordered to take Red Bull heir Vorayudh "Boss" Yoovidhaya to meet prosecutors to formally charge him in court in connection with a fatal hit-and-run case from 2012.

              Prayut Pethkhun, deputy spokesman for the Office of the Attorney-General, said on Friday that a letter had been sent to Thong Lor station asking its officers to take Mr Vorayudh to report to the chief prosecutor at the South Bangkok Criminal Case Office.

              Officials are to bring with them the evidence needed to indict the young billionaire at the South Bangkok Criminal Court, he added.

              Mr Prayut did not give the timeline for police to hand over Mr Vorayudh for prosecution, but several media reports said the deadline was the end of this month.

              The decision by the OAG represents a major move in a case that has featured numerous delays and reinforced the public belief that the rich and connected get special treatment from the justice system

              Mr Vorayudh, a grandson of the late energy drink tycoon Chaleo Yoovidhaya, is accused of slamming his speeding black Ferrari into the motorcycle of Pol Snr Maj Wichian Klanprasert, an officer at Thong Lor station, on Sukhumvit Road on Sept 3, 2012, and dragging the policeman to his death.

              The decision by the OAG also came after public prosecutors rejected a request by the suspect for further investigations to be conducted.

              Prosecutors had said earlier that calls by the suspect's lawyer for "fair treatment" had to be dealt with seriously and this had led to delays in prosecuting the case.

              Mr Vorayudh had initially been charged with reckless driving causing death, failing to help a crash victim, and speeding. But the speeding charge expired after one year amid criticism directed at Thong Lor police for poor handling of the case.

              An inquiry team set up to review the Thong Lor police found flaws, including failure to lay a charge of drink-driving. Mr Vorayudh was changed with "drinking after driving" instead.

              Mr Vorayudh has not been seen in public and reportedly has fled the country. His lawyer has appeared on his behalf at a handful of court appearances to seek delays, claiming his client was ill.

              The deputy OAG spokesman warned Mr Vorayudh that he could face an arrest warrant if he fails to follow the order to meet prosecutors.



              • #8
                Red Bull Heir Fails to Appear, Again. Given Another Chance, Again.
                Sasiwan Mokkhasen
                25 May 2016

                Vorayuth Yoovidhya was arrested at his family home in Bangkok on Sept. 3, 2012. He would later flee to Singapore.



                • #9
                  Thai police inspect a Ferrari allegedly belonging to Vorayuth Yoovidhya, grandson of the creator of Red Bull energy drink, September 3, 2012.

                  Nongnoot Saengpraphan mourns the death of her husband, Pol Snr Sgt Maj Wichian Klanprasert, at That Thong temple.

                  (Photo by Somchai Poomlard)


                  • #10
                    'Red Bull killer' found: Living the good life
                    28 Mar 2017

                    This Instagram photo dated July 2, 2015, shows Vorayudh in London with a black Porsche and customised licence plate.

                    (Social media photos via AP)

                    The Ferrari driver who allegedly slammed into a motorcycle cop, dragged him along the road and then sped away from the mangled body took just hours to find, as investigators followed a trail of brake fluid into the gated estate of one of Thailand's richest families.

                    But the prosecution of Red Bull heir Vorayudh "Boss" Yoovidhya has been delayed almost five years. When Vorayudh, 31, has been called in to face authorities, he hasn't shown up, claiming through his attorney that he's sick or out of the country on business. And while statutes of limitations run out on key charges this year, it's widely assumed he's hiding, possibly abroad, or quietly living locally, only going out in disguise.

                    He isn't.

                    Within weeks of the accident, The Associated Press has found, Vorayudh was back to enjoying his family's jet-set life, largely associated with the Red Bull brand, an energy drink company co-founded by his grandfather. He flies around the world on Red Bull jets, cheers their Formula One racing team from Red Bull's VIP seats and keeps a black Porsche Carrera in London with a custom plate: B055 RBR. Boss Red Bull Racing.

                    And he's not hard to find.

                    Last month, social media clues led AP reporters to Vorayudh in the sacred city of Luang Prabang, Laos, where he and his family enjoyed a $1,000-a-night resort, visited temples and lounged by the pool.

                    Critics say inaction in this case epitomises long-standing privilege for the wealthy class in Thailand, a politically tumultuous country that has struggled with rule of law for decades.

                    The Yoovidhya family attorney did not respond to AP's request to interview Vorayudh. Police say Vorayudh is once again on notice to show up and hear the charges.

                    He's due at the prosecutors' office this Thursday.

                    Vorayudh and his siblings grew up in a private, extended family whose fortune expanded from millions to billions. His brother is nicknamed Porsche, his sister Champagne. Vorayudh received a British education at a $40,000-a-year boarding school.

                    In rural Thailand, Pol Sgt Maj Wichean Glanprasert didn't have such opportunities, but he was ambitious. The youngest of five, he was the first to leave their coconut and palm farm for the city, the first to get a government job, to graduate from college. He paid for his parents' medical care and supported a sister through cancer. He had no children, but planned to put his brother's kids through college.

                    Their lives collided pre-dawn on Sept. 3, 2012, when Vorayudh's Ferrari roared down Sukhumvit Road, one of Bangkok's main drags. The bloody accident scene made national headlines for days.

                    The policeman's family grieved, but they figured at least there would be justice. Wichean was a police officer. Certainly the system would hold his killer responsible.

                    "At first I thought they'd follow a legal process," said his brother Pornanan.

                    Now he's not so sure.

                    "We will not let this police officer die without justice. Believe me," said Metropolitan Police Bureau chief Pol Lt Gen Kamronwit Thoopkrachang in the days after the accident.

                    As the case unfolded, the Yoovidhya family attorney said Vorayudh left the scene not to flee, but to tell his father. Vorayudh's blood alcohol levels were high because he drank once he got home to settle his nerves, said the attorney.

                    Pol Sgt Maj Wichean's family accepted a settlement, about $100,000. In turn, they promised not to press criminal charges.

                    "Blood money," says Pornanan, whose share sits in the bank.

                    Meanwhile, Vorayudh failed to show up when ordered to face criminal charges of speeding, hit-and-run, and deadly, reckless driving.

                    Police say Vorayudh disputes the reckless-driving charge, claiming the officer swerved in front of him. The speeding charge expired after a year. The more serious charge of hit-and-run, which police say carries a penalty of up to six months in jail, expires in September.

                    Complicating matters, Yoovidhya's attorney has repeatedly filed petitions claiming unfair treatment in the investigation.

                    Above: Vorayudh and his mother Daranee attended last year's Formula 1 Grand Prix in Abu Dhabi.

                    Below, the pair are seen at the British Formula 1 Grand Prix at Silverstone, England, in 2013, the year after Vorayudh's Ferrari crushed, dragged and killed Pol Sgt Maj Wichean Glanprasert.

                    Police say it's up to prosecutors to charge him. Prosecutors say extra investigation is needed, but wouldn't specify.

                    Thammasat University law professor Pokpong Srisanit said the situation is "not normal" but does appear legal.

                    Meanwhile, the Thai media figures he's laying low.

                    Last year the Bangkok Post said that after paying the settlement in 2012, Vorayudh "has been out of the country or otherwise unable to answer the criminal case against him in the years since."

                    A few weeks after the article appeared, a photo of Vorayudh was posted online. He was on the beach at a seaside resort south of Bangkok.

                    While Vorayudh's case has been on hold since 2012, his carefree lifestyle has not.

                    More than 120 social media posts show Vorayudh visiting at least nine countries since Pol Sgt Maj Wichean's death. He's cruised Monaco's harbour, snowboarded Japan's powder, and celebrated his birthday at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay in London. At the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Osaka, he posed wearing robes from Hogwarts School's darkest dorm, Slytherin House. Friends and cousins posting about him have hundreds of thousands of online followers.

                    His lifestyle - soaking in an Abu Dhabi pool, dining in Nice, France, holding a $10,000 bicycle in Bangkok - is supported by his family's billions.

                    Vorayudh's grandfather, Chaleo Yoovidhya, was known as a modest, private man who grew up in poverty, the son of a duck seller.

                    Before Vorayudh was born, Chaleo partnered his company TC Pharma with Austrian entrepreneur, Dietrich Mateschitz, investing $500,000 each to carbonate and market a caffeine-powered syrupy energy drink popular in Thailand. In 1987, Red Bull Energy Drink went international.

                    Red Bull is now sold in 170 countries. It has its own media company, race cars and jets, and sponsors concerts and extreme athletes.

                    Forbes estimates Vorayudh's father Chalerm Yoovidhya's net worth at $9.7 billion.

                    Vorayudh's legal situation is far from unique.

                    In 2010, a 16-year-old unlicensed daughter of a former military officer crashed her sedan into a van, killing nine people. The teen, from an affluent family, was given a two-year suspended sentence and had misunderstandings that postponed her community service until last year.

                    Her case, and others involving what the local press calls "Bangkok's deadly rich kids," are handled markedly different than most deadly car crashes, in which Thais are typically arrested, prosecuted and sentenced to jail.

                    Sept 3, 2012
                    : Nongnoot Saengpraphan, 31, mourns the death of her ex-husband, Pol Snr Sgt Maj Wichian Klanprasert, at Wat That Thong.
                    (Photo by Somchai Poomlard)

                    Today in his small apartment, Pol Sgt Maj Wichean's brother keeps a few photo albums of him. Pornanan says Thailand runs on a "double standard."

                    Last month on Instagram, a friend posted a group shot, guys taking a snowboarding break at Japan's majestic Annapuri ski resort.

                    "ran into little bull @bossrbr lets catch up tonite dude" says a friend.

                    "Snow snow snow," chimes in another.

                    "Wof wof," says bossrbr.



                    • #11
                      Thailand ......


                      • #12
                        Thai prosecutor again postpones indictment of Red Bull heir
                        (Reporting by Aukkarapon Niyomyat and Patpicha Tanakasempipat; Writing by Patpicha Tanakasempipat; Editing by Matthew Tostevin and Randy Fabi)
                        Thu Mar 30, 2017

                        FILE PHOTO: Policemen examine a damaged Ferrari at the home of the late Red Bull founder Chaleo Yoovidhaya in Bangkok September 3, 2012.

                        Thailand's prosecutor's office on Thursday again postponed a hit-and-run indictment against an heir to a founder of the Red Bull energy drink over a 2012 incident in which a policeman died.

                        For the eighth time in the past year, Vorayuth Yoovidhya missed a scheduled appointment to be formally charged and taken to court by Thai prosecutors.

                        This time because he was "away for business in England," a spokesman for the office told a news conference.

                        Vorayuth's lawyer declined to comment.

                        The case is being closely followed in Thailand, where there is a widespread belief that the rich and famous are treated more leniently by the legal system.

                        Prayut Bejraguna, deputy spokesman of the Office of the Attorney-General, said Vorayuth's appointment had been postponed to April 27.

                        "We are aware of the urgency to deliver justice," Prayut said. "In principle, we will certainly carry the case through before charges expire."

                        Police accuse Vorayuth of running his Ferrari over a motorcycle policeman and leaving him in the road.

                        Vorayuth initially faced four charges for the incident, but two have been dropped.

                        Vorayuth faces possible indictments for hit-and-run and for reckless driving causing death. He could be jailed for more than 10 years if found guilty of both.

                        No arrest warrant has been issued.

                        The hit-and-run charge would expire in September if there is no prosecution by then. The reckless driving charge will not expire until 2027.



                        • #13
                          the stench is indescribable .


                          • #14
                            The untouchable Red Bull heir in Thailand
                            Jonathan Head
                            5 hours ago

                            More than four years on, Vorayuth Yoovidhaya has not appeared in court
                            AFP/Getty Images

                            Among the many uncertainties hanging over Thailand as it is steered hesitantly through a delicate political transition, its people could be sure of one thing this week.

                            That Vorayuth Yoovidhaya, the grandson of the billionaire who invented the energy drink Red Bull, would once again fail to appear at a Bangkok prosecutor's office to face charges relating to the death of a police officer.

                            On 3 September 2012, that officer was struck by a Ferrari driven by Mr Vorayuth.

                            The sometimes farcical attempts by the Thai authorities to bring Mr Vorayuth to justice are now commonly cited as epitomising the untouchability of the super-rich in Thailand.

                            The facts of the incident early on the morning of 3 September are reasonably clear.

                            Police Sergeant-Major Wichian Klanprasert was riding his motorbike along Bangkok's Sukhumvit Road when he was hit by a grey Ferrari, which dragged his body more than 100m (109yds) down the road, before driving off.

                            Investigating officers followed a trail of brake fluid to a luxury home less than a kilometre away, owned by one of Thailand's wealthiest families.

                            The badly-dented Ferrari was there, but initially the police were persuaded to detain a driver employed by the family as their main suspect.

                            When they subsequently discovered the car had actually been driven by Mr Vorayuth, then 27 years old, he was tested and found to have excessive alcohol in his blood - but, he said, this was from drinking at home after the accident.

                            The badly-dented Ferrari was found in the compound of the family's home

                            The police believe from security camera videos, the distance the car travelled after the crash, and the injuries that instantly killed Sergeant-Major Wichian, that Mr Vorayuth must have been speeding, they estimate at around 170km/h (106mph) in an 80km/h zone. His lawyers have denied this.

                            It took the police six months to prepare criminal charges of speeding, reckless driving causing death, and fleeing the scene of an accident.

                            Throughout 2013, Mr Vorayuth failed to appear seven times to hear the charges, with his lawyers providing an array of justifications, from him being on business overseas to feeling unwell.

                            In September 2013 the limitation period for the speeding charge expired.

                            Global success3.jpg
                            Red Bull sponsors a Formula One team, as well as teams in other motorsports
                            AFP/Getty Images

                            But the family has shunned the limelight; before his death in March 2012 Chaleo Yoovidhya never gave a single media interview. After the accident, his grandson, Mr Vorayuth, vanished from public view.

                            But social media posts by him and his jet-setting friends suggest he has often been inside Thailand, as well as travelling around the world to motor racing competitions or beach resorts.

                            Right after the accident the police chief of Bangkok at that time, Kamronwit Thoopkrajang, promised the public that the culprit in Sergeant-Major Wichian's death would be brought to justice, or he would resign.

                            In April 2013 the attorney-general promised to indict Mr Vorayuth, only to backtrack after he was petitioned by the suspect's lawyers, who contested the fairness of the speeding charge.

                            In September 2013 the prosecutor ordered police to arrest him after his seventh no-show. Nothing happened.

                            Then, against a backdrop of growing political turmoil in Thailand, the case appeared to be forgotten.

                            Public interest in it was revived only after a horrifying road accident last year, involving another wealthy young man who drove his luxury car at high speed into another vehicle, killing two graduate students.

                            People started asking what had happened to the Red Bull heir. And a military government, which had promised to address the abuses of previous governments, felt forced to act. Or, perhaps more accurately, to be seen to be acting.

                            In March last year the Attorney-General announced that he would once again press charges against Mr Vorayuth.

                            But throughout last year, his lawyers successfully postponed repeated requests for him to report to the prosecutor's office, claiming that their client had filed a complaint of unfair treatment to the National Legislative Assembly, the military-appointed parliament.

                            Lawyers spoken to by the BBC say there is no legal justification for using this device to delay proceedings against Mr Vorayuth, but that is what is happening.

                            'On business in the UK'

                            Today the police insist they can do nothing.

                            Asked why they have not issued an arrest warrant against the accused, as requested three and a half years ago, they told the BBC that it is up to the Attorney-General's office to act.

                            The Attorney-General's office says he cannot be indicted unless he appears in person.

                            And for the latest request for him to report to the prosecutor's office to hear those charges? Mr Vorayuth, we are now told by his lawyers, is on business in the UK. The Attorney-General has once again granted a postponement, to next month.


                            Getty Images

                            The relatives of Sergeant-Major Wichian have said little about the case. As usually happens in these situations, the Yoovidhya family have paid them a large sum of money, around $100,000.

                            In return they have agreed not to press charges themselves.

                            And public interest in Thailand will probably wane, as people wearily conclude that, once again, the rich have shown that they are beyond the reach of the law, in a country ridden with corruption and abuses of power.

                            One lawyer, who was once closely connected to the case, told the BBC he had never seen another example of a suspect evading justice like this one.

                            Had it been someone else, without a powerful family behind him, he said, he would certainly have been arrested the first time he failed to report himself.

                            The most serious charge against Mr Vorayuth, of reckless driving causing death, expires in the year 2027.

                            Few people are betting that he will face any legal sanction, or indeed any meaningful restrictions on his lifestyle before that deadline frees him completely from any lingering repercussions of the events of that morning four and a half years ago.



                            • #15
                              this case typifies everything that is wrong in Thailand .


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