Several charges against Vorayuth Yoovidhya, the heir to the Red Bull fortune, will reach the statute of limitations this year as Vorayuth avoids court appearances by claiming to be sick or out of the country on business via his attorneys. Those charges include hitting a motorcycle officer in his Ferrari, then dragging the officer’s body along the road and finally driving off.
The Associated Press reports that Vorayuth isn’t in hiding. It’s just that as a member of one of the wealthiest families in Thailand, he is essentially free to do whatever he likes. Vorayuth continues to fly around the world in his family jet, and openly vacations as $1,000 a night hotels with many guests near the country’s capital, Bangkok. As noted by the Associated Press, he has also been circulating in Paris, Monaco, Japan, and London, which is apparent by images posted by his friends on social media.
Vorayuth struck Sgt. Maj. Wichean Glanprasert on Sept. 3, 2012, on one of Bangkok’s main streets. According to the New York Post, Vorayuth was taken in for questioning after police followed a trail of leaking oil from the scene to his home. He admitted to driving the car that struck the officer, but claimed the man cut him off on his motorcycle. He was charged with causing death by reckless driving and escaping an arrest by police, but was subsequently released on bail for the equivalent of $15,900. The Yoovidhaya family supposedly has a net worth of $5.4 billion. In addition to Red Bull, they own several other companies, including co-owning the only importer authorized to bring Ferraris into Thailand.
Lt. Gen. Comronwit Toopgrajank, Thailand’s top police official, threatened to resign in 2012 if Vorayuth was not brought in to face the charges against him. He claims a low-ranking officer attempted to help cover up the crime and attribute it to someone else. That officer has been suspended.
“A policeman is dead. I can’t let this stand. If I let this case get away, I’d rather quit,” Comronwit told reporters. “I don’t care how powerful they are. If I can’t get the actual man in this case, I will resign.”
Five years later, and despite evidence that Vorayuth was well over the legal alcohol limit while driving that night, he remains free to enjoy his money.