Hit-and-run case: Red Bull heir fails to turn up again

A file photo showing Mr Worayuth and his mother, Daranee, paying their last respects to Sergeant Wichian Klinprasert, who Mr Worayuth allegedly hit with his Ferrari in 2012.
A file photo showing Mr Worayuth and his mother, Daranee, paying their last respects to Sergeant Wichian Klinprasert, who Mr Worayuth allegedly hit with his Ferrari in 2012.PHOTO: THE NATION/ ASIA NEWS NETWORK

BANGKOK • The heir to the Red Bull billions yesterday again snubbed Thailand's prosecutors over a five-year-old hit-and-run incident that killed a policeman, the latest delay to a case that has become a byword for impunity enjoyed by the country's rich.

Mr Worayuth Yoovidhya, whose nickname is "Boss", was 27 when he allegedly smashed his Ferrari into a police officer in 2012 and sped away, dragging the body in downtown Bangkok for about 100m.

A trail of debris from the accident led officers to the mansion of his super-rich clan, who own half of the Red Bull energy drink empire.

The local police station, which covers Thong Lor, Bangkok's most exclusive district, initially accepted the family's claim that the housekeeper was driving the car. But the story fell apart and Mr Worayuth was eventually hit with a string of charges.

He has repeatedly failed to show up for formal indictment and has never been re-arrested, resulting in some of the charges expiring and delaying legal action.

The allegations have not deterred him from appearing in Bangkok's high-society party circuit and he continues to freely dip in and out of the country.

Yesterday, a spokesman for Thailand's Attorney-General said Mr Worayuth's lawyer had asked to postpone the latest summons, claiming his client was on a business trip in Britain. "We cannot indict him because the suspect is not present," said spokesman Prayut Bejiraguna, adding that the appointment was rescheduled for April 27.

As with many high-profile criminal cases involving Bangkok's elite, public anger over the lack of progress tends to bubble up periodically, putting brief pressure on police before slipping off the radar.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 31, 2017, with the headline 'Hit-and-run case: Red Bull heir fails to turn up again'. Print Edition | Subscribe