Interpol issues most urgent 'red notice' for Thai Red Bull heir over hit-and-run

The charges against Vorayuth "Boss" Yoovidhya had been dropped in July 2020.
The charges against Vorayuth "Boss" Yoovidhya had been dropped in July 2020.PHOTOS: AFP

BANGKOK (AFP) - Interpol has issued a "red notice" to arrest the fugitive Thai heir to the Red Bull billions for his role in a fatal hit-and-run, police said on Sunday (Oct 4).

The move by the international police organisation is the latest in the years-long saga surrounding Vorayuth "Boss" Yoovidhya who crashed his Ferrari in 2012, killing a police officer.

The charges against Vorayuth, who is the grandson of Red Bull's co-founder, were dropped in July - sparking public outrage from Thais who saw it as an example of impunity enjoyed by the kingdom's elite.

It spurred probes by various government agencies, including the Attorney-General's Office, which last month announced fresh charges against Vorayuth of reckless driving causing death and cocaine use.

National Police spokesman Colonel Krissana Pattanacharoen confirmed on Sunday that a red notice - Interpol's most urgent alert - was issued earlier this week.

"After we received the confirmation, we then passed our request to 194 member countries asking for assistance from them," he told AFP.

"We have to do whatever it takes to... ultimately bring him back to the country because it is a serious crime."

A red notice for Vorayuth had not been published on the Interpol website as of Sunday afternoon.

The fugitive heir fled the country back in 2017 on a private jet.

 
 
 

After charges against him were dropped in July, a probe conducted by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha's office concluded that the entire investigation had been "compromised".

The public outcry over Vorayuth came at a particularly tense period for the government, coinciding with near-daily protests across Thailand led by pro-democracy student leaders calling for Mr Prayut's resignation.

Protesters have carried cardboard cut-outs of Red Bull's logo to symbolise their anger at the military-aligned government, which enjoys close alliances with the kingdom's billionaire families.

The clan of Red Bull co-founder Chaleo Yoovidhya is Thailand's second richest family, boasting a fortune estimated at US$20.2 billion (S$27.6 billion) according to Forbes.