Interpol ‘red notice’ for Thai Red Bull heir in fatal hit-and-run

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.

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

The charges against Vorayuth, who is the grandson of Red Bull’s co-founder, had initially been dropped in July – sparking public outrage from Thais who saw it as an example of the impunity enjoyed by the country’s elite.

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

National Police deputy spokesman Colonel Kissana Pattanacharoen confirmed on Sunday that a red notice – Interpol’s most urgent alert – had been 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 news agency.

“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 Monday at 12 noon (04:00 GMT).

Fugitive

The fugitive heir fled Thailand in 2017 on a private jet.

After charges against him were dropped in July, a probe conducted by the office of Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha concluded 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 Prayuth’s resignation.

Assistant Commissioner of the Royal Thai Police Jaruwat Vaisaya, left, speaks to the media with deputy spokesman Krissana Pattanacharoen during a press conference about reopening the case, at the Royal Thai Police headquarters in Bangkok, September 2020 [File: Narong Sangank/EPA]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, boasting a fortune estimated at $20.2bn according to Forbes.

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