Prosecutors to indict Red Bull heir on cocaine, reckless driving charges

19-Sep-2020 Intellasia | BangkokPost | 6:02 AM Print This Post

Prosecutors have decided to indict Red Bull scion Vorayuth “Boss” Yoovidhya on two counts, cocaine use and reckless driving causing death, stemming from his fatal hit-and-run case in Bangkok back in 2012.

A working group at the Office of the Attorney-General (OAG) on Friday announced the prosecutors’ decision.

Itthiphon Kaewthip, deputy director-general of the Department of Criminal Ligitation, said the working group, headed by deputy attorney-general Somsak Tiyavanich, had made its recommendations to the attorney-general, and they were accepted.

Although the charge of reckless driving causing death against Vorayuth was earlier dropped, the re-investigation of the case found that the suspect had taken cocaine. No legal action had been taken against him previously on this charge.

Earlier a deputy attorney-general and an acting police chief decided not to arraign him on the charge of reckless driving causing death.

Ittiporn said there was also fresh evidence and key witnesses that could prove the reckless driving charge to the court.

Sathon Wicharnwannarak, a physics lecturer at Chulalongkorn University, had calculated the speed of the Ferrari at the time of the crash at 110-145 kilometres per hour and public transport expert Samart Ratchapolsitte calculated the speed at 160-190kph.

This was evidence that Vorayuth was driving his car at 110kph or more.

The two witnesses were not in the previous investigation report and this was considered new evidence, Itthiporn said.

The working group agreed unanimously to recommend indictment on two countsreckless driving causing death and cocaine use, he said.

The statute of limitations on the reckless driving causing death charge is 15 years and will expire on September 3, 2027, and on the cocaine use charge it is 10 years, and will expire on September 3, 2022.

OAG spokesman Prayut Petcharakhun said the prosecutors’ decision to arraign the suspect was not reversing a decision made by Nate Naksuk, deputy attorney-general, who decided not to prosecute Vorayuth.

Nate’s decision was lawful as he made the decision based on evidence in the investigation report at the time, the OAG spokesman said.

The decision by the working group was based on fresh evidence, particularly the speed, he said.

“The OAG will ask police investigators to bring Vorayuth in for arraignment. If evidence shows that Vorayuth is not in Thailand, or he stays abroad, there must be clear details about this,” the OAG spokesman said.

“Police must inform the prosecutors so they can seek his extradition, as well as coordinate with Interpol to arrest him.

“The previous arrest warrant cannot be used. The investigators must resubmit a request to the prosecution,” Prayut said.

“The latest information, last year, showed a person who looked like Vorayuth was spotted in Montreal, Canada.

“Thai authorities contacted Canadian police,but were told there was no travel record of Vorayuth entering there,” he said.

Vorayuth, 35, also known as Boss, drove the Ferrari that killed Pol Snr Sgt Maj Wichian Klanprasert, 47, in the early morning of September 3, 2012.

He crashed into the rear of the police motorcycle on Sukhumvit Road. He then fled the scene to his home nearby.

He delayed hearing charges seven times. It was not until April 27, 2017, that prosecutors finally charged him with reckless driving causing death and failing to help a crash victim.

He fled on a private plane two days before he was due to face the charges.

Vorayuth is the son of Chalerm Yoovidhya, whose family co-owns the energy drink megabrand Red Bull and ranks second on Thailand’s richest list, with a net worth estimated at $20 billion (about 617 billion baht).


Category: Thailand

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