The heir to the Red Bull energy drink empire was under the influence of drugs and alcohol whilst driving a Ferrari at 177 kilometres per hour. Some witnesses were reportedly paid off. Several years after the incident, all charges are dropped. Young pro-democracy Thais criticise injustice.
Bangkok (AsiaNews) – Vorayuth Yoovidhya, heir to Red Bull energy drink empire, became involved in a major legal affair after he killed a policeman in 2012 whilst driving his Ferrari through the night streets of the Thai capital. A few weeks ago, charges against him were dropped.
On the night of 3 September 2012, Yoovidhya was driving under the influence of cocaine when his car hit police officer Wichian Klanprasert, who was dragged for dozens of metres. A policeman estimated that the Ferrari was travelling at a speed of 177 kilometres per hour based on the impact of the hit-and-run on the victim's body.
Vorayuth was charged in 2017 with reckless driving causing death, failing to help a crash victim, speeding, and trying to escape. In fact, after the charges were laid, he fled, probably to London.
In the intervening time, the accused reportedly gave hundreds of thousands of dollars to the victim's brother.
Two late witnesses also testified that the victim, who was riding a motorcycle, made an unexpected move, and that the Ferrari was perhaps moving at 80 kilometres per hour. This lessens Vorayuth's blame. The latter never showed up for hearings or interrogations.
On Tuesday, Deputy Attorney General Nate Naksuk confirmed the decision not to arraign Vorayuth. But this has not ended the affair as the Red Bull label is now caught up in a cause célèbre about justice.
Over the past few days in fact, its logo has appeared in protests by young people calling for democracy and justice.