4 out of 5 charges against Thailand’s Red Bull Heir expire, 1 remains

Thailand’s “Red Bull Heir” who killed a police officer in a hit-and-run in 2012 is still wanted 10 years later. Yesterday, the fourth out of the five original charges filed against Vorayuth “Boss” Yoovidya expired. However, the heir is still wanted under one valid charge: “reckless driving causing death.”

“Boss” – the grandson of billionaire Red Bull co-founder Chaleo Yoovidhya – became a fugitive after speeding through the Thong Lor area of Bangkok in his Ferrari, running over police officer Wichian Klanprasert and dragging his body through the road, resulting in his death.

Boss still hasn’t faced justice for the crime which occurred 10 years ago. As time goes on, his arrest warrants are expiring one by one.

Yesterday, Deputy Spokesperson of the Office of the Attorney-General Prayuth Phetchkhun revealed that the criminal charge against Boss for “cocaine use” had expired earlier than expected due to revisions made to Thailand’s Narcotics Act of 1979. The drug abuse charge was supposed to expire on September 3 this year.

According to Section 58 of the Narcotics Act of 1979, anyone who uses cocaine can be imprisoned for six months to three years. The new revision states that cocaine users can be imprisoned for no longer than one year.

The change to the law halved the arrest warrant’s limitation from 10 years to five years, causing’s Boss’s charge for “cocaine use” to automatically expire. The charges of “driving too fast” and “driving recklessly causing damage to property of others” expired back in 2013. The charge of “driving away from an accident without providing assistance” expired in 2017.

At present, “reckless driving causing death” is the only charge remaining against Boss. Under Section 291 of Thailand’s Criminal Code, reckless driving causing death is punishable by up to 10 years imprisonment. The charge will expire on September 3, 2027.

So, Thailand has just more than five years to track down and arrest the Red Bull Heir if he is to be held accountable for the death of police officer Wichian Klanprasert.

In May this year, Thailand’s public prosecution committee unanimously agreed to kick ex-general attorney Nate Natsuk – the previous prosecutor in the case – out of the civil service for choosing not to indict the Red Bull Heir a long time ago.

The Red Bull Heir’s whereabouts remain unknown.


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Leah is a translator and news writer for the Thaiger. Leah studied East Asian Religions and Thai Studies at the University of Leeds and Chiang Mai University. Leah covers crime, politics, environment, human rights, entertainment, travel and culture in Thailand and southeast Asia.

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