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Prosecutors say it’s police’s duty to find wanted Red Bull heir

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PHOTO: Chiang Rai Times

Prosecutors have reminded Thailand’s constabulary that it’s the their responsibility to speed up finding and arresting Red Bull heir Vorayuth “Boss” Yoovidhya, who is wanted in a high-profile 2012 hit-and-run case, before the case expires. He fled to an unknown destination on a private plane 2 days before he was due to face charges. There had been a series of delays and miss-steps by Thai police, either by design or incompetence, leading up to Vorauth’s disappearance. Vorayuth managed to delay court hearings 7 times.

A spokesman for the Office of the Attorney-General says they cannot extradite the suspect until police determine which country he’s living in.

35 year old Vorayuth, who has been spotted at sporting events and elsewhere abroad, is accused of being behind the wheel when his Ferrari hit and killed a motorcycle policeman on Bangkok’s Sukhumvit Road on September 3, 2012. Police have 7 years left to find Vorayuth before the statute of limitations for the most serious charge, reckless driving causing death, expires. A speeding charge was dropped when the 1 year statute of limitations expired in 2013, and a second charge, failing to stop and help a crash victim, expired in 2017.

“Don’t forget that the extradition is possible only while the statute of limitations for this charge still is valid. And it’s the police’s responsibility to first locate him.”

When Vorayuth’s country of residence is discovered, the OAG will find out if that country has a criminal extradition pact with Thailand. If not, a diplomatic approach will be adopted instead, according to the spokesman.

Previously, an investigation by the National Anti-Corruption Commission found that there had been an effort to exempt Vorayuth from prosecution on charges of drug abuse and speeding, by officers at Bangkok’s Thong Lor police station.

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

in 2018, the Interpol “Red Notice,” (a worldwide request to find and arrest an individual pending extradition) for Vorayuth disappeared from the Interpol website. It was unclear when the notice went missing and why, but there was immediate speculation that powerful interests had intervened on Vorayuth’s behalf.

Meanwhile, the media have been able to track him down, and photograph him, since he’s been on the run, achieving something an entire police force has been unable to recreate.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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Jack Burton is an American writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. A native of the state of Georgia, he attended the The University of Georgia's Henry Grady School of Journalism, which hands out journalism's prestigious Peabody Awards. His works have appeared in The China Post, The South China Morning Post, The International Herald Tribune and many magazines throughout Asia and the world. He is fluent in Mandarin and has appeared on television and radio for decades in Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

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