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Thai police seek arrest of Red Bull heir

BBC News logo BBC News 28/04/2017

Thai police have asked a court to issue an arrest warrant for Red Bull heir Vorayuth Yoovidhaya, in a move critics say is long overdue.

Vorayuth Yoovidhya grandson of the creator of Red Bull energy drink alleged hit-and-run is arrested at Thong Lor police station in Bangkok, Thailand, 3 September 2012: Mr Yoovidhaya was initially arrested after the incident but has since failed to turn up to face charges © EPA Mr Yoovidhaya was initially arrested after the incident but has since failed to turn up to face charges

Mr Yoovidhaya is accused of knocking down and killing a policeman while speeding in Bangkok in 2012.

He has repeatedly failed to meet police to face charges, which include reckless driving causing death.

The closely-watched case has fuelled criticism that Thailand's elite enjoy special treatment by authorities.

Mr Yoovidhaya is the grandson of Chaleo Yoovidhaya, who co-founded the Red Bull empire with Austrian Dietrich Mateschitz.

Many have questioned why the police have not attempted to arrest Mr Yoovidhaya earlier to face charges.

Policemen examine a damaged Ferrari at the home of the late Red Bull founder Chaleo Yoovidhaya in Bangkok, Thailand 3 September 2012.: Mr Yoovidhaya's badly-dented Ferrari was found in the compound of his family's home in 2012 © Reuters Mr Yoovidhaya's badly-dented Ferrari was found in the compound of his family's home in 2012

Mr Yoovidhaya was initially arrested shortly after the incident and later let go.

He was subsequently summoned repeatedly to face charges, but each time his lawyers said he was unable to do so, citing overseas work commitments and illness.

A charge for speeding has since expired.

Prosecutors asked police to request the arrest warrant after he failed to meet another deadline on Thursday. The court has not given any indication when a decision would be made.

If found guilty of reckless driving causing death, a charge which expires in 2027, he could possibly be jailed for up to 10 years.

The office of the attorney-general said it would explore applying for an extradition of Mr Yoovidhaya, who it said was recently seen in London, if an arrest warrant was issued.

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