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Thailand plans to revoke passport of fugitive Red Bull heir

Associated Press logo Associated Press 4/05/2017

BANGKOK — Thai authorities said Thursday they will revoke the passport of a fugitive heir to the Red Bull energy drink fortune who is wanted on deadly hit-and-run charges.

Vorayuth "Boss" Yoovidhya flew to Singapore two days before he was due to appear before prosecutors last month, but left two days later. Authorities say his whereabouts are unknown.

The Associated Press tracked him down in London earlier this year — before an arrest warrant was issued — and he refused to answer questions.

But he is not in London now, said Thailand's Interpol director, police Maj. Gen. Apichart Suribunya, who checked with authorities there. Apichart said Thailand will begin the process on Friday of having Interpol issue a Blue Notice advising officials in 190 countries that Vorayuth is wanted.

An arrest warrant was issued a week ago, almost five years after Vorayuth allegedly left a motorcycle police officer dead after crashing into him with his Ferrari at high speed. His family is half-owners of the Red Bull energy drink company which has brought them an estimated wealth of more than $20 billion.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Busadee Santipitak said Thursday the ministry received a request from the Thonglor police station, where the deceased officer worked and which investigated the accident, to revoke Vorayuth's passport. She didn't specify how long it would take.

Earlier this year AP watched Vorayuth, 32, and his family enjoying a $1,000-a-night vacation in Laos, and reported on more than 120 social media postings of him traveling in luxury through more than nine countries since the accident, snowboarding in Japan, attending Grand Prix races with team Red Bull and visiting beach resorts.

All that time he'd been repeatedly telling prosecutors, through his attorney, that he was sick or out of the country on business when called in to face charges. His attorney and Red Bull have not responded to requests for comment.

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This story has been corrected to say that Thailand will apply for an Interpol notice on Friday but it won't be issued immediately.

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