Thai police to revive Red Bull heir hit-and-run case

By AFP   March 30, 2016 | 11:15 pm PT
Thai authorities say they are still pursuing a legal case against the heir to the Red Bull fortune over a deadly hit-and-run four years ago, as public frustration grows about impunity for the elite. 

Worayuth Yoovidhya, whose nickname is "Boss", is accused of crashing his silver Ferrari into a police officer on a motorcycle in 2012, dragging the body along a main road in Bangkok for about 100 metres as he sped away.

The scion, whose family is among Thailand's richest after founding the energy drink empire, was charged with several offences but never appeared in court after travelling to Singapore. 

He has since been seen regularly in Thailand but has not been rearrested and is yet to face a court. 

After years of quiet resignation, public interest in the case was revived earlier this month when the son of a wealthy businessman slammed his Mercedes Benz into another car allegedly while speeding, killing two students in the second vehicle.

The Mercedes driver was hospitalised after the accident and later charged with reckless driving causing death and property damage.

Responding to a mounting outcry, Bangkok's city police chief sought to show the force is bent on bringing the Red Bull princeling to court.

"We do not know where he is but we will find him for sure," Sanit Mahathavorn told AFP on Tuesday.

Sanit said he would also probe the police officers responsible for the stalled investigation.

While the speeding charge against Worayuth has expired during the years of inaction, he still faces up to ten years in prison for reckless driving that resulted in death, according to local media. 

The deputy spokesman for the country's attorney general told AFP the case was "under urgent consideration". 

Critics have long complained that the justice system  protects the political and financial elite.

"Rich and influential people do not go to jail. Those who go to jail are only poor ones," an online commentator wrote Tuesday on Pantip, a popular Thai forum. 

Another infamous car crash in 2010 saw a teenage girl, from a family with royal connections, escape jail time despite killing nine people when she collided with a van while driving under the legal age.

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