Thai court issues arrest warrant for Red Bull heir

Indo Asian News Service

Bangkok, April 28 (IANS) A Thai court has issued an arrest warrant for Red Bull heir Vorayuth Yoovidhaya over a deadly 2012 hit-and-run, the police said on Friday.

Vorayuth is accused of knocking down and killing a policeman while speeding in Bangkok in 2012, BBC reported.

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 the authorities.

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

He was first arrested shortly after the incident and later let go.

Vorayuth 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.

"A court in Bangkok has approved the request and we've entered the arrest warrant into the system, meaning that police all over the country will be searching for him," Police Col. Kajohnpong Jitparkpoom, the superintendent of Thong Lor police district, told BBC.

"But if he is found to be overseas, then the prosecutors will have to initiate the procedure to have him extradited, if possible."

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