Thai authorities investigating why charges were dropped in Red Bull heir’s fatal crash

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Police examine a damaged Ferrari at the home of the late Red Bull founder Chaleo Yoovidhaya in Bangkok in 2012. Police say then-27-year-old Vorayuth Yoovidhaya hit a police officer with his Ferrari, then dragged the body for several meters before driving away with the officer’s motorcycle still attached. (Reuters)

 

BANGKOK — Thailand’s police said on Monday they would look into why criminal charges were dropped against the heir to the Red Bull energy drink fortune, who was accused of a 2012 hit-and-run killing of a police officer while driving a sports car.

The decision to drop the charges against Vorayuth “Boss” Yoovidhya has stirred public anger about the country’s entrenched culture of impunity for the rich and well-connected.

The charges had included speeding, hit-and-run and reckless driving causing death.

“A committee has been set up to ascertain the facts for transparency and fairness to all parties with regards to actions of the police, ensuring they were acting in accordance with the law and regulations,” the national police said in a statement.

The committee will report its findings in 15 days.

The announcement comes after the Office of the Attorney-General said it would also probe the decision.

Red Bull has sought to distance itself from Vorayuth, the grandson of the late Chaleo Yoovidhya, who created the energy drink Krating Daeng, or Red Bull. Calls have been growing to boycott its products amid anger on social media.

Vorayuth, who was 27 at the time, was accused of crashing his Ferrari into a policeman and dragging his body under the car for dozens of metres before fleeing the scene.

He missed eight court summonses over the case before authorities issued an arrest warrant five years after the incident. He later disappeared, apparently abroad, according to some social media posts.

Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha’s office said on Sunday that news of the dropped case made him “uncomfortable” and stressed that he had never granted personal favors.



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Saurabh Shukla

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