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Thursday 17 August 2017

Red Bull heir facing arrest warrant over policeman's Bangkok 'hit-and-run' death

Director-general of South Bangkok Prosecutor's Office Suthi Kittisupaporn talks to reporters (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
Director-general of South Bangkok Prosecutor's Office Suthi Kittisupaporn talks to reporters (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

Thai prosecutors are to ask police to issue an arrest warrant for an heir to the Red Bull fortune if he does not turn up to face charges over an alleged hit-and-run that killed a police officer almost five years ago, officials said.

Vorayuth "Boss" Yoovidhya has been a no-show for meetings with prosecutors on several occasions, complaining through his lawyer of unfair treatment or citing duties abroad.

A recent Associated Press report revealed that he has been living lavishly, travelling to Formula One races, snowboarding in Japan and cruising in Venice.

On Thursday, prosecutors rejected his latest request for a delay and said he must turn up by 4pm.

"The suspect must meet prosecutors as scheduled. If he does not, it would mean he has the intention of delaying and evading the case and we will proceed with requesting an arrest warrant from the court," Somnuek Siangkong, spokesman for the office of the Attorney General, said at a news conference.

If he fails to attend, prosecutors said they will ask for the warrant to be issued on Friday morning.

Vorayuth is accused of fleeing the scene of a 2012 crash in his Ferrari after allegedly hitting a police officer on motorcycle patrol in the capital, Bangkok.

He has failed to turn up when ordered to face criminal charges of speeding, hit-and-run, and deadly, reckless driving.

Police said Vorayuth disputes the reckless driving charge, claiming the officer swerved in front of him.

The speeding charge expired after a year. The more serious charge of hit-and-run, which police say carries a penalty of up to six months in jail, expires on September 3.

The reckless driving charge, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in jail, expires in 10 years if left unchallenged.

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