It’s a classic story of the jet-setting rich kid. Only it’s not nearly as cool because this jet-setting rich kid allegedly killed a policeman in Thailand in 2012 after he hit the officer, dragging his motorcycle down a Bangkok street with his Ferrari and then fleeing the scene, leaving the officer to die. And now Interpol has issued a “Red Alert” for his arrest.
Thirty-two-year-old Vorayuth Yoovidhya is the grandson of Chaleo Yoovidhya, a Thai businessman who co-founded the Red Bull energy drink with Austrian Dietrich Mateschitz. The drink has subsequently come to represent the action sports lifestyle.
The younger Yoovidhya and his siblings have reportedly enjoyed a privileged upbringing.
That’s why the case has caused such strife in Thailand. It’s become symbolic of the perception that the wealthy live above the law in the southeast Asian nation. The officer who Yoovidhya allegedly killed, Wichean Glanprasert, came from a poor, rural farming community and was paying for the health insurance and expenses of his family. For five years, Yoovidhya has been on the run, avoiding court appearances through his lawyers (or simply failing to appear) while traveling the world attending Formula One races and soccer matches. And now several of the charges have reached the statute of limitations.
Yoovidhya was originally arrested for the crime in 2012 and apparently paid the family of the officer a $100,000 settlement but has failed to appear for any of his court appearances. On Monday, Thai police issued a “red alert” through Interpol, asking participating nations to apprehend Yoovidhya. The statute on the speeding charge is already up while the ‘fleeing the scene’ charge expires September 3. There is reportedly still 10 years remaining on the fatal reckless driving charge. At least 190 countries are part of Interpol including the United States.