Red Bull Heir Untouchable?

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Continuing from our earlier report ‘Red Bull Heir on the Run: The Bungled Case‘.

  • British-educated Vorayuth nicknamed “Boss”, has a custom ‘B055 RBR’ plate on his London Porsche Carrera
  • Travels the world in private jets, watches F1 from VIP seats, dines in celebrity restaurants, parties in exclusive clubs, holidays in luxury resorts
  • Failed to show up for appearances with authorities 8 times
  • Passport revoked for the wanted man, arrest warrant issued for the international fugitive
AP

Vorayuth Yoovidhya and his siblings grew up in a private, extended family whose fortune as half-owner of the Red Bull empire is estimated at more than US$20 billion.

He is nicknamed “Boss”, his “Porsche” and his sister “Champagne”. The 31-year-old was educated at a US$40,000-a-year British boarding school.

His privileged lifestyle, largely associated with the Red Bull brand, includes globetrotting on Red Bull jets, cheering their Formula One racing team from Red Bull’s VIP seats, and zipping around London in a black Porsche Carrera with a custom ‘B055 RBR’ plate.

In stark contrast, the policeman Vorayuth killed in a hit-and-run grew up in a coconut and palm farm. The youngest of five, he was the first to leave his rural home for the city, the first to graduate from college, the first to land a government job. He paid for his parents’ medical bills, supported a sister through cancer, and intended to put his brother’s children through tertiary education.

Sergeant Major Wichean Glanprasert’s family grieved, but they reckoned at least there would be justice. After all, Wichean was a police officer. Surely the system would hold his killer responsible.

Now they’re not so sure.

Who can blame them when Vorayudh failed to turn up for scheduled appearances with the authorities a staggering eight times!

Within weeks of the fatal accident, Vorayuth was back to living it up.

That the authorities say they can’t find him is a joke. He wasn’t in plain sight but he wasn’t hiding either. 

Soon after he was reported to be “out of the country and unable to answer the criminal case against him”, a photo of Vorayuth was posted online. He was on the beach at a seaside resort south of Bangkok.

Three months later, he was seen with his cousins and friends at the Red Bull Singha Race of Champions, staged for the first time in his hometown Bangkok.

In addition, more than 100 social media posts show him visiting at least nine countries. He was at Osaka’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter posing in robes from Hogwarts School’s darkest dorm, Slytherin House. He celebrated his birthday at the Gordon Ramsay Restaurant in London.

On 30 June 2013, he was photographed accompanying his mother, Daranee, at the British Formula 1 Grand Prix in Silverstone, England.

XPB Images

 

Vorayuth (2nd from left) with friends in Thailand

Party boy’s clubbing night out

Vorayuth (centre, in skull T-shirt) at Makkasan

Valentine’s Day 2015 was celebrated with a ski trip to Japan. In July, he surfaced in London. A month later, he appeared in a group photo dressed in traditional Japanese attire while on another trip to Japan.

Vorayuth (2nd from left, in red jacket) skiing in Japan

Vorayuth (3rd from left) in traditional Japanese attire

Whilst his own social media accounts are mostly private, he has been tagged @bossrbr more than 60 times, of which he often replied with emojis or comments.

Vorayuth (back, right) frolicking in London with friends

On Nov 26 last year, he was seen again accompanying his mother at another Formula 1 Grand Prix race, this time in Abu Dhabi.

XPB Images

At Abu Dhabi F1 with mum

As recent as February 2017, social media clues led to the Yoovidhya family holidaying in Luang Prabang, Laos, where they stayed at a $1,000-a-night resort, lounged by the pool, dined in top-notch restaurants and visited temples.

If the media’s sleuthing can trace Vorayuth’s whereabouts, the police with all their resources could surely have done the same, if not more.

While he freely pops in and out of Thailand and repeatedly fails to show up for formal indictment, delaying legal action, the speeding charge has already expired. The hit-and-run charge, with a maximum six-month jail sentence, will expire in September. The reckless driving causing death charge has another 10 years to expiry.

When he was a no-show in March, his lawyer claimed he was on a business trip in Britain. His appearance was rescheduled yet again for Apr 27.

When the date came and went with no sign of Vorayuth, that eighth non-appearance was the last straw for the authorities. They began the process of requesting an arrest warrant.

Days before the arrest warrant was issued, Vorayuth skipped the country. Immigration officers said he left for Singapore on his private jet on Apr 25. Singapore authorities said he left the island two days later, leaving his private jet behind.

According to Thailand’s Interpol director, police Maj Gen Apichart Suribunya, British authorities said the fugitive was not in London.

Today. Vorayuth’s passport has been revoked and Apichart has requested Interpol to issue a Blue Notice

to advise officials in 190 countries that Vorayuth is wanted.

After years of ducking arrest, the end of Vorayuth’s carefree days may be over soon.

Or perhaps not.

His case, and others involving what the Thai press calls “Bangkok’s deadly rich kids” are handled markedly different from most deadly car crashes where common folks are typically arrested, prosecuted and sentenced to jail.

After years of dodging prosecution, Vorayuth has become a poster child for the impunity enjoyed by the upper crust in a comedy of unequal justice.

And as with many high-profile criminal cases involving Bangkok’s elite, public outrage over the lack of progress tends to slip back off the radar with the passing of time.

Time, too, will tell if Vorayuth of the mighty Yoovidhya family – who wield so much wealth and clout – is truly “untouchable”.