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Dublin: 10°C Tuesday 19 January 2021

Red Bull heir in suspected hit and run

Vorayuth Yoovidhya, grandson of energy drink creator, is released on bail after his Ferrari struck and killed a policeman.

Vorayuth Yoovidhya is taken away by a plain-clothes police officer.
Vorayuth Yoovidhya is taken away by a plain-clothes police officer.
Image: (AP Photo)

THE GRANDSON OF the creator of the Red Bull energy drink has been arrested following a fatal hit and run in Thailand.

Police said he was driving a Ferrari that struck a police officer, dragging the officer’s dead body down a Bangkok street.

Vorayuth Yoovidhya, 27, was taken by police for questioning after tracing oil streaks for several blocks to his family’s gated estate in a wealthy neighbourhood of the Thai capital.

He is facing charges of causing death by reckless driving and escaping arrest but was released on 500,000 baht (€12,642) bail.

Vorayuth admitted he drove the sports car but said the police officer’s motorcycle abruptly cut in front of his vehicle.

Bangkok’s top police official, Lieutenant General Comronwit Toopgrajank, said he took charge of the investigation after the local police superintendent tried to cover up the crime by turning in a bogus suspect.

He said he personally led a team of officers to search the compound of late Red Bull founder Chaleo Yoovidhya, one of Thailand’s wealthiest men before he passed away this year and confiscated a Ferrari with a badly damaged front bumper and broken windshield.

The victim, Sargent Major Wichean Glanprasert, 47, was killed while on motorcycle patrol before dawn. Thai media reported that the car dragged the officer and his motorcycle for several dozen feet as it sped through the residential neighbourhood.

The police superintendent who attempted to subvert the investigation has been suspended.

“A policeman is dead. I can’t let this stand. If I let this case get away, I’d rather quit,” Toopgrajank told reporters adding “I don’t care how powerful they are. If I can’t get the actual man in this case, I will resign”.

Vorayuth did not speak to the media but the family lawyer said the family will take responsibility for the damages.

The Yoovidhya family was ranked the fourth richest in Thailand this year by Forbes magazine with a net worth of $5.4 billion.

Red Bull creator, Chaleo Yoovidhya, was in his mid 80s when he died in March.

His heirs were left a wide range of businesses including shares in the globally popular energy drink brand, hospitals and real estate.

The family also co-owns the sole authorised importer of Ferrari cars in Thailand.

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About the author:

Associated Press

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