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Red Bull heir stays mum on Thai fatal hit-and-run

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Vorayuth “Boss” Yoovidhya, whose grandfather co-founded energy drink company Red Bull, walked to get in a car as he left a house in London today. Vorayuth earlier refused to answer questions about whether he will return to Thailand this month to meet with prosecutors over an alleged hit-and-run that killed a police officer almost five years ago.

LONDON >> An heir to the Red Bull energy drink fortune has refused to answer questions about whether he will return to Thailand this month to meet with prosecutors over an alleged hit-and-run that killed a police officer almost five years ago.

Vorayuth “Boss” Yoovidhya was silent today as The Associated Press asked about his plans. Standing outside a residence in an exclusive London neighborhood, he didn’t say why he was in Britain or whether he would meet with prosecutors in Thailand April 27.

Vorayuth, who is in his early 30s, fled the scene of the 2012 accident in his Ferrari after allegedly hitting the police officer, who was on motorcycle patrol.

He has been ordered to face charges of hit-and-run and reckless driving in the officer’s death. Police say Vorayuth disputes the reckless driving allegation, claiming the motorcycle officer swerved in front of him.

He has not shown up for earlier meetings with prosecutors, but no arrest warrant has been issued.

An AP inquiry last week revealed that Vorayuth has been living a jet-set lifestyle supported by his family’s billions from the caffeine-powered energy drink brand co-founded by his grandfather.

He has attended Formula One races in Red Bull VIP seats, gone snowboarding in Japan and been cruising in Venice, though it had been widely assumed that he was lying low.

Many in Thailand and beyond reacted with anger to the report, which was based in part on social media postings from friends and family that also helped the AP determine where Vorayuth has been living while in London.

“In the pyramid of privilege, the boss stays on top,” the Bangkok Post said in an opinion piece. “In the food chain of injustice, the boss reminds us again, and again and again, who the boss is.”

Vorayuth’s attorneys have not responded to repeated calls or to a faxed series of questions. They have contended that he has been treated unfairly.

Since last week’s AP story ran, Vorayuth’s Facebook page was updated with a photo of him with a Red Bull race car and information that he was attending art school.

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