Sun, May 07, 2017 - Page 4 News List

Thailand revokes passport of fugitive scion of Red Bull cofounding family


Thailand has canceled the passport of a fugitive heir to the Red Bull energy drink fortune who is wanted on deadly hit-and-run charges, a Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs official said.

Vorayuth “Boss” Yoovidhya will no longer be able to enter other countries on that passport and his immigration status is invalid in whatever country he is currently visiting, making him subject to penalties under that country’s laws, ministry spokeswoman Busadee Santipitak said on Friday.

Vorayuth last month fled Thailand before a warrant for his arrest was issued. He flew to Singapore two days before he was due to appear before prosecutors in one of several airplanes owned by his family’s companies, but left two days later. His current whereabouts are unknown.

The warrant was issued almost five years after Vorayuth allegedly left a motorcycle police officer dead after crashing into him with his Ferrari at high speed.

Royal Thai Police Major General Apichart Suribunya earlier this week said that Thailand on Friday would begin the process of having the International Criminal Police Organization issue a blue notice advising officials in 190 countries that Vorayuth is wanted.

His family is half-owner of the Red Bull energy drink company, which has brought them an estimated wealth of more than US$20 billion.

Earlier this year, the Associated Press watched Vorayuth, 32, and his family enjoying a US$1,000 per night vacation in Laos, and reported on more than 120 social media postings of him traveling in luxury through more than nine countries since the accident, snowboarding in Japan, attending Grand Prix races with team Red Bull and visiting beach resorts.

During that time he had been repeatedly telling prosecutors, through his attorney, that he was sick or out of the country on business when called in to face charges.

His attorney and Red Bull have not responded to requests for comment.

Since the AP report, friends and family who had been posting his photographs on social media over the years have stopped. Although his Facebook page is still available, the name has changed and was updated with a photograph of an airplane wing.

Vorayuth is not necessarily immobilized by having his Thai passport revoked. It is possible to obtain a passport in several countries by making a minimum level of investment, or in some cases, what amounts to almost a straight cash payment.

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