Red Bull heir could face arrest for dodging hit-and-run charge

Vorayuth Yoovidhya, a grandson of late Red Bull founder Chaleo Yoovidhaya, is taken by a plain-clothes police officer for investigation, Sept. 3, 2012 in Bangkok, Thailand. AP

BANGKOK -- Thai prosecutors will ask police to issue an arrest warrant for an heir to the Red Bull fortune if he does not show up to face charges over an alleged hit-and-run that killed a police officer almost five years ago, officials said Thursday.

Vorayuth "Boss" Yoovidhya has been a no-show for meetings with prosecutors on several occasions, complaining through his attorney of unfair treatment or citing duties abroad. A recent Associated Press report revealed that he's been living lavishly, traveling to Formula One races, snowboarding in Japan and cruising in Venice.

On Thursday, prosecutors rejected his latest request for a delay and said he must show up by 4 p.m. 

"The suspect must meet prosecutors as scheduled. If he does not, it would mean he has the intention of delaying and evading the case and we will proceed with requesting an arrest warrant from the court," Somnuek Siangkong, spokesman for the office of the Attorney General, said at a news conference.

A Ferrari that was driven by Vorayuth Yoovidhya, a grandson of late Red Bull founder Chaleo Yoovidhya, and a motorcycle, both involved in an accident, are displayed by police in Bangkok, Thailand, Sept. 3, 2012.  AP

If he fails to show up, prosecutors said they will ask for the warrant to be issued Friday morning.

Vorayuth is accused of fleeing the scene of a 2012 crash in his Ferrari after allegedly hitting a police officer on motorcycle patrol.

Vorayuth has failed to show up when ordered to face criminal charges of speeding, hit-and-run, and deadly, reckless driving. Police say Vorayuth disputes the reckless driving charge, claiming the officer swerved in front of him. The speeding charge expired after a year. The more serious charge of hit-and-run, which police say carries a penalty of up to six months in jail, expires Sept. 3.

The reckless driving charge, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in jail, expires in 10 years if left unchallenged.

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