10-year countdown starts on final 'Boss' charge

Vorayuth "Boss" Yoovidhya enters a London residence on April 5 of this year. Thai law enforcement officials say they don't know where he is now. (AP Photo)

Thai authorities still have 10 more years to arrest Red Bull scion Vorayuth "Boss" Yoovidhya but they will have just one crime left to charge him with after Sunday, when the statute of limitations on the third of four offences runs out.

The billionaire heir to the Red Bull fortune has remained free for five years, ever since a police officer on a motorcycle was dragged to his death by a speeding Ferrari near the Yoovidhya home in Bangkok's Thong Lor district.

On Sunday the five-year statute of limitations will expire on a charge of failing to stop and help an accident victim and inform police. The one-year statute of limitations on two other charges -- speeding and reckless driving, and causing damage to property -- expired in September 2013.

That leaves reckless driving causing death, which has a 15-year statute of limitations from the date of the accident, and runs until Sept 3, 2027, a spokesman for the Office of the Attorney-General confirmed on Saturday.

Somnuek Siangkong said the expiry of the other charges would not have any impact on attempts to seek the extradition of Mr Vorayuth as public prosecutors have already indicted him.

Reckless driving causing death carries a jail term of up to 10 years and/or a fine of up to 20,000 baht.

The fatal crash happened at 5.40am on Sept 3, 2012, when Mr Vorayuth, now 32, ran his 32-million-baht Ferrari into the rear of a motorcycle driven by Thong Lor traffic police officer Pol Snr Sgt Maj Wichian Klanprasert, 47, on Sukhumvit Road in Watthana district of Bangkok. 

The policeman's body was dragged by the car for about 200 metres along the road. He reportedly suffered a broken neck and multiple broken bones.

Soon after the crash, a Thong Lor police inspector was transferred to an inactive post for allegedly attempting to detain a driver for the Yoovidhya family and make him a scapegoat.

In the five years since, numerous attempts to have the young billionaire answer to the charges have failed, with his lawyers claiming he was ill or otherwise unavailable. However, investigations by The Associated Press have shown that Mr Vorayuth has travelled in and out of Thailand frequently and often stays at a London residence owned by a company linked to the family business empire.

It was not until April of this year that an arrest warrant was issued for Mr Vorayuth for repeatedly failing to meet with prosecutors, but authorities say they do not know where he is at present.

It was reported that Mr Vorayuth fled Thailand in late April. The last known sighting of the jet-setter was that same month in Taiwan.

In May, authorities revoked Mr Vorayuth’s passport and said they would ask Interpol to send out an international alert. The agency’s “red notice’’, however, was issued only this week.

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