Red Bull heir hit-and-run court appearance postponed again

Red Bull heir hit-and-run court appearance postponed again
Sompong Puchongsopaphan, expert member of the Thai public prosecutor's office overseeing the 2012 hit-and-run case of Red Bull heir Vorayuth "Boss" Yoovidhya, walks past reporters without answering their questions at South Bangkok prosecutor's office in Bangkok, Thailand, Thursday, March 30, 2017. (AP Photo)

BANGKOK (AP) — An heir to the Red Bull fortune won another delay Thursday in facing charges over an alleged hit-and-run that killed a police officer almost five years ago.

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 out of the country.

This week an Associated Press report that he’s been living lavishly, traveling to Formula One races, snowboarding in Japan and cruising in Venice, has sparked additional pressure.

Vorayuth had been scheduled to meet with prosecutors Thursday, but Prayuth Petchkun, deputy spokesman for the attorney general’s office, said Vorayuth’s lawyer asked for the meeting to be rescheduled to April 27. He said the defendant has something to attend to in England.

Prosecutors approved the date change.

But the spokesman said the case was moving properly through the legal system.

“The reason that we haven’t asked investigators to issue an arrest warrant yet is because the excuses provided each time were not without grounds and we still had to process them for him,” Prayuth said.

In 2012, Vorayuth fled the scene in his Ferrari after allegedly hitting a police officer on motorcycle patrol. While statutes of limitations run out on key charges this year, it has been widely assumed he’s living abroad, or laying low in Thailand. The AP used more than 120 social media postings by friends and family to identify his whereabouts.

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.

“The people responsible and the administrative staff are very much aware as to not let the statute of limitations expire,” Prayuth said Thursday.

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