Grandson of Thai elite arrested over fatal 'hit-and-run'

Featured - September 6th, 2012

Thailand is gripped by public anger over a fatal ‘hit-and-run’ by a Ferrari that has highlighted the country’s widening rich and poor gap, Financial Times reports.

A member of one of Thailand’s richest families was arrested Monday for an alleged ‘hit-and-run’ that killed a police officer. Vorayuth Yoovidhaya, 27, hit Sgt. Maj. Wichean Glansprasert, 47, and dragged his body for more than 200 m down the street before fleeing the scene. A policeman tried to cover up for Vorayuth by turning in a false suspect.

Vorayuth, the grandson of the Red Bull co-founder Chaleo Yoovidhaya, was identified after investigations traced oil streaks to the family’s estate in a wealthy neighborhood. He claimed the police officer’s motorcycle suddenly cut in front of his silver Ferrari. He faced charges of causing death by reckless driving but was released on bail of 500,000 baht ($15,900).

The incident caused an uproar in Thailand and exacerbated the view that elites “get away with crimes”. Bangkok Post’s political commentator Voranai Vanijaka said half-baked penalties for aristocrats is “now a cultural norm”. The Yoovidhya family’s lawyer said the family will hold responsibility and would compensate the family of the victim.