Red Bull Heir Arrested in Deadly Thai Hit and Run.

| September 5, 2012 | 43 Comments | 39,819 views

This story just hit the news in the USA.

A younger member of the Thai ruling class killed a police officer with his father’s Ferrari. No mention that the driver was impaired in any way by drugs or alcohol and no mention of irresponsible behavior on his part. According to press reports, a routine traffic accident gone fatally wrong. Besides fleeing the scene, it’s something that could happen to anyone.

Most of the English language discussion is expressed outrage that a young man from a rich family killed a police officer and may escape justice.  I see the story from a different angle. Many expats spend their days ranting and raving about “defects” in Thai society–corruption, poorly run bars, uneducated and unworldly people, greedy bankers, and self serving politicians. Because of my training as a social scientist, I approach visiting a foreign country from a more intellectual point of view.  Thailand is not the U.S. That is what makes it interesting to visit and fascinating to experience first hand. Rather than yelling that it is different, I try to understand why it’s different. My intellectual curiosity wants to lay  bare the internal logic of the Thai system.

What interests me about The  Red Bull story is not an example of miscarried  justice but an example of differences between Thai and western society.

The U.S. is a country of laws and rules where Rule #1 is equality before the law. Laws are applied uniformly regardless of wealth, fame, and who your parents are and there is effective oversight insuring the players obey the rules and diligently perform their assigned role. If anything being rich and famous is a handicap because it means the law will be applied more strictly and harshly. Many a  zealous headhunting prosecutor has availed themselves of famous defendants to further their careers and make a name for themselves. Think Thomas Dewey and Rudy Giulani.

In Thailand, the law is a completely different animal. Many laws are openly flouted and unevenly enforced. Prosecutors, police, and judges have and frequently abuse greater degrees of discretion.  Corruption and favoritism are endemic, and effective oversight of judges, police, and prosecutors is absent. Prosecuting the rich and powerful can be a career ender rather than a career maker and strictly enforcing the law can mean a fortune in bribes foregone. In Thailand, there is no guarantee that the accused will get a fair hearing and the innocent will go free.

Thailand also has way fewer laws and vast areas of personal behavior which are monitored, regulated, and criminalized in the U.S. are considered personal matters, subject to personal choice, and are not regulated by the government and the Thai police. Large swaths of peoples lives are the sole purview of the individual – alimony for unregistered marriages, child support, wife beating, abortion, and child rearing among them. The scope of the law is way smaller in Thailand and in a significant dimension there is more personal freedom than in the U.S.

So what unique features of Thai society are present in the Red Bull story?

In the U.S., when a fatal traffic accident occurs there is relative certainty that people will be identified, run down, and anything criminal will be investigated. This isn’t the case in Thailand and it’s no different in many developing countries where it’s possible to move to another town, change your name, leave everything behind and start a new life. Driving away from an auto accident frequently means getting away scott free,  whereas in the U.S., running can transform an unfortunate accident where no one is really to blame from a non-criminal affair into a criminal one.

In a way, its rational to run in Thailand. If there is no certainty that blame and costs are going to be apportioned according to a known set of rules, staying around is an invitation to be robbed and blackmailed. Either the patrolman on the scene, the captain back at the station, or the prosecutor handling the case is likely to use the accident for extortion. Add into the equation a high probability of successfully running and simple cost/benefit calculations frequently make running the welfare maximizing course of action– whether you are guilty or innocent. In Thailand, hanging around runs the real risk that the innocent will be blamed, punished, and forced to pay.

The young man’s action are understandable if not morally acceptable.

In the U.S., everything is criminalized and punished with jail time. It seems to be a favorite tactic of the nanny state to take any behavior, make it a criminal act, and attach prison time. It’s the cheap and easy way for government to force changes in people’s behavior. You don’t have to maintain a large police force, employ lots of prosecutors and judges, and maintain large prisons. Don’t try to  catch everyone who breaks a law and impose a proportionate penalty. Just catch one person impose a horrendous cost and everyone considering breaking a law will think twice. It’s cheap and effective as long as you don’t care about real justice—the fact that some random person pays a horrendous cost for a minor “crime” while many others go free. Criminalizing everything is cost effective if you don’t care about real justice and want to control and regulate a multitude of mostly harmless behaviors because they offend somebody else’s sense of right and wrong.

Tell people how they must behave and if they ignore you impose a horrendous penalty -one that is out of all proportion to the crime to force compliance. You can see evidence of this in the bulging prison population and the immense amount of money spent incarcerating people in the U.S.

For poor countries like Thailand, there simply isn’t enough money to keep large portions of the population in jail and when people are poor, leaving crime victims uncompensated is injustice in and of itself. Making people pay compensation, not to the government, but to victims is a more rational, economic, and humane punishment. It punishes the guilty and brings some real relief to the victims.

In the end, the young man is unlikely to go to jail or face criminal charges—fodder for Expats in the English language press to rail on about “evil” Thailand. What happens in Thailand is that he will make an apology to the man’s family. An apology that most likely will be sincere and heartfelt. Negotiations will commence between the deceased family and the young man’s family. Given the wealth of the grandfather a significant monetary settlement will be made. You cannot bring someone back from the dead and the money will help the family make up for the loss of the family breadwinner and insure that his family is not forced into destitution or become a burden on their extended family. The young man will have to live with what he has done and most likely it will cause profound changes in his conduct and how he conducts his life. Expats will rail on about the inferiority of the Thai system but in my humble opinion, in this type of case the Thai way is the better and more humane way for both victim and perpetrator.




Thailand Red Bull.jpg

Red Bull Heir Arrested in Deadly Hit and Run

BANGKOK –  A grandson of the creator of the Red Bull energy drink has been arrested for driving a Ferrari that struck a police officer and dragged his dead body down a Bangkok street in an early-morning hit-and-run, police said Monday.

Police took Vorayuth Yoovidhya, 27, for questioning after tracing oil streaks for several blocks to his family’s gated estate in a wealthy neighborhood of the Thai capital.

He was facing charges of causing death by reckless driving and escaping an arrest by police but was released on a 500,000 baht ($15,900) bail.

Vorayuth admitted he drove the charcoal gray sports car but said the police officer’s motorcycle abruptly cut in front of his vehicle, said police Maj. Gen. Anuchai Lekbamroong, the lead investigator in the case.

Bangkok’s top police official, Lt. Gen. Comronwit Toopgrajank, said he took charge of the investigation after a lower-ranking policeman initially tried to cover up the crime by turning in a bogus suspect. Comronwit himself led a team of officers to search the compound of late Red Bull founder Chaleo Yoovidhaya, one of Thailand’s wealthiest men before he passed away this year, and confiscated a Ferrari with a badly damaged front bumper and broken windshield.

The victim, Sgt. Maj. Wichean Glanprasert, 47, was killed during a motorcycle patrol before dawn. Thai media reported that the car dragged the officer and his motorcycle for several dozen meters (feet) as it sped through the residential neighborhood.

Comronwit said he suspended the police officer who attempted to subvert the investigation.

“A policeman is dead. I can’t let this stand. If I let this case get away, I’d rather quit,” he told reporters. “I don’t care how powerful they are. If I can’t get the actual man in this case, I will resign.”

Vorayuth did not speak to the media but the family lawyer said the family will be take responsibility for the damages.

The Yoovidhaya family was ranked the 4th richest in Thailand this year by Forbes magazine, with a net worth of $5.4 billion. Red Bull creator Chaleo Yoovidhaya died in his 80s in March, leaving his heirs a wide range of businesses, including shares in the globally popular energy drink brand, hospitals and real estate.

The family also co-owns the sole authorized importer of Ferrari cars in Thailand.

Comments (43)

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  1. John Brown says:

    In a possible utopia, the convicted suspect would pay the millions as restitution and ALSO do the time

    That is “justice” to me… paying out to victim(s) what you have to offer (even though not earned in this case) AND  doing the time (which can be earned). 

    What’s wrong with that?     

  2. We have the Bangkok Post for this type of information.  

  3. Lurker says:

    I hear what you are saying about “Just catch one person impose a horrendous cost and everyone considering breaking a law will think twice. It’s cheap and effective as long as you don’t care about real justice—the fact that some random person pays a horrendous cost for a minor “crime” while many others go free.”

    How many people are sitting in jail serving long sentences for marijuana possession? It’s unjust that everyone openly smokes pot today while others have had their lives ruined and their freedom taken away for doing the exact same thing. 

  4. Kenny's (Expat) Penis Envy says:

    Who are these expats you keep talking about who complain all day?

    Your jealousy of the expats again rears it’s ugly head.

  5. Bangers Bill says:

    Gotta agree with Kenny about the expats. Read stickman’s readers comments. There must be a lot of nice ones but what you see hanging around the gogo bars are just as Kenny describes.

  6. Ronru says: 

    Vorayuth Yoovidhya, Red Bull Heir, Hit-And-Run Case Reveals Thailand Injustice
    Posted on September 5, 2012 by admin
    Vorayuth Yoovidhya, Red Bull Heir, Hit-And-Run Case Reveals Thailand Injustice – AP, September 4, 2012
    People in Thailand often joke that prisons are reserved for the poor, because the rich and privileged tend to get away with murder…
    Orachorn Devahastin Na Ayudhya was 16 and driving without a license when she crashed her sedan into a van on a Bangkok highway. A court initially sentenced her to a 3-year prison term but reduced the sentence last week, saying she had provided “helpful” testimony.
    One of Thailand’s most infamous untouchables recently resurfaced in headlines. Duang Yubumrung, the son of Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubumrung, was linked to the 2001 shooting of a policeman in a nightclub brawl. He was acquitted of murder in 2004 on grounds of insufficient evidence.
    Duang has since joined the Bangkok police force and in July was assigned as a sharpshooter. News reports quoted his father as saying he was proud of his son’s skill because “His shooting accuracy is 100 percent!”…

  7. Quite from Bangkok Pundit says: 

    As you all already likely know, the grandson of the original founder of the Red Bull energy drink is alleged* to have killed a police officer in a hit-and-run accident in the very early hours of Monday morning. It is one of many such cases where people are concerned that someone who is politically connected will get away with killing someone (cough Chalerm’s son cough). There have been plenty of articles discussing the case, but a few things struck BP.

  8. My dog's bollocks says:

    What the fuck do you know about Thailand? You holiday here a couple times a year and now you are an expert? It may play well in your social circles stateside, but for those of us that have actually put down roots here, you’re a bloating fool.

    Keep ’em coming. These writings are priceless.

  9. Ronru says:

    My dog’s bollocks = Angry Expat like Kenny described. 

    Fucking whores on Cowboy, marrying a bar girl prostitute, and getting cheated out of your retirement money……. is that what you call laying down roots in Thailand.


  10. RealDaffyDuck says:

    Kenny I’m going to drive over to your campus one day and have Vladi my pooch piss on your car tyres, oh yeah…HA HA

    Then I’ll sneak around campus posing as an overweight student & take snaps of you on my Apple iPhone 4S, HE HE

    Then I’ll post them on a gay dating site, HO HO

    Harry Zink
    Highroad Entertainment 

  11. Graham Jones Big Fat Liar says:

    Hey Daffy.

    Next time you are in Bangkok come on down to The Duke of Wellington Pub on Silom Road.

    It’s the flagship of the Graham Jones Empire.


  12. Occasional Mango Customer says:

    If someone actually posts under his real name, I am going into cardiac arrest. 

  13. DaffyDuck says:

    Exactly, nothing but a bunch of *loser* sockies on here, the majority of them Kennys alter egos, of course & the rest Ronru/Not Keith/Prufrock. All of them jealous of my success wishing they were *me* as they sit in their slums in Bangkok tapping away on their pathetic keyboards because they can’t afford to go and hire a hooker

     Yeah, *REAL* success stories

    Hahahaha Hehehehe Hohohoho

  14. Real Daffy Duck says:

    Daffy Duck is not me. I am the real Daffy Duck.

    Kenny can you fix this? 

  15. This Pathetic Website says:

    The admin/owner of this website should be ashamed of the content. Complete nonsense.

  16. This Pathetic Website says:

    Agreed on the sock puppets. The way the writer attempts to provide credibility to himself under various names is quite transparent.

  17. RealDaffyDuck says:

    *I* am the real Harry Zink aka Daffy Duck, master troll of Thailand sex forums, obnoxious buffoon banned from all reputable Apple forums, & Kennys #1 stalker!

    Need I say more? OK yes I will. I see Kennys *FINALLY*  sorted out his malware infected header & photos. I mean, *really*. If you want your blog properly sorted out Kenny then call my PA Vladi & we’ll fit you in when I finish my course of anal bleaching

    Harry Zink
    Highroad Entertainment 

  18. Real Daffy Duck says:

    Kenny previous comment isn’t me. Can you please fix?

  19. Ilya from Russia says:

    Hello Kenny
    I am from Russia… the former dreaded USSR – the country you feared. We had a system like yours in USSR long before, and we have corruption heaven (Thai style) now. So we can observe both systems
    I’ll tell you what is going to happen in the same situation here (in Russia). Wealthy grandfather will pay (in some way… money, business opportunities, etc) to officials, officials will allow the driver to get away unpunished. Victims family not will get NOTHING… they will be “blamed, punished, …”
    Just use “barkov lukoil accident” google search
    So… these “ranting and raving” actually have a reason. Sorry for my bad English

  20. Prufrock says:

    Hi everyone.
    Been quite busy lately but I have some news a little update on what everyone knows is the truth but few have the balls to face.

    And then there’s this guy.  . . . . .  Paul Craig Roberts, “the, um, father of Reaganomics?

    And so many others; guys like Bruce Willis, Gov. Jesse Ventura,  Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth,
    Pilots for 9/11 Truth, Firefighters for 9/11 Truth . . . . you know all those guys.
    (and you can include just about any other architect or any other engineer who has the balls to face up to
    the likelihood  he’ll never get another Federal contract if he says publicly what he knows is true.

    And Daffy? Ronru? 
    I’m not interested that you’re “not interested” in 9/11 truth.
    What could be less meaningful ?

    Guess the dick up your asses feels better when your head’s in the sand.

  21. Prufrock says:

    Doin’ the repeat just so’s you know it’s me. Didn’t close the brackets either. That oughta bring the hall monitors
    and the metallurgical millenary design fags out in full force.
    Daffy? Daffy?

    Where are you you fat-assed faggot cocksucker.

    You suck-ass  whore for any imbecile consensus.
    Daffy  . . . . what a fucking asshole you turned out to be.

    Daffy . . . . you stand with the idiots and the cowards.  . . . I’ll stand with the principled
    folk who know that the 9/11 crimes were never investigated properly and that any and all
    criminal regimes subsequent to those events 11 years ago are now complicit.

    The world is in the shit it’s in because of what was done to Americans by criminal elements
    within its government eleven years ago.

    And you fucking well know it.

    Pig-faced suck-ass coward that you are 😉

    Me?  . . . . .  Oh, glad you asked.
    I’m just fine.
    Feelin’ good in my skin.
    Same guy that sat across from you and listened to your stoopid bullshit three years ago.

    Have a nice life you stinking stew of disinformative shit. 

  22. Prufrock says:

    For your viewing pleasure Daffy.

    Any of these people.
    Yep any one of these experts, thee heroes, these courageous professionals and investigators’ any ONE of them 
    makes you look like the lick-snot asswipe you truly are.

    Suck up some 9/11 Truth.

    This is money well spent.

    Look at the faces of the men and women whose  lives and whose courage to speak the Truth show you up for the cretinous scum-sucking rim-runner that you have reduced yourself to.

  23. John Rambo says:

    You can’t deny that dozens of foreigners disappear every year and the Thai police do nothing. This is the system you are championing. 

  24. Bangers Bill says:

    I can confirm that what others have said about sock puppets on BBK as being true, since I did not make the comment on Sept. 7th above.

    Although I’m flattered, please stop using my name to make comments supporting Kenny’s post.

    Kenny, if it’s you commenting using my screen name, Daffy and now PRUFROCK (of all people, the one person sure to drive people away from this site) you should be ashamed.

  25. Ronru says:

    Hey Dumbass.

    Congratulations. You’ve been sock puppeted on LOL.

    If you were  fucktards like The Mango boys  or a retard like Zinktard, your next move would be to start a tribute website and spend your lives making Kenny a Rockstar.

    If you are normal, you will just laugh, see the comedy of it all, and move on to your real life.


  26. Fake Bangers Bill says:

    @real bangers bill.

    Consider being sock puppeted a tribute. 

    Welcome to Team Kenny. LOL 

  27. Politics of Personal Destruction says:

    You think it’s funny but Michael Smith, Nicholas Dattoma, Graham Jones, and Harry Zink are unemployable now. 

    Any company they apply to is going to do a cursory web search and their brothel ownership is going to come up.  That will pretty much kill all job offers.

    So maybe it’s not so funny after all.  

    You make me sick. BTW. 

  28. RealDaffyDuck says:

    Duck Diary

    That big mouth Prufrock is back. Now there’s 2 people on BKK who hate my guts plus the usual army of sockies who constantly take the piss out of me. I’m going to ring Mommy on my iPhone5…hahahehehoho *I wish*…I mean my iPhone 4S with hello kitty screen protector, & ask her for some valium to calm my nerves

    My course of anal bleaching is finished. Can’t wait for Nom to see the smooth perfect coloration of my anus, He’ll scream with excitement!

  29. Light in the Loafers NurseRon says:

    First of all, how many straight men want to be a nurse? Zilch. Nada.

    Secondly, how do you create a smoke screen to hide your gayness?  Hang out with lame people from the Mango, and write  comments on blogs reinforcing the notion of being straight.  Then get good looking girls from the Mango approved gogo’s and pay a premium to keep girl (beard) around.  And write some more about them.


  30. Raul Villegas says:

    So, Mr Kenny, if I understand you right, Thailand is a better place as the rich are able to bribe their way out of prison,  so that leaves more space in prison for poor people.
    I would like to debate this point but the comment section of your website has died and gone to hell.

  31. Robert says:

    Interesting perspective Kenny, although as much as I resent the excess and petty laws at home, it’s sad there are people who seem to need  government to behave like a baby sitter.  I really did not feel that much animousity for this driver until the family “sett’ed” the case by giving the cops family 3 million Baht.  A whopping $90,000 for a mans life from people to who that’s pocket change.   Just because the law does not force them to pay for their criminal acts, only a complete psychopath could kill someone in such a undeniably irresponsible way, and not at least make some effort to compensate the family reasonaby.   Of course, most 27 year old Thai males have about the same level of emotional maturity as a trypical western 10 year old, so I guess it’s naive to me to expect any better.

  32. BBK says:

    Should the settlement be based on the person’s earnings capacity or the perpetrators willingness to pay?

    Policemen make about 15,000 baht a month. The victim was a captain so he made more. The $90,000 is 2.8 million baht. Without taking into account the time value of money that is 15.5 years of income. It’s still not a large amount of money but it is not insignificant relative to the man’s expected lifetime earnings.

    You can check out this table which shows compensation levels for various workplace injuries in the United States.

    A lost arm is worth 312 weeks of pay or about 6 years. From this perspective the $90,000 amount is reasonable.

    The other factor to consider is that in most of the rich Thai families, the assets are not held in the names of younger generation. In fact most of the time, the younger members live modest lives and have very little disposable income.

  33. Yea Yea Yea Legacy of hookers and whores and stupidity says:

    Worth ZERO if he’s about to be laid off and sucks at his job.

  34. Robert says:

    @BBK   I was an attorney at home, but never did workers comp.  The big difference in any Western country is the degree of recklessness involved here would justify a mssive punitive damage award in addition to compensatory damages that would not be paid by insurance.   Generally accidents do not warrant punitive damage awards, but when the defendants actions show a total disregard for others and substantial violations of law are involved, as in this case,  someone would be writing a very big check.  I am not naive enough to think our legal system treats the elite like it does the serfs, but even a billionaire at home would not be likely to kill a cop or anyone else like this and get off completely free criminally either, and that’s almost certain to happen in Thailand.
    I have to admit though our legal system is one of the things from home I miss the least.  Between our parasitic legal industry (which I was part of) and our parasitic insurance industry, someone makes money off you every day whether you are having an operation, driving to work or going to a theater or shopping center, the insurance industry made money off you that day. 
    Also, think how nice things like motorcycle taxis or baht buses would be in big American cities, but our legal system and insurance company lobbyists make them impossible. 

  35. Harold Zink and his erect Penis spitting jism says:

    Kenny it is good to see that you are actually responding to a post now and then.  This place needs some sort of moderation.  In your response you state the following;
    the younger members live modest lives and have very little disposable income.

    I would be interested where you found, or derived, this information from?  I ask, as in this case, the kid was driving a Ferrari, which to me would not indicate modesty.
    Further you provide a table of payouts.  I imagine the payout would be different in the case of  gross neglect, such as a kid running down a cop and then dragging his dead body down a street for a considerable distance. 
    Finally, and this is in the same vain as you knowledge of the modesty of the rich in Thailand,which I am apologizing for in advance.  You should know more than anyone that Thai people of modest means, such as this cop’s family, have very little skill in money management.  Sure 3,000,000 baht is 15 years salary, but do you think they are going to invest that in a manner were the principle is protected from inflation while providing them an equal and continued stream of income?  I really don’t think so.  They are going to go out and blow through the 3 mil with in a year.  And you as an economist should know that better than anyone, but to fit into preconceived notions, that is not an option.

  36. Former President George W Bush says:

    So now kenny is pretending to be a lawyer. Give up the sock puppetry kenny

  37. SWSM is Kenny Speak For Street Walker Super Market Whores Hookers Prostitutes for Sex Tourists says:

    I like the sockie parade. Makes it look like this place is “happenin”.

  38. BBK Fanboy says:

    This blog is happening! Look at all these comments today.

    Kenny is my cockstar.

  39. Harry Zink is Taluca Lake's Most Depraved Citizen says:

    I heard the kid fled to Singapore and missed his court hearing.

  40. butter says:

    It is the way toward redemption.

  41. gconey says:

    bigbabykenny, im not impressed by your intellectual rundown on this topic. you would be better off NOT being critical of expats who live there to start off with. i also analyse things to find out what makes them tick. one doesnt have to be a social scientist. im an artist. i have traveled solo to approx. 30 nations around the globe, Thailand being one of them. i also lived there for far too long. Thailand is a dangerous place to be on the road. the Thai way of driving is called “freestyle” and im lucky to be able to post because i could have been road kill faR TOO MANY TIMES. I have come to not even think of Thais as real Buddhists. far too many Thais are like “blind in one eye”. there is NO such thing as safety first there. there is NO attention to detail. you bet its not the US. its like another planet in many ways. AND THAT’s NOT GOOD OK. taLK ABOUT PEOPLE having more freedom here. yeah you can get away w almost any crime there. like raping a 3 yr old girl for a few hundred $$$. their is im guessing SOOO much you dont knw about UNSEEN THailand. take my word on that.

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