A Bangkok court on Friday approved an arrest warrant for an heir to the Red Bull energy drink fortune accused of a deadly hit-and-run accident, moving the case forward after almost five years without charges being pressed. Vorayuth "Boss" Yoovidhya is accused of fleeing the scene of a 2012 crash in his Ferrari after allegedly fatally hitting a police officer on motorcycle patrol. His family, half-owners of the Red Bull empire, has estimated wealth of more than $20 billion, reports the AP. The state prosecutor asked for police action after Vorayuth missed Thursday's deadline to answer a summons, and police applied for the warrant Friday morning. Police spokesman Krisana Pattanacharoen says the court has approved the arrest warrant on two charges, hit-and-run and reckless driving.
"He will be processed like any other suspect who is evading their arrest warrant," says Krisana. The case has drawn attention as an example of the impunity of Thailand's rich and well-connected, who are able to avoid or delay justice in a way that ordinary Thais wouldn't be able to. Vorayuth's current whereabouts are unknown, though a recent AP report revealed that he's been living lavishly, traveling to Formula One races, snowboarding in Japan, and cruising in Venice. "Whenever he steps into Thailand, we should be able to get him," national police chief Gen. Chaktip Chaijinda told reporters Friday ahead of the warrant being granted. The charge of hit-and-run carries a penalty of up to six months in jail; the reckless driving charge carries a maximum sentence of 10 years. (Read more Red Bull stories.)