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Thailand calls for new probe in Red Bull heir hit-and-run case

Thailand’s attorney general has ordered a new investigation into the heir to the Red Bull energy drink fortune over the hit-and-run killing of a policeman.

Prosecutors said new evidence showed that Vorayuth Yoovidhaya was driving much faster than first believed and might have had cocaine in his system, allowing them to reopen the case. It comes after previous charges were dropped last month, sparking outrage. Mr Vorayuth is accused of hitting the officer with his car in 2012.

Police Sergeant-Major Wichian Klanprasert was riding his motorbike in the Thai capital Bangkok when he was hit by a grey Ferrari, which dragged his body more than 100m (109yds) down the road, before driving off. The Red Bull heir repeatedly failed to meet with police to face charges, which included reckless driving causing death. Mr Vorayuth’s lawyers denied the allegations. He left Thailand in 2017 and his whereabouts are currently unknown.

Last month, officials announced that all charges against the 38-year-old had been dropped. The decision sparked outrage, and the police, government and attorney general’s office said they would investigate. In a press conference on Tuesday, the Attorney General’s Office said new evidence meant that the case could be reopened. It said the speed of the Ferrari at the time of the accident had previously been put at 80km/h (50 mph), but an expert opinion not included in the police report had determined that the speed was closer to 170km/h.

“This is new evidence according to the law,” said a spokesman for the office.

Mr Vorayuth could also face a new charge relating to drug use. Blood tests following the accident showed traces of cocaine in his system, but prosecutors say he was not charged at the time because of a possible false positive from medication he had allegedly taken.

Mr Vorayuth is the grandson of Chaleo Yoovidhaya, who co-founded the Red Bull empire. At the time of his death in 2012, Chaleo was the third richest person in Thailand, according to Forbes magazine, with a net worth of $5bn (£3.93bn). The case against Mr Vorayuth has been closely watched in Thailand, and has fuelled criticism that the country’s elite enjoy special treatment by the authorities.