Friday, 13 September 2013

Red Bull Heir and Inequality in Thailand

Early on a Monday morning in September, 2012, Vorayuth Yoovidhya, an heir to Thailand’s Red Bull energy-drink fortune, allegedly sped down a Bangkok street in his silver Ferrari and crashed into a police officer on motorcycle patrol. The police officer died at the scene; Vorayuth, who is known as one of Thailand’s most prominent young princelings and goes by the nickname Boss, did not stop. He drove his battered sports car home, police said, dragging the officer’s body some distance along the way.

Last week, Vorayuth’s alleged crime made headlines once more when he failed to appear for an indictment hearing in Bangkok. The reason: according to his lawyer, Vorayuth had fallen ill during a business trip to nearby Singapore, and was recuperating there on doctor’s orders. That meant that Vorayuth’s indictment was postponed for the sixth time; police now say they are seeking an arrest warrant. Still, some argue that the family’s economic and political clout will insure Vorayuth is never adequately punished.

Many Thais have taken to online forums and social media to complain about the impunity of the country’s wealthiest. Thai citizens simply have more tools at their disposal now to voice their displeasure with wayward young scions who seem to get away with their misdeeds. Had the hit-and-run taken place before the advent of the Web, it may well have been mentioned in newspapers and discussed around dinner tables. But now, with message boards and Facebook, among other outlets, their dissent is easier to quantify, and the narrative of a princeling, a silver Ferrari, and a dead policeman becomes all the more vivid.

Read the full article at The New Yorker.

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