King Power Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha Disappeared in Helicopter Crash

Thailand, news, King Power

Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, owner of King Power Duty Free empire (Photo: Reuters)

Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, owner of Thailand monopolistic duty free concession King Power, died in a helicopter crash after taking off in Leicester. Mr. Srivaddhanaprabha was a clever businessman who build a duty free empire in Thailand. He was the owner of Leicester City Football Club since 201o. He passed away aged 64. 

Considered as one of the wealthiest man in Thailand -he was the fifth richest personality in Thailand according to financial magazine Forbes, Vichai  Srivaddhanaprabha was an important personality of the travel and tourism industry in Thailand. He not only owned a monopoly concession on all duty free shops at Airports of Thailand various airports (Bangkok Don Mueang and Suvarnabhumi, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Hat Yai and Phuket) but was owning also the Pullman Hotel King Power and had a US$226 million stake in Thailand largest budget carrier Thai AirAsia. 

Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha granted back to 1989 a concession for a downtown duty-free store and expanded step by step at all airports. According to the Bangkok Post, the King Power duty free shops empire is today worth 3.8 billion pounds (161.7 billion baht).

The monopolistic position of King Power on all shops concessions at Suvarnabhumi Airport generated polemics as King Power has been able to select all the shops it wanted at the airport -including even bank outlets. The monopoly status has been challenged many times by officials.

The Bangkok Post reported that this year, King Power had to find a lawsuit lodged by a former anti-graft official alleging it had not paid the government its due share of revenue from its airport franchise. King Power has denied the allegation. An appeal is reportedly likely.

He was born Vichai Raksriaksorn, but in 2012, the king of Thailand recognised his achievements by bestowing on his family their new surname, which means “light of progressive glory”.

The helicopter came down in a car park near the King Power stadium shortly after 19:30 GMT, about an hour after the end of Leicester City’s game against West Ham United, police said. They were also in the helicopter two members of his staff, Nursara Suknamai and Kaveporn Punpare, pilot Eric Swaffer and passenger Izabela Roza Lechowicz,