Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha

Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha (Thai: วิชัย ศรีวัฒนประภา;[a] born Vichai Raksriaksorn, Thai: วิชัย รักศรีอักษร;[b][c] 4 April 1958 – 27 October 2018) was a Thai billionaire businessman and the founder, owner and chairman of King Power Duty Free. He was also the owner of the Premier League football club, Leicester City from 2010 until his death in a helicopter crash at the King Power Stadium in Leicester.

Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha
Vichai Raksriaksorn.jpg
Vichai at the Ham Polo Club, c. 2010.
Vichai Raksriaksorn

4 April[1] 1958 (1958)[2][3]
Bangkok, Thailand
Died27 October 2018(2018-10-27) (aged 60)[4]
Leicester, England
Cause of deathHelicopter crash
Nationality Thailand
Other namesKhun Vichai[5]
OccupationOwner & chairman of King Power International Group
Owner & chairman of Leicester City
Chairman of OH Leuven
Spouse(s)Aimon Srivaddhanaprabha
Children4, including Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha


Vichai was the founder and CEO of King Power Duty Free, an operator of duty-free shops.[7] In December 2009, King Power received the royal warrant from King Bhumibol of Thailand in a ceremony attended by Vichai.[8] In October 2018, he was ranked by Forbes magazine as the 5th richest man in Thailand, reportedly worth US$4.9 billion.[6]

The first football match Vichai watched in England was the 1997 League Cup Final between Leicester City and Middlesbrough, which may have attracted him to the club.[9] In August 2010, the Asia Football Investments consortium including Vichai and his son Aiyawatt purchased English Football League Championship club Leicester City.[10] He succeeded Milan Mandarić as chairman of the club in February 2011 while continuing as owner, and Aiyawatt became the vice chairman.[10] In July 2011, the club's formerly named Walkers Stadium was renamed the King Power Stadium.[11]

Leicester City went on to win the 2015–16 Premier League title after starting the season as 5000/1 rank outsiders. Shortly before the 2016–17 season, Vichai gifted 19 players a BMW i8—at £100,000 each—as a gift for winning the title.[12]

In May 2017, he bought his second football club, OH Leuven in Belgium.[13]

Personal lifeEdit

Vichai was born into a Thai Chinese family.[14][15] His father, Wiwat Raksriaksorn (Chinese: 徐利明) traces his roots to Zhao'an, Fujian, China.[14] Vichai was married to Aimon Srivaddhanaprabha, with whom he had four children: Voramas, Apichet, Aroonroong, and Aiyawatt.[16] In 2012, the King of Thailand Bhumibol Adulyadej bestowed the family the new surname of Srivaddhanaprabha,[17][18] which means "light of progressive glory".[16] He was awarded an honorary doctorate as a Doctor of Laws by the University of Leicester in 2016.[19] As a young man, Vichai studied in Taiwan and the United States.[20]

In his spare time, Vichai was an avid polo player, and owned the VR Polo Club in Bangkok. He was the president of Ham Polo Club in London from 2008 to 2012.[21]

Vichai believed that Leicester City F.C.'s success or failure was affected by karma, and he therefore endeavored to build Buddhist temples and support Buddhist monks to accumulate good karma.[22][23] Vichai had a good relationship with the Thai monk Phra Prommangkalachan [th] and his fellow monks, who often blessed the team players, either in England or at the monks' home temple in Thailand, Wat Traimit. The monks flying in to see the players of the team became a common sight.[24][25][26] In 2015, Aiyawatt became ordained as a Buddhist monk for a month.[27][28]

In April 2019, The Asian Awards honoured him with the Outstanding Contribution to the Community Award.[29]


On 27 October 2018, Vichai's AgustaWestland AW169 helicopter crashed outside the King Power Stadium shortly after taking off from the pitch. Eyewitnesses described seeing the helicopter spinning before crashing and creating a fireball.[30] The next day, it was confirmed that Vichai, along with the other two passengers and the pilots, had died in the crash.[31][32] Numerous tributes were laid to Vichai outside the King Power Stadium by players along with fans of Leicester City and other football clubs.[33] In accordance with Thai burial customs, Vichai's funeral lasted for eight days, beginning on 3 November.[34]


  1. ^ RTGSWichai Siwatthanaprapha} pronounced [wí.tɕʰāj sǐː.wát.tʰā.ná.prā.pʰāː]
  2. ^ RTGSWichai Raksi-akson, pronounced [rák.sǐːʔàk.sɔ̌ːn]
  3. ^ Thai people are referred to by given name; the subject was mostly known as Khun Vichai.[5]


  1. ^ "Leicester City: Statue plan to honour chairman". BBC News. 4 April 2019. Retrieved 29 April 2019.
  2. ^ Mason, Peter (27 October 2018). "Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 31 October 2018.
  3. ^ Leicester City Football Club Limited (14 December 2010). "Appointment of Vichai Raksriaksorn as a director". Companies House. Retrieved 1 November 2018.
  4. ^ "Club Statement: Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha" (Press release). Leicester City F.C. 28 October 2018. Retrieved 28 October 2018.
  5. ^ a b Eldfurst, Simon (4 May 2016). "Thai owner of Leicester City has the common touch". Irish Examiner. Retrieved 31 October 2018.
  6. ^ a b Cairnduff, Jason (28 October 2018). "Leicester City football club owner's helicopter crashes outside stadium". Reuters. Retrieved 28 October 2018.
  7. ^ Sandy Macaskill (12 August 2015). "Leicester announce takeover details". The Telegraph.
  8. ^ Watcharapong Thongrung (3 December 2009). "King Power banks on stable politics". The Nation. Bangkok.
  9. ^ "Notable deaths of 2018". BBC news. 30 December 2018. Retrieved 30 December 2018.
  10. ^ a b "Vichai Raksriaksorn named Leicester City chairman". BBC Sport. 10 February 2011. Retrieved 28 October 2018.
  11. ^ "Leicester rename Walkers Stadium the King Power Stadium". BBC Sport. 5 July 2011. Retrieved 28 October 2018.
  12. ^ Crowson, Martin (5 August 2016). "Leicester City players given £100,000 BMW i8 for Premier League win". Leicestershire Live. Retrieved 10 August 2018.
  13. ^ "Leicester City owner buys Belgian club OH Leuven". Daily Telegraph. 17 May 2017.
  14. ^ Crowcroft, Orlando (15 April 2016). "V for Vichai: How Leicester City's Thai owner became a billionaire – on a blessing and a prayer".
  15. ^ a b "Thai billionaire owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha brought Leicester their greatest days". Sky News. 28 October 2018. Retrieved 28 October 2018.
  16. ^ Holmes, Oliver (4 May 2016). "The Thai billionaire whose gamble on Leicester just paid off". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 June 2018.
  17. ^ "Royal Honour For City Owners". Leicester City F.C. 1 February 2013. Retrieved 1 June 2018.
  18. ^ "University of Leicester honour for Leicester City F.C. chairman". University of Leicester. Retrieved 28 October 2018.
  19. ^ "Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha obituary". The Guardian. 29 October 2018. Retrieved 28 August 2019.
  20. ^ "The Coveted Chakravarty Cup". The Bangkok Post. 29 June 2008. Retrieved 28 October 2018. According to Nicholas Colquhoun-Denvers, chairman of Ham Polo Club, Vichai is the first Asian to receive the honour of this prominent position
  21. ^ "Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, Leicester City owner and retail magnate, dies at 60". CNN. Retrieved 29 October 2018.
  22. ^ "Leicester City chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha: Author of a football fairytale". Channel NewsAsia. Agence France-Presse. 29 October 2018. Retrieved 29 October 2018.
  23. ^ Ogden, Mark (29 October 2018). "Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha's deep connection with Leicester". ESPN. Retrieved 29 October 2018.
  24. ^ Sherwell, Philip; Sawer, Patrick (30 April 2016). "Leicester City's 'good karma': the Buddhist monks behind the Foxes' divine play". The Telegraph.
  25. ^ "Leicester City helicopter crash: Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha – the 'humble, generous, private enigma'". BBC. 28 October 2018. Retrieved 29 October 2018.
  26. ^ Collins, Cory (10 February 2016). "Leicester City's improbable EPL run, bolstered by Buddhist monks?". Sporting News. Retrieved 29 October 2018.
  27. ^ Troughton, A. (16 February 2015). "Vice chairman Leicester City ordained at Thai temple". Leicester Mercury. Archived from the original on 4 July 2015.
  28. ^ "The Asian Awards 2019". New Asian Post. Retrieved 12 April 2019.
  29. ^ "Leicester City owner's helicopter crashes". BBC News. 27 October 2018.
  30. ^ "Leicester City confirm chairman's death". BBC News. Retrieved 28 October 2018.
  31. ^ "King Power Stadium incident". Leicestershire Police. Retrieved 28 October 2018.
  32. ^ Collier, Hatty (28 October 2018). "Leicester helicopter crash: Tributes laid at King Power stadium". London Evening Standard. Retrieved 28 October 2018.
  33. ^ "Leicester City helicopter crash: Funeral arrangements made in Thailand". BBC News. 1 November 2018. Retrieved 1 November 2018.

External linksEdit

  Media related to Vichai Raksriaksorn at Wikimedia Commons