9-Year-Old Ferrari Driver Sparks Outrage in India
A scarlet-red Ferrari F430 guns its engines and screams down the residential streets of Kerala, India.
Yet the end of the one-and-a-half minute video contains a shocker: the driver of the car is a nine-year old boy. And the passenger is his five-year-old brother.
The video sparked an uproar, and not only because of the safety and parenting issues. The sight of a third-grader driving a $200,000 sports car in a country with crippling poverty has touched off a new round of controversy in the East over the new class of the super-rich, and the dangers of wealth gone wild.
From China to Thailand to Singapore and London, Ferrari crashes and street races have become media flashpoints for the growing resentment against the newly rich. While the number of millionaires and billionaires have grown rapidly in the East— along with sales of exotic cars—so have calls to reign in the sometimes reckless excesses of the super-rich.
(Read More: Ferrari Crashes Spark Rage at Asia's Rich)
The Ferrari crashes have also ramped up criticism that the wealthy are given special treatment under the law.
In China, a speeding black Ferrari crashed in Beijing, killing the driver and one of two passengers. Police kept the details of the crash under wraps, until it was later revealed that the driver was the son of a top political aide.
In Bangkok, Thailand, a black Ferrari struck and killed a policeman on a motorcycle and dragged his body for several hundred yards. The driver fled and a police investigator tried to cover up the driver's identity. The driver was later identified as the grandson of the billionaire founder of Red Bull.
In Singapore, a wealthy Chinese investor raced his Ferrari through a red light at 4 a.m. and struck a taxi, which then hit a motorcycle. The driver, taxi driver, and the motorcycle rider all died. The crash set off a debate over the wave of wealthy "locusts" invading Singapore.
In the India case, the father of the nine-year-old Ferrari driver turned himself in and was charged with endangering the life of a child and allowing a minor to drive. The charges came weeks after the video was posted, and only after the video drew outrage in India on the web.
The boy's mother told Indian TV that the drive was a birthday present for her son and that she was proud of his driving skills. The video was taken on a private road in an upscale residential development.
The boy's family made its fortune from real-estate and tobacco. His mother said her son had also driven the family's Lamborghini and Bentley.
"It's not easy for a child to achieve such a feat at this young age," she said.
-By CNBC's Robert Frank
Follow Robert Frank on Twitter: @robtfrank