Bribes were paid by owners of warehouse that exploded, says Thailand top cop


BANGKOK (The Nation Thailand/ANN): Deputy national police chief of Thailand General Surachate “Big Joke” Hakparn said on Friday that the investigation of an explosion in a warehouse in Narathiwat province found evidence of a bribe being paid to state officials so that fireworks could be stored without a permit.

The explosion at the warehouse near Muno market in Sungai Kolok district on July 29 killed 12 people and injured 120 more.

Surachate said investigators found money had been paid by the warehouse owners to officials of local administration agencies.

The explosion had no connection to insurgent attacks in the South, he said.

Surachate is looking into five agencies responsible for issuing the warehouse’s permits. They are the subdistrict administration organisation, and the ministries of Defence, Industry, Interior, and Public Health.

“If any state officials are found to have violated Article 157, [the families of those who died] will be eligible for 500,000 baht compensation,” he said.

Officials who violate Article 157 of the Criminal Code can be jailed for up to 10 years.

Surachate also said the married couple who owned the warehouse had contacted police to say they would turn themselves in on Saturday afternoon after fleeing across the border to Malaysia.

The Narathiwat provincial court on Wednesday issued arrest warrants for Sompong and his wife Piyanuch (last name withheld) after they failed to respond to a police summons on Monday.

Read more…