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Arrest Warrant Out For Santika Nightclub Owner


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Arrest warrant out for nightclub owner in New Year fire tragedy

BANGKOK: -- A Thai court has issued arrest warrants for both the major shareholder and the manager of the Santika Pub, gutted in the early hours of New Year's day killing 64 people, a senior police officer said on Monday.

Deputy police commissioner Pol. Gen. Jongrak Jutanont said Wisuk Setsawat, the club's major partner, was accused of recklessly causing other people's deaths, while Suriya Rit-rabue, pub manager, was accused of allowing under-aged customers to enter the entertainment venue. He failed to turn up to acknowledge the charge after being summoned twice.

Gen. Jongrak said arrest warrants will soon be sought for all those involved in the tragedy.

The deputy police commissioner said the investigation team will speed up in inquiry to determine the cause of the New Year's blaze.

Police investigators earlier ruled out speculation that the fire having been started by 'sparklers' used by party-goers caused the fire, saying there was not evidence pointing to that cause.

Investigators instead were focusing on the special effects and pyrotechnics display on stage.

The fire raced through the two-story Santika Club, engulfing many in flames. Others died in a stampede as revellers tried to escape through the club's single apparent exit.

Foreign victims included three Singaporeans, one Myanmar national and one Japanese.

-- TNA 2009-01-12

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Thanks god this is not middle east where shoplifters may have their hand chopped. An eye for an eye.

The owners could be burned to death, like Joan of Arc, whom I guess had too much "magic" in her French mushroom soup.

Edited by samgrowth
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Yes, sure let's nail these guys but what about all the corrupt officials who let them operate without the necessary safety stuff etc. They are just as guilty if not more so as it is onr of their specific responsibilities to ensure public safety.

But like jjd says, nobody is going to jail over this they're all in each other's pockets.

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Yes, sure let's nail these guys but what about all the corrupt officials who let them operate without the necessary safety stuff etc. They are just as guilty if not more so as it is onr of their specific responsibilities to ensure public safety.

But like jjd says, nobody is going to jail over this they're all in each other's pockets.

The officials who accepted tea money to look past the saftey stuff won't go to jail, but in this case I think its to high profile, the owner may pay his way out, but the manager will probably go

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Yes, sure let's nail these guys but what about all the corrupt officials who let them operate without the necessary safety stuff etc. They are just as guilty if not more so as it is onr of their specific responsibilities to ensure public safety.

But like jjd says, nobody is going to jail over this they're all in each other's pockets.

The officials who accepted tea money to look past the saftey stuff won't go to jail, but in this case I think its to high profile, the owner may pay his way out, but the manager will probably go

MPL, I agree with what you are saying. Someone is gong to take the fall here, as it is too high profile. I also agree with what PH has said, but it is important that some people are convicted for this criminal tragedy. I reckon though that the authorities will avoid any thorough investigation.

Here's to hoping that some justice will be done, but ever remaining the cynic.

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Yes, sure let's nail these guys but what about all the corrupt officials who let them operate without the necessary safety stuff etc. They are just as guilty if not more so as it is onr of their specific responsibilities to ensure public safety.

But like jjd says, nobody is going to jail over this they're all in each other's pockets.

Agreed - if the authorities were more strict in enforcing laws/safety practices then tragic events such as the Santika fire could have been avoided/lessened.

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Yes, sure let's nail these guys but what about all the corrupt officials who let them operate without the necessary safety stuff etc. They are just as guilty if not more so as it is onr of their specific responsibilities to ensure public safety.

But like jjd says, nobody is going to jail over this they're all in each other's pockets.

Agreed - if the authorities were more strict in enforcing laws/safety practices then tragic events such as the Santika fire could have been avoided/lessened.

And if people started following the law rather than take the easy way out these tragic events could also be avoided. Corruption exists because people would rather pay a relatively small amount of money so they can break the law. If the owner had have ensured all safety standards were met he wouldn't have had to pay the bribe. The fact that he'd pay it rather than fork out for the more expensive option shows what sort of person he is, putting his bank balance ahead of other peoples well being. He made the choice and the responsibility should fall mainly on him.

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And if people started following the law rather than take the easy way out these tragic events could also be avoided. Corruption exists because people would rather pay a relatively small amount of money so they can break the law. If the owner had have ensured all safety standards were met he wouldn't have had to pay the bribe. The fact that he'd pay it rather than fork out for the more expensive option shows what sort of person he is, putting his bank balance ahead of other peoples well being. He made the choice and the responsibility should fall mainly on him.

I do not agree with what you say. corruption exists because the people in power will not give you a license unless you pay. if you dont pay, they make it very hard to get. you could own the safest place in Thailand and it would not matter, you still have to pay because you will not get if you dont.

having said that, these people should still go away for a long time.

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Also, as long as they withhold the license, which they can do, you pay on a regular basis and it's a pretty sizable chunk of change. Some years back, one entertainment establishment was paying 30,000 baht a month to keep operating. No good reason--they just wouldn't issue a license, but never denied it--just put in on hold.

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Yes, sure let's nail these guys but what about all the corrupt officials who let them operate without the necessary safety stuff etc. They are just as guilty if not more so as it is onr of their specific responsibilities to ensure public safety.

But like jjd says, nobody is going to jail over this they're all in each other's pockets.

Most would agree. The “mode of operation” in Thailand allowed this, with graft and personal financial reward being the top priority. With little or no consequences for “a corrupt way of life” is it confusing to expect any different behavior? Ah the adage: What we allow we condone seems to ring true.

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Yes, sure let's nail these guys but what about all the corrupt officials who let them operate without the necessary safety stuff etc. They are just as guilty if not more so as it is onr of their specific responsibilities to ensure public safety.

But like jjd says, nobody is going to jail over this they're all in each other's pockets.

I don't think anyone flouts the law thinking that an accident will happen on their premises. And so sticking some manager or owner in jail will have no deterrent effect whatsoever. THe deterrent will only be achieved when people are put in jail BEFORE an accident happens. The crime that was committed was not manslaughter or killing people - the crime was operating an unsafe entertainment venue; and the owners and operators of Sandika should suffer no more penalty (and no less) than all the other operators of unsafe venues in the city.

Shooting the bolt after the horse has bolted achieves nothing, and obscures the complete lack of understanding of safety; safety is achieved BEFORE the accident, not after,

REMEMBER - Safety depends on what you do, not what happens....the mortuary is the wrong place for risk assessment.

SC

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After reading this in the Bangkok post it looks like they will all get off scott free anyway. Sickening.

The owner of the fire-ravaged Santika pub -- described as a "deathtrap" -- may escape charges for violating the Building Control Act through a legal loophole.

As the pub was not a ``controlled building'' under the law, it was not required to have a fire control system or emergency exits, according to the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration's public works department.

Chatnai Navaphut, chief of the public works department, yesterday revealed the building was originally registered as a private residence, but its owner later requested a change in the building type to an entertainment venue.

Mr Chatnai said he had no idea whether the request had been approved by the Metropolitan Police Bureau which is in charge of issuing entertainment business licences.

A source from the BMA's public works department said although there were concerns the pub building had a number of safety flaws, the owner was unlikely to face charges for breaking the Building Control Act.

``Santika pub's building is neither a large building nor a high rise, therefore it is not required to have fire escapes and exits,'' the source said.

The City Hall clarification over the building's status came after engineering and architectural experts pointed the finger at Watthana district office, which granted the construction permit for the pub which opened in 2005.

They said the construction permit issued by the district office held the key for pinpointing who should be responsible for the fire that killed 64 revellers and injured 68 others.

Under the Building Control Act, buildings categorised as private accommodation are not required to adhere to the same rigid safety regulations as entertainment venues.

The district's construction permit would reveal if the pub building had been used for the purpose listed in the permit and if the building owner followed safety regulations issued for a certain type of building, they said.

Watthana district officials yesterday refused to give details about the construction permit, saying the document was issued during the term of the previous district chief.

One official said the office could not even find a blueprint of the pub building, submitted for construction approval.

Cheers, Rick

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Death penalty? Some of you seem to forget what world were live in, as if negligence deserves the death penalty. The worst they could be charged with is manslaughter, which just does not ethically or legally warrant the death penalty. Lack of regard for life can be seen in the actions of just about everyone in the world at one time or another. Do we all deserve the death penalty? And if that's a reach for you, it's surely not a reach at all to ask does every single nightclub owner in Bangkok deserve the death penalty because they same exact thing could happen in their firetraps? You only say it in this case because it actually happened, but the same or even higher risk already exists in many, many buildings and businesses in Bangkok. So they all deserve the death penalty? Get some perspective as you're neither thinking logically nor reasonably.

Edit: Totally agree with StreetCowboy. Wise words.

Edited by Jimjim
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Meanwhile, news of two more victims of the New Year's Eve inferno who have succumbed to their burns, brings the death toll to 66.

The Narenthorn Centre reported that, out of the 229 injured, 39 remain hospitalised with 19 still in intensive care units. Of those hospitalised, 12 were foreigners.

- The Nation

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Meanwhile, news of two more victims of the New Year's Eve inferno who have succumbed to their burns, brings the death toll to 66.

The Narenthorn Centre reported that, out of the 229 injured, 39 remain hospitalised with 19 still in intensive care units. Of those hospitalised, 12 were foreigners.

- The Nation

I was one of the foreigners hospitalised, just got out after spending 12 days in ICU. Now I have a 500,000 baht medical bill to look forward to.

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Meanwhile, news of two more victims of the New Year's Eve inferno who have succumbed to their burns, brings the death toll to 66.

The Narenthorn Centre reported that, out of the 229 injured, 39 remain hospitalised with 19 still in intensive care units. Of those hospitalised, 12 were foreigners.

- The Nation

I was one of the foreigners hospitalised, just got out after spending 12 days in ICU. Now I have a 500,000 baht medical bill to look forward to.

Sorry to hear about the medical bill, but I hope you find some happyness knowing that you are not one of those 66 poor souls.

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I was one of the foreigners hospitalised, just got out after spending 12 days in ICU. Now I have a 500,000 baht medical bill to look forward to.

I hope you make a full recovery :o Can't help with the bill, any insurance in place?

Can you give any insight into the cause of this disaster from an 'inside' view? Have you been interviewed by the authorities (I thought not).

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I did have medical insurance but due to the 'small print' and typical loopholes it will only end up covering about 50-60, 000 baht. One of the shareholders from Santika came round and gave me a measly 10,000 baht with the promise that they are organizing a fund raiser with thai pop stars to come up with more - I wont hold my breath.

I am 90% sure the fire was started by the band who were doing indoor pyrotechnics, as soon as the fire started the band escaped through an exit in the back only they knew about. After the incident the band did many interviews on Thai TV and appeared to be unscathed.

Having been in Thailand for 4 years i know that trying to take these people to court is futile, it will probably be tied up until 2050.

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Pub owner released on bail

The major owner of the Santika Club - scene of the New Year's Eve fire tragedy - surrendered at Bangkok's Thong Lor police station on Tuesday afternoon after a warrant was issued for his arrest.

Wisuk Setsawat initially denied two charges of recklessness resulting in others' deaths and injuries and allowing people under 20 to enter the club.

He was later released on bail of 1 million baht (S$42,600).

Deputy national police chief General Jongrak Juthanont said police set the bail at 1 million baht because 66 people had died and many others were injured, although in less dramatic cases bail would have been set at about 200,000 baht.

He said a second man wanted in connection with the tragedy, Suriya Ritrabue, managing director of White and Brother company, which runs the club, remained at large.

Wisuk denied the charges, saying he would testify in court. He said he had not been able to contact Suriya since the day of the blaze.

Meanwhile, Bangkok City Clerk Pongsak Semsant said he expected the city's probe into the fire would conclude in two to three days. He said district officials would be punished if they were found to be involved.

Mr Pongsak said he hadn't seen an initial report by the Justice Ministry that said Wattana District officials were responsible to what happened.

"I've got look into details again and if the officials were clearly at fault, they will face disciplinary investigation," he said.

He also urged the owners of 1,000 big buildings who have not submitted building inspection reports to the city to do so before the end of January - or face legal action.

He said he had instructed his deputies and district office directors to inspect nine types of buildings in relation to safety obligations. If the owners refused to improve their premises as advised by city officials, an order would be issued demanding improvements within 7-15 days, or they would be punished.

In related news, an National Health Security Office (NHSO) board meeting yesterday approved the reimbursement of medical expenses for 31 victims of the Santika Club fire who were NHSO subscribers.

Source: Straits Times - 14 January 2009

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Looks like Sirayu has 'done a Thaksin', and got out before he takes the fall.

1 million Baht is bloody peanuts, considering the amount of deaths and serious injuries that this incident has caused. One poster here has a medical bill for over 500,000 baht. Personally, I think this guy should hae been remanded without bail, but then I guess thats not applicable to people like this scum. :o

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Attorney-General to not sue Santika Pub owners

The Attorney-General has decided to not sue Santika Pub owners in the business license case as, according to the old law, it is not necessary to ask for permission before opening an entertainment venue.

Attorney-General Chaikasem Nitisiri (ชัยเกษม นิติสิริ) announced that the Santika Pub owners would not be prosecuted in a total of 47 cases on charges of running an entertainment business without a license and selling alcohol in a prohibited time. He reasoned that the pub was first operated under the old law, which stated that business owner could open an entertainment venue by merely informing the authorities and that a business license was not required.

Meanwhile, the Administrative Court has also resolved that Santika Pub had been operated legally and that the owners were not required to obtain a license upon the enforcement of a new law. As a result, the Court acceded to the Attorney-General’s decision to acquit the pub owners from the charges.

Mr. Chaikasem said that the Office of the Attorney-General would not reconsider the case unless new evidences were acquired. However, he stressed that the business license case and the fire incident were separate issues.

Source: National News Bureau of Thailand - 14 January 2009

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I did have medical insurance but due to the 'small print' and typical loopholes it will only end up covering about 50-60, 000 baht. One of the shareholders from Santika came round and gave me a measly 10,000 baht with the promise that they are organizing a fund raiser with thai pop stars to come up with more - I wont hold my breath.

I am 90% sure the fire was started by the band who were doing indoor pyrotechnics, as soon as the fire started the band escaped through an exit in the back only they knew about. After the incident the band did many interviews on Thai TV and appeared to be unscathed.

Having been in Thailand for 4 years i know that trying to take these people to court is futile, it will probably be tied up until 2050.

I read in either Nation or Bangkok Post that some some public Thai Ministry department said they were going to cover the expenses for the injured- might be worth a try to do a search and followup. It would have been a paper in past 7 or 8 days I believe.

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Attorney-General to not sue Santika Pub owners

The Attorney-General has decided to not sue Santika Pub owners in the business license case as, according to the old law, it is not necessary to ask for permission before opening an entertainment venue.

Attorney-General Chaikasem Nitisiri (ชัยเกษม นิติสิริ) announced that the Santika Pub owners would not be prosecuted in a total of 47 cases on charges of running an entertainment business without a license and selling alcohol in a prohibited time. He reasoned that the pub was first operated under the old law, which stated that business owner could open an entertainment venue by merely informing the authorities and that a business license was not required.

Meanwhile, the Administrative Court has also resolved that Santika Pub had been operated legally and that the owners were not required to obtain a license upon the enforcement of a new law. As a result, the Court acceded to the Attorney-General’s decision to acquit the pub owners from the charges.

Mr. Chaikasem said that the Office of the Attorney-General would not reconsider the case unless new evidences were acquired. However, he stressed that the business license case and the fire incident were separate issues.

Source: National News Bureau of Thailand - 14 January 2009

A disgrace. :o

Typical, bullshit from spineless authorities when it comes to dealing with a certain segment of Thai society.

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