Men jailed over Bangkok nightclub blaze

by William ASTON on September 20, 2011

Two people were jailed in Thailand today for causing a Bangkok nightclub blaze that spelled the death of 67 people.

Wisuk Sejsawat, the club’s owner, was sentenced to a three year prison term, as was Boonchu Laosrinak – the man responsible for the club’s pyrotechnics. The fatal blaze broke out in Santika Club, a popular nightlife spot in the Ekkamai area of Bangkok on 1 January 2009, which is when up to 1,000 partygoers were inside, after having just seen in the New Year.

Those killed died from burns, were crushed as people attempted to escape and struggled to do so, or inhaled too much smoke. Over 100 other people were also injured in the fire. A Bangkok court acquitted four people in connection with this case, one of which was the lead singer of a band that was playing when the blaze broke out, accused of setting off fireworks that caused the fire.

Prosecutors said that they already had evidence that the blaze was caused by faulty lighting effects, and not the singer’s actions. In the aftermath of the fire, it emerged that Santika wasn’t licensed as a club and instead as a private residence. In addition, it was operating in a designated zone where nightclubs are actually banned from operating.

Among the dead were UK tourists on holiday to enjoy Christmas and New Year in one of South East Asia’s most popular countries, and not just Thai citizens.

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